The months of waiting. The Miami ‘friendly’ with Honduras. The oppressive heat in Manaus.
All will be forgotten quicker than Leighton Baines’ sideburns if England get a result against Italy in their opening Group D smash up tonight (11pm).
After Holland’s demolition job on Spain, England fans will want to make sure their side get past the group stages before the inevitable elimination in a penalty shoot-out in the knock-out rounds.
But with kick-off approaching, patriotic punters are getting stuck into the Three Lions in the hope that it’s Italy – and Paddy – that pay the penalty tonight.
Roy Hodgson’s side have been shaved into 9/5 (from 2/1) to get their first game in Brazil off to a winning start. Paddy’s already on to a hiding to nothing having promised to refund all losing bets if Italy win – but faces a caning by England backers if the early exchanges are anything to go by.
The sides have met 24 times with the Azzuri just shading it with nine victories to England’s eight, while seven games finishing all-square.
Italy ended England’s participation Euro 2012 (penalty shoot-out) after a 0-0 draw after 90 minutes and extra time.
Last month’s friendly against Peru seems to be playing a bigger part in identifying tonight’s first goal scorer than the World Cup qualifiers or club form.
While defender Phil Jagielka doubled his international tally to two goals in the 3-0 win (the first came against Italy) defensive partner Gary Cahill is the biggest loser in the book in the first goal scorer’s market.
The Chelsea defender is 25/1 to give England the lead in what is his first appearance in a major tournament.
The Liverpool pair of Daniel Sturridge (6/1) and Steven Gerrard (12/1) are next best with Wayne Rooney (6/1) the only other English player coming close to hitting Paddy in the pocket like Cahill will if he bags the opener.
The Dutch set the bar pretty high but England backers are hoping Wayne Rooney or Danny Welbeck can follow clubmate Robin Van Persie’s wonder goal with one of their own.
While most pundits are predicting a tight, cagey affair – England have been punted like defeat is out of the question with 3-1 (25/1) , 5-1 (225/1) and memories of Wembley 1966 and a 4-2 winning scoreline seeing plenty of business at 150/1.
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