England kick-off their World Cup preparations with a home friendly against Chile. Roy Hodgson has several injury issues but this at least gives him the perfect excuse to play some fringe players.
Joe Hart will not play, as Hodgson uses this game to give experience to John Ruddy and Fraser Forster. Steven Gerrard and Michael Carrick are injured, which should mean Frank Lampard sits deep in midfield, as he celebrates his 103rd cap.
In attack, Danny Welback has pulled out of the squad, while Daniel Sturridge and Rickie Lambert both miss tonight’s game, though should be fit for the midweek clash with Germany. This creates an opportunity for Spurs’ veteran striker Jermain Defoe and Southampton’s uncapped forward Jay Rodriguez, to stake a claim for a World Cup squad place.
Chile’s team is nowhere near as disrupted as England’s but they are without Arturo Vidal. The midfielder has been in superb form for Juventus this season but picked up an injury in his side’s 3-0 victory over Napoli on Sunday.
England are the 2.00 favourites, with the draw at 3.40 and a Chile win rated at 3.80. It’s unusual for England to be available at such a price unless they’re playing against a genuine super power, but it reflects the injuries in Roy Hodgson’s squad and Chile’s good form.
The visitors are unbeaten in nine games, which includes away draws against Brazil and Spain. With England looking weak in midfield without Gerrard and Carrick, Chile will give them a real test.
Back the draw at 3.40. England have not lost at home under Roy Hodgson and he’s wily enough to pack his limited midfield against a threatening team. If you do fancy a shock, then Chile at 2.75 in the Draw No Bet market looks the safest route.
Both Teams To Score
The odds of both teams scoring are 1.58 and while it isn’t the juiciest of prices, it does at least look guaranteed to come in.
During their nine match unbeaten run, Chile have scored at least two goals in every game. Yet they’re not impregnable at the back. Their last three games have seen 13 goals scored at an average of 4.33 goals per game.
That makes the over 2.5 goals at 1.80 and over 3.5 at 3.05, worthy of your consideration. England’s last four home games have yielded 16 goals at an average of four per game.
Wayne Rooney has nine goals in his last ten games for England. He’s also playing very well at club level right now, so the 2.65 for him to find the net looks very good value.
For Chile the chief goal threats come from Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez and his international striker partner Eduardo Vargas. Sanchez has scored six goals in his last six games for Chile and can be backed at 3.33 to score, while Vargas has seven from his last nine and is available at 3.85.
An entertaining high-scoring draw could be on the cards tonight, as both sides look to experiment having qualified for the World Cup in Brazil.
Score Prediction: England 2 Chile 2 (12.50)
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