England ensured that they’re in charge of their own destiny where automatic World Cup qualification is concerned as they defeated Montenegro 4-1 at Wembley and Roy Hodgson’s men now know that they only have to beat Poland at Wembley to top Group H and book their place at Brazil 2014.
The visitors’ hopes of reaching the finals were dashed last Friday as they lost to Ukraine so they have nothing to play for but it also means they are under no pressure, unlike the Three Lions, who have to collect all three points given that qualification rivals Ukraine are as good as guaranteed a maximum haul against San Marino.
Perhaps not surprisingly, England are just 1/4 at best with bet365 to register the required victory while the Poles are 14/1 (Coral) to spoil the party by coming out on top and 11/2 via Betfred to condemn the hosts to a play-off by grabbing a share of the spoils.
In the circumstances, the Three Lions should definitely justify their strong favouritism but the importance of the occasion might lead to some nerves and it could be that Hodgson’s charges have to be patient.
That was the case on Friday as England went in on level terms at the interval before making the breakthrough in the second period and with Poland likely to put plenty of men behind the ball, a similar scenario could unfold.
Coral’s 7/2 for the home side to prevail following a level first period is arguably the game’s best bet then and England’s defensive record – especially when you consider that Montenegro’s consolation goal last time out was extremely fortuitous – also points to a victory ‘to nil’ (5/6, Skybet).
Draw/England in HT/FT betting – 7/2 (Coral)