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England travelled to Glasgow as the clear favourites for their game against Scotland on Saturday but to say things didn’t go to plan for Gareth Southgate’s men is an understatement.
Having taken his players on a training camp with the Royal Marines, Southgate was delighted to see that they were able to dig deep and “show character” but England fans will be worried that that sort of fight was necessary.
England should have put the game beyond doubt before Leigh Griffiths scored his two world class free-kicks. Despite being the stronger side, they looked nervy on the ball and failed to make the most of their attacking options.
Southgate was always going to use Tuesday night’s game with France as an opportunity to experiment with his team a little but Saturday’s 2-2 draw makes the friendly feel that bit more important. It’s also become an increasingly important game for France after their 2-1 defeat to Sweden on Friday night. Didier Deschamps has hopes of leading France all the way to glory at next year’s World Cup and he too needs a stronger understanding of the options available to him.
France Evens (William Hill)
Draw 5/2 (Sportingbet)
England 7/2 (Sportingbet)
There may only be a thin strip of water separating England and France but the two nations haven’t actually met each other that often in recent years. Their last encounter in November 2015 was played in front of a sombre crowd at Wembley Stadium following the Paris terror attacks just a few days before.
England won 2-0 on the night which was their first victory over France since Alan Shearer scored in a 1-0 win back in 1997. Since then France have beaten England four times and they are the favourites to do so again at the Stade de France.
The best price you’ll get on France winning is the evens that William Hill are quoting but we think the value could be with backing the draw which is 5/2 with Sportingbet.
England have been using recent friendlies to test themselves against top class opposition but their record is decent. They lost 1-0 to Germany in their most recent friendly but before that they had a creditable draw with Spain and beat Portugal, Austria and Turkey before Euro 2016.
France have also seen the benefit of testing themselves in tough friendlies. Indeed, they had nothing but friendlies for two years as the hosts of Euro 2016 and their recent record is every bit as solid as England’s. With two teams full of players seeking to prove they’ve got what it takes to get a seat on the plane to Russia and who aren’t used to losing too often, the draw looks a very good option on Tuesday night.
France 1-0 @ 6/1 (Paddy Power)
Draw 1-1 @ 6/1 (William Hill)
France 2-1 @ 8/1 (Bet365)
France 2-0 @ 8/1 (Paddy Power)
Draw 0-0 @ 9/1 (Sky Bet)
England 1-0 @ 10/1 (Bet365)
The changeable nature of international friendlies makes it tough for teams to get up any real momentum. You might think that means we’re in for a low scoring affair at the Stade de France and the bookies would support that view. Just one of the six shortest priced options in the Correct Score market include three or more goals but that may provide us with some good value.
For both France and England, five of their last seven friendly matches saw a bet on over 2.5 goals paying dividends. At odds of 23/20 with Coral, a bet on over 2.5 goals looks very tempting as does a bet on the 2-2 correct score at the 18/1 that William Hill are quoting.
Antoine Griezmann 9/2 (Coral)
Olivier Giroud 5/1 (Bet365)
Kylian Mbappe 11/2 (Ladbrokes)
Harry Kane 6/1 (Sky Bet)
Dimitri Payet 7/1 (Bet365)
Jermain Defoe 7/1 (Bet365)
Ousmane Dembele 7/1 (Bet365)
Marcus Rashford 15/2 (Bet365)
Any of the players towards the top of the First Goalscorer market have the quality to open the scoring on Tuesday night but how many of them will be on the pitch when the game gets underway?
The only prediction we can make with any certainty about the teams that Deschamps and Southgate will pick is that there will be several changes made by both managers. It may, therefore, be prudent to wait until the team sheets are out before making a foray into the First Goalscorer market.
With that said, the exciting duo of Kylian Mbappe (11/2 with Ladbrokes) and Marcus Rashford (15/2 with Bet365) are worthy of support if given the nod by their respective managers as they try to hammer home their importance for their national sides.
Match result draw at 5/2 with Sportingbet
Over 2.5 goals at 23/20 with Coral