If we were to use England’s 0-0 draw with Ireland in Dublin as any kind of yard stick then the tendency would be to pack up the whole show and go do something far less mind-numbing.
The England players didn’t really care, the Irish players didn’t really care and the home fans were so unconcerned with the outcome of the game that a large section chose to spend their time booing Raheem Sterling. Which was the most interesting exertion of energy witnessed at the Aviva Stadium.
Ignoring that depressing imitation of a game of football, Roy Hodgson has led England to a perfect start in their efforts to qualify for Euro 2016 with five wins from five in Group E. Despite being on course for a full 30 point haul the unenthusiastic, owl-like manager is far from adored by the English fans.
Like him or not he’s making punters money and looks on course to continue England’s favourable record against former Eastern Bloc countries. The British bulldog spirit more often than not proving too much for the technically superior former commies.
No doubt someone from that part of the world will be offended by the lazy way I’ve grouped together these countries using the one qualifier the majority of people in said countries would rather forget. Except possibly archaic Russian dictator tyrant despot president Vladimir Putin but then he spends half his time on a horse flashing his man-boobs.
England have an overall record of 58 wins, 28 draws and 11 draws against former communist and communist-related countries (Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Poland, East Germany, Czech Rep, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovinia, Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia and Albania).
In European qualifiers their record is even better with 20 wins, 8 draws and 4 defeats. In these 32 games England have outscored their Eastern Bloc opponents by 64 goals to 21, a ratio of 3:1.
No Slo-ing Down
Slovenia are the only side to have scored against England in this qualifying campaign, thanks to a Jordan Henderson own-goal. However England recovered to win 3-1 at Wembley and the same result is being healthily backed for Sunday’s away game in Stožice Stadium.
- England to win 3-1 at 16/1
England have won 15 of 32 European Championship qualifying games against former Eastern Bloc countries by two or more goals and 10 of 32 by three or more goals, keeping 18 clean sheets along the way.
- England -1 goal at 13/5
- England -2 goals at 7/1
- England to keep a clean sheet at 6/5
Although Slovenia enjoyed a morale-boosting 6-0 win over San Marino in their last group game they have only won three of ten international contests since the start of 2014. Five of those seven defeats were in friendly games and as such don’t carry the same weight as a competitive loss. However a 70% loss rate, regardless of the circumstances, shouldn’t be ignored.
- England to win at 4/5
Wayne Rooney has scored in England’s last four Euro 2016 qualifiers, as well as a brace in the 3-1 friendly win over Scotland.
- Rooney to score first at 4/1
- Rooney to score first and England to win 3-1 at 50/1