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Michael Taylor 31st Mar 2009 - 14:14

Ukraine powerless to stop Capello revolution

It has been a long time coming but, thanks to Fabio Capello, we can once again be proud of the England football team.

The serious Italian has brought about a serious improvement in the normally under-achieving national team and when England line-up against Ukraine at Wembley only a seriously foolish man would back the former Soviet nation to win.

England, led by the now flourishing Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard, are aiming to take Capello's World Cup Qualifying winning streak up to five games and given the weekend's performance against Slovakia it should be a banker.

They are short 2/5 favourites to win the tie in 90 minutes and, while I have no doubts they will claim the three points, I believe better value can be found on the 6/5 about England overcoming a 1 goal handicap.

Such is the confidence Capello has instilled in the team that even a severe striker shortage, leading to Peter Crouch's inclusion on Saturday, should not cause the Three Lions any goal scoring problems.

Crouch will be starting up front on his own but with Gerrard and Rooney lingering just behind him and Aaron Lennon and Frank Lampard also adding their considerable influences it looks like being a tough day for Anatoliy Tymoschuk and co.

In fact with such a huge array of talent on show it is tough to force a prediction out on who will net the first goal of the game - although one man unlikely to be in the running is Ukraine's former Chelsea 'star' Andriy Shevchenko.

The fallen great has been hopeless ever since leaving the San Siro for Stamford Bridge three years ago and with his low confidence and fading ability he is unlikely to give Rio Ferdinand and John Terry many problems.

Unfortunately for Ukraine, their other talismanic striker Andrei Voronin is also facing a torrid time if his form for Liverpool last season is anything to go on.

And while Shevchenko and Voronin are misfiring, Rooney is looking more dangerous than ever after his man of the match showing against Slovakia.

The temperamental Man Utd star netted twice on Saturday and could be a sure fire thing to add another on Wednesday night - he is 6/5 to score anytime during the 90 minutes.

Steven Gerrard is another that could prove great value to score anytime at 6/4 especially if he can convert his incredible club form into international football - the Liverpool captain has managed an unbelievable six goals in his last three games (against Real Madrid, Man Utd and Aston Villa).

It is easy to get carried away with the England revival but, unlike any time since Bobby Robson was in charge, I think there is genuine cause for excitement.

And whether it is my heart ruling my head, I cannot help but think that England will dominate on Wednesday and I see a 3-0 victory priced at 8/1 as an interesting proposition.

Whatever happens though, the match against Ukraine will be a good test and, if England can enforce their superiority on what is a very solid international nation, the 2010 World Cup could be something to look forward to with bated breath.

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