England bring that watertight defence to Ljublijana and Slovenia have been similarly hard to break down, keeping clean sheets in both home games and also on the road against Lithuania.
This should be closely fought – think of England’s last game on the road in Group E, a 1-0 defeat of Estonia courtesy of Wayne Rooney‘s 73rd minute goal.
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Srečko Katanec’s team have put together a decent qualifying campaign and are still in with a chance of reaching Euro 2016. Slovenia have won three and lost two of five Group E fixtures and are level with Switzerland on nine points.
One of those defeats came against England at Wembley (3-1), but Slovenia showed they are a danger with a home win over Switzerland, although it was a smash-and-grab affair. The Swiss dominated possession but were caught out late on by their hosts who scored via a controversial penalty.
Striker Milivoje Novakovič has been the danger man throughout qualification with four goals.
Last Sunday’s horror show in Dublin brought a slew of ugly headlines and the 0-0 draw has been filed away in the folder marked ‘worst games of footy ever played’.
In retrospect anyone expecting a classic from a friendly staged less than a week before key Euro 2016 qualifiers was barking up the wrong tree and I’m delighted to have called a bore draw in my match preview.
There have been no stalemates during qualification, however. England have won all five Group E fixtures, beating the opposition keeper 15 times (only Poland have scored more) while no other team has conceded fewer goals (one).
Hodgson retains the same squad selected for the Ireland match.
The unbeaten Three Lions have never lost to Slovenia and are understandable favourites at 1.91. The home side, though, should not be underestimated. Slovenia reacted well to an opening round defeat in Estonia with that 1-0 win over Switzerland in Maribor and they tonked San Marino 6-0 in their only other match on home soil.
Slovenia may have lost their previous game against England, but they gave Hodgson’s side a fright by taking the lead. There are reasons to back them at 4.80.
Again the draw holds plenty of appeal, even if just as a trading tool. England bring that watertight defence to Ljublijana and Slovenia have been similarly hard to break down, keeping clean sheets in both home games and also on the road against Lithuania. This should be closely fought – think of England’s last game on the road in Group E, a 1-0 defeat of Estonia courtesy of Wayne Rooney‘s 73rd minute goal.
The makeup of Group F points to a tight game, too. The Three Lions hold a six point advantage over Slovenia and Switzerland and a stalemate on the road would not be disastrous – next up is a guaranteed win against San Marino followed by two home games. Hodgson will be confident of securing top spot even if his team were to miss out on maximum points in this game.
A victory for Srečko Katanec’s team would get them to within three points of England and for that reason alone they will make this very competitive.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
The market is convinced we’ll see a low goal total. I agree, but I’m sure we can find better ways of factoring that into a bet without taking the low 1.69 back price. If pushed for a bet in these markets I’d rather chance the 3.10 on under 1.5.
Possible Sidemarket Selections
England Win To Nil
England have won both games on the road without conceding and if determined to get behind the away side, the 3.30 on an away win to nil is preferable to the 1.91 in the match odds. A similar way of backing that outcome is to back England and Unders in a double on the Sportsbook at 3.40, though you will only get paid out if the game ends 0-1 or 0-2.
Both England’s road games were level at the break before ending in a Three Lions win. It’s 5.00 that the trend is repeated.
I can’t resist a poke on the HT draw at around 2.10, even though I know the odds are tight.
Back the HT draw @ 2.10 or better
Back an England Win to Nil @ 3.30
Only Poland have scored more than England in qualification but Joe Dyer doesn’t expect the Three Lions to pile on the goals when Roy Hodgson’s side go to Ljublijana for this key match against Slovenia…