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Rupert Wyman 27th Jun 2009 - 12:14

Theo to be England's hero

Theo Walcott will have to lead the line on his own for England in the European Under-21 Championships final against Germany after both Gabriel Agbonlahor and Fraizer Campbell will miss the final due to suspension.

The speed merchant no doubt has the talent and ability to do the job for Stuart Pearce but has he got the hold up play to allow England to build their attacks?

The Arsenal man has proven himself with the full England side, in the Champions League and of course in the Premier League but in truth he has yet to find top gear in Sweden so far.

Stuart Pearce even dropped Walcott for the second group match, much to the displeasure of the young star, before he duly came off the bench and created the second goal against Spain.

If Walcott fires then the odds of 13/10 for an England win in 90 minutes will be extraordinarily good value. But the doubt remains whether the product of Southampton's academy can perform up front on his own.

In the absence of his fellow forwards he is 13/2 to open the scoring in 90 minutes and 15/8 to score at any point during the 90 minutes.

Pearce was no doubt disappointed to say the least at the way England capitulated in the second half of the semi-final against the hosts Sweden. Having been 3-0 up one would have thought that the game was all over. But three second-half goals for the hosts took the game into extra time and in the end England were hanging on for penalties.

Yet somehow an England side managed to win a penalty shoot-out, their first success since Euro '96. Ever since England's exit in the semi-final two years ago Pearce has had the players practicing their spot kicks and how vital it turned out to be with the under-21s reaching their first final since 1984.

Goalkeeper Joe Hart was the hero including netting his own penalty but the Manchester City man was cautioned for his antics during the shoot-out which means he as well as Agbonlahor and Campbell will miss the final in Malmo.

Hart will be replaced between the sticks either by Watford's Scott Loach or Peterborough's Joe Lewis. Both keepers have already faced Germany in the competition, in the group stage, when England made wholesale changes as their place in the semi-finals was already assured.

Each played a half as the match finished 1-1 and despite Pearce's changes to his line-up England looked the better side in the match therefore based on the group game the 13/10 has to be backed.

If you are a little worried that England might not get the job done in the 90 minutes then the Three Lions are available at 4/6 to lift the trophy.

Germany are 11/10 to win their first European Under-21 Championships, 7/4 to win in 90 minutes while the draw is 21/10.

England's confidence was no doubt dented after throwing away the lead against Sweden while Germany should be full of confidence having upset the odds to beat Italy 1-0 in their semi-final.

If you think there will be another 1-1 in the final then it can be backed at 11/2 but the correct score tip would be a 2-0 England win at 17/2.

If you think we are going all the way to penalties yet again then England to win on penalties is 10/1 and a German shoot-out victory is also at 10/1 and we are all far too familiar with how good Germans are at penalties.

But Walcott should be able to negate the need for penalties again and in the process prove to Stuart Pearce his value as a striker as well as to Arsene Wenger that he was right to play in the championships rather than sit at home and rest in preparation for the new season by firing England to glory.

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