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Rupert Wyman 13th Oct 2009 - 17:20

Experimental England to Cap the campaign off in style

England look set to field a rather experimental line-up for the final World Cup 2010 qualifier against Belarus as key cornerstones of the side - Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard - will both be missing after picking up injuries in the defeat against the Ukraine on Saturday.

Nevertheless it will be a matter of pride for the Three Lions to reward the home faithful at Wembley with a victory to conclude a very successful qualifying campaign. In addition the fringe players who will be given their chance by Fabio Capello will be keen to impress the hard to please Italian as places in the World Cup squad are still up for grabs.

Performing in the Premier League is one thing but performing on the international stage with Capello watching on from touchline is another - even if it is against the relative minnows of Belarus.

Nothing would please the England manager more than a selection headache and it will be the task of players like James Milner, Peter Crouch and Gabriel Agbonlahor to stake their claim for a place in the finals squad.

England are the short favourites at 1/6 to win the match and with the Belarusians only taking anything away from home against Andorra and Kazakhstan then the likelihood of them leaving Wembley with even a point is rather slim.

It is 11/2 for the draw and a mammoth 16/1 for a shock away win.

The Belarus cause is not helped by the absence of their one star player - ex-Arsenal and Barcelona winger Alexander Hleb. You get the feeling that the under pressure coach Bernd Stange would be just happy leaving North West London with respectability still intact.

The reverse fixture in Minsk finished 3-1 to Fabio Capello's then full strength side with just captain John Terry and Ashley Cole missing the match.

The scorers on the night were Steven Gerrard and a brace from Wayne Rooney - with their aforementioned absences, who will get the goals this time around?

The talk coming out of the England camp is that Capello will choose a front pairing of Peter Crouch and Gabriel Agbonlahor. Tottenham striker Crouch has an impressive international scoring record with 16 goals in 34 caps.

Most of his goals have come against weak opponents and he looks a prime candidate to open the scoring on Wednesday night at 4/1. Agbonlahor is yet to open his international account but then he does only have two caps to his name. The Villa front man is 5/4 to break his England duck against Belarus.

Capello, in the build-up to the match, has spoken about springing a few selection surprises. It is hard to predict where these surprises may occur. One would have thought, after his recent impressive substitute appearances, that James Milner would be the man to replace Gerrard on the left.

In centre midfield Capello would appear to have just three options with Gareth Barry, Michael Carrick and Frank Lampard. The latter two were the pairing chosen in the Ukraine but it would hardly be a surprise if Barry returned to the starting XI.

David Beckham could get a run out on the right or maybe even in centre midfield to win his 115th cap. Maybe the biggest surprise could be at centre back with the recent error prone Rio Ferdinand at risk.

The problematic goalkeeping position could be thrown further in disarray with David James struggling for fitness and Robert Green suspended after his red card at the weekend.

Ben Foster, who has two caps to his name, has been far from impressive for Man Utd in the absence of the injured Edwin van der Sar while the other keeper in the squad is the once-capped Joe Hart who also has not always impressed in the Birmingham goal this term.

The doubts over what team Capello will pick make me hesistant to place a bet in markets such as correct score and total goals. It would probably be best to wait until the starting XI is confirmed before doing so.

At this moment in time without knowing the team I would cautiously predict a 3-0 win for England at 11/2.

A good bet looks to be England in the one goal handicap market at 4/9. Another good bet looks to be Crouch to score and an England victory in the anytime wincast market at 23/20.

To enhance your enjoyment of this final World Cup 2010 qualifier William Hill are offering a fantastic bet one get one free promotion. For full details of the offer click here.

The action gets underway at 20:00 and unlike Saturday's debacle you will easily be able to follow all the action live on ITV1 and we of course will have In-Play betting available from the first whistle to the last.



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