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Antony Heath 1st Jun 2012 - 17:17

England to roar past Belgium to Poland/Ukraine

England v Belgium - 17:15 live on ITV1


Wembley Stadium plays host to England's final tune-up before heading off to the Ukraine for Euro 2012. Roy Hodgson will be introduced to England's home faithful for the first time as he attempts to build on the 1-0 victory in Norway and build some form with the first game of the Euro's against France just 9 days away.

The Three Lions (4/6) have been poor at Wembley recently in winning just 3 of their previous 8 fixtures but with a new manager and a new slate they will be hoping to turn Wembley back in to the fortress it once was. Statistically Belgium (5/1, Draw 12/5) have been a good opponent for England as the Three Lions have a better win percentage against them (70%) than all other nations they have played at least 12 times other than Northern Ireland and you have to fancy they can improve that further still.

Roy Hodgson will likely pick his strongest side and we'll be able to gather clues for his starting line-up and tactics for the Euro 2012 opener against the French. Andy Carroll (7/2 First/Last, 10/11 Anytime) put some of his domestic struggles behind him to put in a good shift in Norway and Englands likely main man in the absence of Rooney will want to get a goal or 2 to prove his worth at this level. If you fancy the big man to score anytime in an England win we have that as a Match Winner enhanced from 13/10 to 6/4! Ashley Young (5/1 First/Last, 5/4 Anytime) also looks fantastic value with the flying winger having netted four of England's last 8 goals.

The injury and subsequent withdrawal of Gareth Barry will be a huge blow to Roy Hodgson but it leaves a spot up for grabs and the extra incentive (if any was needed!) of a starting spot in Donetsk on June 11th. The Midfield and defence will have to be resolute to keep out a Belgium side that are good going forward as shown by their 21 goals in qualifying. The defence should be the most settled aspect of the side in front of Joe Hart and so England to keep a clean sheet at 5/4 and England to win to nil at 8/5 both appeal.

Chelsea fans will be eager to cast their eye over the Belgium squad an in particular one of their new crop in Eden Hazard (14/1 First/Last, 11/2 Anytime). The former Lille midfielder has recently joined the Blues in a deal worth over 30m and he'll be eager to showcase his talents ahead of linking up with the Chelsea squad. The Belgians were unlucky not to qualify themselves and pushed for a spot near the top of their group before being pipped by Germany and Turkey.

There is plenty of depth on the big scoring Belgian side and the Three Lions will have to be on their game to get the better of them. On top of Hazard the Premier League is well represented in Simon Mingolet (Sunderland), Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Marouane Fellaini (Everton), Moussa Dembele (Fulham) and Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea).

Belgium have the potential to cause an upset but England have won their last 6 pre-tournament games and this should stretch that to 7. It will be a competitive affair but despite Fellaini's presence on the pitch there should be little in the way of bookings and Under 25pts at 2/5 looks an almost certainty. Belgium have the ability to stick the ball in the net but I can't see them doing so and so England 2-0 (7/1) or 3-0 (11/1) would be the shouts especially if the Three Lions can get up and running like they did in Oslo - the double result of England/England is 5/4.

Top Bets

England -1 @ 8/5

Ashley Young Anytime @ 5/4

Worth a punt

England 3-0 @ 11/1

Andy Carroll and Ashley Young to score anytime @ 10/3



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