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Nic Ladds 4th Jun 2009 - 9:51

A calamity in Almaty?

Not likely as far as bookmakers William Hill are concerned.

Fabio Capello's ascending England side have been chalked up as huge 1/8 favourites to claim three vital 2010 World Cup qualification points when they take on Kazakhstan (14/1) this Saturday.

With headlines like that maybe a few Three Lions backers are relieved to see that David "Calamity" James will not be wearing the No1 shirt due to a shoulder operation. I think he's ace but those tabloid nicknames tend to stick.

Personally I think Capello's boys could beat Kazakhstan with Sid James in goal because the Eurasians really aren't much cop at all.

The only points mustered in their qualification campaign so far came from their home 3-0 win over crash test dummies Andorra. They have lost their other four games, shipping 16 goals in the process, most recently a home 5-1 thrashing to Belarus. Goal getting Steven Gerrard (5/1 first scorer) must be licking his lips at that result on the eve of this.

Under Capello England have a 100% record in the qualifiers and thrashed Kazakhstan 5-1 in the first Group 6 meeting last October. A repeat of that 5-1 scoreline is available at 20/1 with Hills.

However, at the end of what has been a hard Premier League season it really would be some achievement to match that Wembley result in the most far flung country in Eastern Europe - only a couple of hundred miles from the Chinese border.

If you are considering having a play on the correct score markets I'd prefer to focus around the 2-0 (5/1) or 3-0 (11/2) to England.

In advance it can always be a bit tricky to work out exactly what starting XI the Italian schemer will go with but the beauty of William Hill's first scorer market is that your bet is refunded if your man doesn't get on the pitch before the first strike goes in.

But it will be a huge surprise if Wayne Rooney (3/1 first scorer, 8/11 anytime) doesn't start. The Manchester United man looked an absolute livewire when pulling on an England shirt in the latest 2-1 win against Ukraine. Expect him to test a decidedly iffy Kazakh defence for as long as he is on the pitch.

If you fancy him to have an absolute beano Hills are quoting Rooney at 16/1 to notch a hat-trick.

For the bigger hitters the half-time/full-time double result of England/England at 2/5 looks a real pearler as well because I can picture the Three Lions carving out chance after chance before half-time.

A win here and another against Andorra on 10 June will put the Three Lions on a formidable 21 points with just three games left. England are currently 1/10 to win Group 6 with Hills and South Africa 2010 is now within touching distance, barring any calamities...

Those tempting outright South Africa World Cup odds of 9/1 about England repeating the glories of 1966 will no doubt start to attract interest as Capello's 100% qualification record continues to build.

Interestingly, England have moved up a place to sixth in the latest Coca-Cola FIFA world rankings overtaking recently unimpressive Argentina (11/2) who have been flailing under Diego Maradona's eccentricities.

On their respective qualification records alone, improving England under the mastery of Capello look a far better betting proposition than the Argies. William Hill have a plethora of match, group and outright 2010 World Cup betting available right now as the clock ticks down to the big one next summer.

As for the match itself on Saturday afternoon, as well as over 35 markets available prior to kick-off, our betlive traders will be offering a huge range of in-running opporunities, from the first touch of the ball at 16:00 to the final whistle 90 minutes later.

Kazakhstan v England - Saturday 16:00

World Cup 2010 Group 6 betting

World Cup 2010 outright betting


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