The Champions League trophy has been claimed, promotion domestically has been decided in a trio of dramatic play-off finals so attention from a football point of view, now switches towards the forthcoming World Cup. England’s preparations for Brazil begin in earnest on Friday evening as they entertain Peru in the first of a trio of international friendlies before they tackle Italy in their tournament opener in Manaus on June 14th.
The South American outfit arrive at Wembley in pretty poor shape having failed to win any of their last six matches but they have a new manager in Pablo Bengoechea and they’ll be hoping the Uruguay can revive their fortunes after a dismal World Cup qualifying campaign. Bookies however, are confident his reign will start with a defeat, Ladbrokes installing England as 1/3 favourites and BetVictor pricing Peru as 21/2 outsiders.
Bet365 mark odds of 9/2 against it finishing all square, a result that will suit a visiting side likely to set up to keep things tight, however, the Peruvians are without the bulk of their Europe-based stars such as Bayern Munich’s Claudio Pizarro and Schalke’s Jefferson Farfan so realistically, England should ultimately prevail.
They’re 11/10 at betway to do so ‘to nil’ against a team unlikely to be too adventurous, 888Sport offer 6/1 about Roy Hodgson’s charges notching twice without reply and it’s evens (BetVictor) for the ‘Three Lions’ to be in front at the end of each half. Alternatively, Boylesports chalk them up at even money in the handicaps, when kicking off a goal in arrears.
Nevertheless, it might take the hosts a while to make the breakthrough against potentially stubborn opposition so a case can be made for the contest’s first strike to arrive after the 25th minute (10/11, Paddy Power).
That opener is 3/10 via Skybet to come from an England player and Wayne Rooney is bet365’s 7/2 favourite to be the man that breaks the deadlock, although there’s likely to be some money for Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge too, at odds of 4/1 courtesy of Coral.
That attacking duo meanwhile, can be backed together at 21/20 (William Hill) to net first, they’re 21/20 and 11/10 with bet365 to register at any time respectively and with Hodgson’s troops set to dominate possession, they might draw the odd rash tackle from Peru meaning Paddy Power’s 9/2 about the ‘Three Lions’ scoring a penalty catches the eye.