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Michael Taylor 22nd Jun 2010 - 9:44

England have just about enough to slow Slovenia

England's crunch Group C encounter with Slovenia poses two critical issues, do you bet with your heart or do you bet based on the two terrible displays they've offered up already in South Africa?

Well the simple answer is, if you're sensible like the majority of England fans then you definitely err on the side of caution, however if you're an eternal optimist you take the 15/2 about a 3-0 England win and more likely than not end the day poorer than you started.

It's not a hard one to work out, what is slightly harder is finding whether Capello's men carry any sort of value, and you have to say they do.

Firstly, heading into the World Cup the fact of the matter is people would've snapped your hand off if you'd offered England to beat Slovenia at 1/2.

They'd been dominant throughout qualification, Wayne Rooney was supposedly ready to put his name alongside Gazza and Bobby Charlton as England immortals and the whole squad appeared to be singing from the same hymn sheet, Capello's.

Now we know the second two scenarios haven't quite materialised, in fact the ideas have been obliterated, but you have to believe the old football adage 'you don't become a bad side overnight' has some value.

When you have the likes of Terry, Cole, Gerrard, Lampard and Rooney, no matter how much discontent there is in the camp, you simply cannot be as bad as what was hinted at against Algeria.

Now we've heard the mixed reports emanating from the camp, those of anger towards the management, anger towards each other, even anger towards the ball and I'm sure there's a very real case of no smoke without fire.

Nobody is expecting them to turn up in Port Elizabeth totally devoid of the tension that's plagued them so far, you do have to remember they're playing a pretty poor Slovenia side though.

Matjaz Kek's men may have four points to their name and an impressive first half performance against the USA to boast about but they also have Robert Koren as their captain - a man deemed surplus to requirements at West Bromich Albion.

Not to forget their win came courtesy of an absolute howler from Algeria keeper Faouzi Chaouchi while only a horrific refereeing decision by the now disgraced Koman Coulibaly ensured they clung on to a 2-2 draw with the Americans.

It's hardly the stuff dreams are made of and the simple way of looking at it is if England cannot find enough to beat them then every ridicule, taunt or jibe thrown our way is well and truly deserved.

The big boost for the Three Lions would be if they actually came out roaring like the lions they're meant to be and in the process grab an all important early goal - in the same way they started proceedings against the USA.

They need confidence and if they can't find an opener, or god forbid find themselves behind by half time then the prognosis isn't good with early flights home being the order of the day.

I do think they can find something though and after Frank Lampard's step into the public eye over the past few days I fancy he could be the man to get us there.

He's undoubtedly been one of England's biggest flops this summer but you can never lose faith in his ability to find the vital strike especially with a ball that favours distance shooters like no other in the past.

Lamps is 5/1 to score the first of the game while I also fancy Defoe as a value 5/1 first goalscorer chance if he gets the chance he surely deserves.

In terms of correct score betting, the best way to look is at low scores with 1-0 England at 9/2 and another 0-0 draw at 17/2 being my top picks.

Finally, my biggest suggestion for those not having faith in England is that the double result market could be a winner.

If Capello's side aren't in front at half time it looks massively unlikely that they'll have enough confidence and composure to go on and progress to the next stage so at 9/2 about draw/draw could yet prove to be the bet of the day.


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