By Craig Kemp
Last Updated: 11th June 2019
Rewind two years to the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 and England made light work of Scotland during the group stage of that competition.
The Lionesses roared to a 6-0 success, going on to retain a 100 per cent group-stage record before eventually going out 3-0 to champions The Netherlands in the semi-finals.
England are 2/11 to repeat that victory in their 2019 World Cup opener, with the Scots 12/1 to open their campaign with three points and the draw priced at 9/2.
In terms of what others in the know think, we’ve recently gathered the thoughts of former England captain Faye White, her former international colleague Sue Smith and current QPR player Samantha Miller.
White believes the game will be closer than last time, while Miller is predicting England winning 2-1, which is available at 8/1 within the correct score betting.
See all of their thoughts in the below video:
The midfield battle between two PFA women’s player of the year nominees
England have great strength in depth in attack and are fairly well stocked in defence. It’s in central midfield where arguably they’re a little light, especially with Jordan Nobbs absent after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament.
This makes Keira Walsh potentially the most valuable player in Phil Neville’s 23, given she is truly the only member capable of operating in the deepest midfield position.
Interestingly, Manchester City’s Walsh isn’t a particularly tough tackler or an enforcer in front of the back four. Instead, she’s very strong from a positional sense, reads the game impressively and is critical in building play from deep.
It’s in central midfield where Scotland’s best two players operate too, with Arsenal’s Kim Little tending to drive forward from the centre of the pitch and Chelsea’s Erin Cuthbert operating more as a number 10.
In her current spell at Arsenal, Little is averaging a goal or assist at a better rate than one every two games, while her dribbling ability is valuable in transitioning Scotland into the final third.
Like Walsh, Cuthbert made the PFA women’s player of the year shortlist and whoever comes out on top in this battle may have the greater say on the end result.
Cuthbert loves nothing more than shooting from distance and the 20-year-old scored a screamer in the recent 3-2 warm-up victory over Jamaica. She’s 11/2 to net anytime in the 90 minutes against England.
Walsh will have a big job in not only managing the driving runs from Little, but also preventing Cuthbert collecting possession in the vicinity of the England 18-year-box.