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Jon Riley 2nd Sep 2010 - 16:05

Will England grab the Bul by the horns?

England take to the Wembley pitch for their first competitive fixture since the summer's disastrous World Cup showing when they face Bulgaria in their opening Euro 2012 qualifier.

The post mortem from South Africa may still be ongoing as doubts still surface about the leadership of Fabio Capello.

August's friendly victory over Hungary underneath the vast arch in North London did little to erase the memory of the national team's inadequacies in the World Cup. Only a brace from Steven Gerrard could turn around a game that saw the plucky Hungarians lead 1-0 at one point.

Focus now though, turns to Euro 2012 qualification and a place at the Championships in Ukraine and Poland in two years time.

England, Euro 2008 apart, have enjoyed successful qualification campaigns in recent times, under Sven Goran Eriksson and now Fabio Capello. No manager in England history has a better record in qualifiers than the Italian and the Three Lions are well fancied to comfortable attain their place in the European Championships by winning Group G.

England won every single one of their home games in qualification for the 2010 World Cup and at 3/10 are heavily fancied to add to their 10 consecutive wins on home soil, one more would equal their longest streak of home victories set in 1957.

Standing in the way of this historic record is a Bulgaria side that have yet to defeat England in any completion. Given the two sides' competitive record it is no surprise to see The Tricolors priced at 10/1 to win at Wembley.

Capello has already showed part of his hand by announcing that he is close to finalizing his starting eleven for the game with Joe Hart, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Gareth Barry, Ashley Cole, Glen Johnson and Phil Jagielka already down on the teamsheet.

For the visitors the starting line-up is not as clear cut, or familiar, to English fans. Former Manchester City striker Valeri Bojinov could start alone up front while the experienced Premier League duo of Martin and Stilian Petrov should marshal the Bulgarian midfield.

Possibly the most frustrating of the long list of English frustrations from South Africa was the team's inability to create goal scoring chances and score goals. Wayne Rooney's performances on the highest level were inexplicably awful, all the more bewildering when you consider that the man from Merseyside notched nine goals in qualification. The Manchester United striker is 11/4 to open the scoring and end a goal scoring drought for his country that he has endured since last September.

If Capello employs the same 4-3-3 system that he introduced in the second half of the game against Hungary then it might be worth backing one of England's supporting midfielders to break the deadlock.

Liverpool's inspirational skipper Gerrard scored England's opening goal of the World Cup and can be backed at 9/2 to open the scoring here.

Another player worth mentioning is Theo Walcott. Omitted from Capello's final twenty three for South Africa, the Arsenal forward has commenced the season in blistering form, smashing home four goals in two games. It seems that the summer break has done Walcott the World of good and if he can recreate his early domestic form on the International front then a punt at 6/1 for him to open the scoring could prove fruitful.

Bulgaria will be relying on Valeri Bojinov finding the goal scoring boots that he lost while in Manchester. Now plying his trade with Parma in Italy he has found more success. He will more than likely be adopting the lone striker role, if his midfield support can provide him with some service then he may just get the chance to find the net, at 10/1 he can't be discarded.

If England can find the form that got them to South Africa and not the one they produced whilst there then a high scoring victory shouldn't be out of the question. During the World Cup qualification they dispatched several inferior sides with ease, especially at home. Scorelines of 6-0 v Andorra, 3-0 v Belarus and 5-1 against Croatia and Kazakhstan suggest that The Three Lions can score the goals and should be winning comfortably.

England -3 goals in this encounter is priced at 6/1 while over 3.5 Total Match Goals should be considered at a very decent 2/1.

William Hill are offering a great value "Match Winner" price for this game. We are offering 10/3 that both Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard score against Hungary. Will you be a winner with this offer?



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