By Josh Powell | European Under-21 Championship
England didn’t get off to the greatest start in the Championship, crumbling to a 1-0 defeat to Italy and showing about as much attacking intent, creativity and incisiveness as a dry sponge.
Stuart Pearce’s side can’t afford any more slip-ups in their games against Norway and Israel if they are to qualify for the semi-finals. Paddy Power wasn’t convinced by anything the Three Lions put out on show on Wednesday night and their outright price has drifted from 5/1 to 9/1.
Just to highlight some of the inept football knocking about last night, here are some stats of three players who started for the England Under-21s. Roy Hodgson reportedly reads this blog during breaks from his ‘negative tactics’ brainstorming sessions.
Probably best to look away now Roy.
A Tottenham centre-back who spent last season on loan at Swansea. Incredibly he has one senior cap and one senior goal for England, in the 4-2 defeat to Sweden in November 2012.
Clyne made 34 appearances in the Premier League for Southampton this year. He was the Young Player of the Year 2010 and made the Championship’s Team of the Year in 2011/12.
62% Pass accuracy
0/3 Successful crosses
The 22-year-old plays in an attacking role for Bolton, scoring eight goals in 29 games last season. He has 12 caps and three goals for the England Under-21 side.
5 Amount of times he was dispossessed
63% Pass accuracy
0/2 Accurate crosses
Luckily for fans of quality football there are two mouth-watering Under-21 games to get stuck into this evening which don’t include England, and punters can take advantage of Paddy’s Money-Back Special.
Spain, Germany, Russia and the Netherlands are in action in Group B tonight with plenty of familiar faces on show.
Spain are the reigning champs and, unsurprisingly given the ease with which the nation seems to win international tournaments these days, they are 1/2 to beat Russia. Germany face Holland in a tie that is tighter than Neil Ruddock’s waistband and has plenty of needle to go with it. The game is 9/4 to end all square and punters might be tempted to back a sending off in this feisty encounter at 13/5.
Paddy Power’s Money-Back Special clicked in the opening game of the Championship as Israel drew 2-2 with Norway. The four-goal thriller meant punters losing first goalscorer, last goalscorer, correct score and scorecast single bets were refunded because there was more than three goals in the game.