Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
England v Lithuania Live
Friday 27th March. 7:45PM. ITV 1
International football is back and Roy Hodgson’s England return to action for what should be another easy victory en route to Euro 2016.
England sit top of Group E with a 100% record after four matches and will be fully expected to coast through this clash against minnows Lithuania. However, there are plenty of subplots to keep fans entertained and it should be another exciting night of football.
Bring it on!
Harry-Kane To Storm International Debut
Under normal circumstances it would be a little hard to ignite any real enthusiasm for what is essentially a training session for England. However, the prospect of seeing Harry Kane’s debut should have Three Lions fans excited ahead of this one.
The Tottenham man has enjoyed a magical season since forcing his way into a regular starting berth. In fact, his weekend hat-trick sees him enter the international break as the Premier League joint leading scorer. Nobody could argue with Hodgson’s decision to promote him from the Under 21s and a debut against the minnows could give him the perfect opportunity to open his international account at the first attempt.
An injury to Daniel Sturridge, who is still yet to play since England’s dismal World Cup, means that Kane is likely to start and fans will be eager to see whether he and captain Wayne Rooney can strike up a formidable partnership. Speaking of the England skipper, the 29-year-old Manchester United star will also be hoping to get on the scoresheet as he looks to close in on Bobby Charlton’s record.
Sturridge isn’t the only player to withdraw, with the likes of Luke Shaw, Ben Foster, Fraser Forster and Adam Lallana all dropping out. However, this really shouldn’t cause any problems against poor opposition.
Next Tuesday’s trip to Turin for a friendly with Italy will obviously be a much harder challenge, but as far as qualification is concerned it should be another positive week for the Three Lions.
No Chance For Minnows
Wins over fellow minnows San Marino and Estonia has given Igoris Pankratjevas’ men a slim chance of reaching the play-offs, but they won’t pose any danger at Wembley.
There isn’t too much to say about the team currently ranked 91st in the FIFA rankings. British fans might be familiar with defender Marius Zaliukas, who is currently at Rangers, but other than that there aren’t any notable players – unless you are a Leciester City fan as academy player Simonas Stankevicius is set for his eighth cap.
Lithuania do boast a couple of experienced stars, including midfielder Saulius Mikoliunas who has scored five goals from 70 appearances. However, that experience should not be confused with star quality and even the away side’s better players are set to struggle.
Expect to see 10 men behind the ball. It might work for a while but England will find a breakthrough at some stage.
England v Lithuania Betting
Unsurprisingly, punters will have to look away from the match betting odds for value as England are as short as 1/10 with Bet365. However, you can get 18s on Lithuania or 9s on the draw if you think Hodgson’s men will drop their first points of the campaign.
As far as odds on bets go, we think the best value comes in the win-to-nil market. The visitors failed to score against Switzerland or Slovenia, and are extremely unlikely to create many chances at Wembley.
In our opinion, only a goalkeeping calamity can prevent this bet from winning.
England to win-to-nil @ 8/15 with Paddy Power
Our second bet is Kane to score at least twice. The Tottenham star is living the dream right now and we think his fairytale season will continue with another heroic display during his international debut.
England should be winning this by three or four goals and there is no reason to believe Kane won’t get on the scoresheet. We simply cannot resist these odds – although it might be worth waiting until the starting XI is announced.
Harry Kane to score 2+ goals @ 7/2 with Coral