Forget Rio Ferdinand, forget race rows and forget debates about the style of play. England’s first Euro 2012 game is finally here and Roy Hodgson finally has a chance to silence the critics by gaining a positive result against France. According to Paddy Power, however, the chances of England leaving Donetsk with three points are pretty slim.
All firms have England as the outsiders with William Hill and Bet365 going 11/5, the draw can be backed at 19/10 (William Hill) and France, who have been all-the-rage in this market in the last three weeks, are now a solid 6/4 chance across the board.
- BEST BET : Get on the score draw 0-0 at 11/2 with Paddy Power – England’s defensive shape should not be underestimated, and with only Welbeck up front goals should be at a premium.
Paddy Power have really put their neck on the line and showed their feelings on Hodgson’s England by offering a refund on bets placed on the First Goalscorer, Last Goalscorer, Correct Score and Scorecast markets if the Three Lions triumph.
England are without a win in five against France in all competitions, losing their last three, and there are significant doubts around whether Hodgson’s rigid and methodical style of play will be enough to contain a classy French side, who have been revitalised since Laurent Blanc took over.
Les Bleus have now gone 21 games unbeaten under the ex Man Utd defender and there are plenty of punters who see a straight forward win for the French.
Despite this England have won four of their last five internationals 1-0 (13/2 Paddy Power) and if they are to succeed that score line looks the most likely outcome.
England have met France twice before at European Championships, including drawing 0-0 in 1992; Bet365’s offer of refunding all bets if the game ends 0-0 could bear some fruits here as France could find England hard to break down.
Roy Hodgson is set to play a very defensive formation, with Danny Welbeck the lone striker, and with Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard in midfield there is plenty of bite to stop the French attacks.
England are defensively sound, with Joe Hart between the posts and John Terry and Joleen Lescott set to bolster the centre of defence.
No side scored more goals in the opening 15 minutes of qualifying games for Euro 2012 than England and they also started the 2010 World Cup with a bang when Steven Gerrard opened the scoring against USA inside five minutes.
England to score within the first 15 minutes is available to back at 5/1 with William Hill, which looks a tasty bit of value.