With the World Cup a distant memory, a new chapter in England's book opens on Monday as Roy Hodgson's men fly out to Basle to face Switzerland in their opening Euro 2016 qualifier. Live on ITV at 7:45, here is a match preview and some free football betting tips.
Perhaps the less said about England's World Cup the better. We all know what happened this summer, and let's face it -a lot of us expected it anyway. Wednesday's dire friendly against Norway will have hardly raised confidence, as England laboured to a 1-0 win over their lowly opponents in front of a vastly depleted crowd. Although several thousand missing could be due to the Jennifer Lawrence leaked photos, the mere fact Wembley stadium was less than half-full for an International game says it all about about the country's faith in their national team.
Without wishing to dwell too long over England's recent shortcomings – and possibly incur another f-rated rant from Hodgson – there were many positives to take from Wenesday's match. Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge linked up well several times, and but for some excellent last-ditch defending, the score would have been far more flattering for the home side. With the latter likely to be sidelined through injury though, his replacement Danny Welbeck also looked very lively in his late substitution and Wayne Rooney scored and excellent penalty in his debut as the new captain. Perhaps the most telling contribution though were the two second half saves from Joe Hart in goal. Despite spending most of the game counting the daisies at the other end of the pitch, when we was called upon, he kept England in the game.
For Monday's opponents Switzerland, this will be their first game since crashing out of the World Cup in the round of 16 to beaten finalists Argentina. The Swiss actually produced a fairly impressive World Cup, with Xherdan Shaqiri's sublime hat-trick against Honduras a real high note for their campaign. England will undoubtedly be their main rivals for the much coveted top spot in Euro 2016 group E, with their opening clash likely to play a huge part towards determining who will gain automatically qualification.
Browsing the early match prices and if can tell you this is a tight one to call in the eyes of the bookies. Marginal favourites at 13/8 are Switzerland, with England on offer at 2/1. The draw is available at a best priced 9/4 and I'm sure Roy Hodgson would bite your arm off if you offered that to him now. If you take a look at previous results in earlier qualifying campaigns you can see this is a popular outcome. For example, England drew 1-1 with both Poland and Ukraine in World Cup qualification, these were both teams vying for the top spot. For this reason, back the draw outright at 9/4 with Bet 365 and if you're feeling lucky, the 2-2 draw at a huge 20/1 with Coral.
Heading into the goalscoring markets and a player I have already touched on finds himself generously priced with several bookmakers. Although Xherdan Shaqiri is far from a first team regular at Bayern Munich, there is no shame in such a fact as the player is still only 22 and none of the England team would start there either. Furthermore, as Switzerland's best player he is likely to cause plenty of problems in the England back four and has dead ball duties in his locker as well. Back him to score anytime at 4/1 with Ladbrokes.
Switzerland v England Betting Tips and Predictions
Draw – Bet Here at 9/4 with Bet365
2-2 Draw – Bet Here at 20/1 with Coral
Xherdan Shaqiri – Bet Here at 4/1 with Ladbrokes.
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