England take on Czech Republic at Wembley Stadium in a 8pm kick-off on Tuesday.
Both teams have already progressed to the last-16 after each earned four points from their opening two games, but the Three Lions need a win to top Group D due to Czech Rep having scored two more goals than them.
However, with France, Germany or Portugal likely awaiting the group winners in the knockout stages as opposed to potentially Sweden, Spain or Poland for the group runners-up, there are question marks regarding whether either side truly wants to win this match.
Regardless, England are odds-on 1/2 favourites to win, with the draw 11/4 and a Czech Rep win 15/2.
England were in a similar situation at the 2018 World Cup, of course, when heading into their final match against Belgium.
Both teams had won their two opening matches and were already through, but the winners of the group appeared to have a tougher route to the final, and so it proved with Belgium facing Brazil and France rather than Sweden and Croatia like England, who made several changes and lost the match.
There is a slight difference here: Gareth Southgate is under more pressure after the disappointing 0-0 draw against Scotland on Friday, and will want his side to build confidence and momentum.
However, he’s naturally a cautious manager and that is unlikely to change in a match where the quality of performance and avoiding defeat is more important than winning.
Under 3 Goals has landed in all four of these sides’ matches so far, so I’m going to give ourselves a bit of breathing space by backing Under 4 Goals in case of a 2-1 win for either side or England unexpectedly turning it on in the final third.
With England only picking up one card in their two matches so far, I’ll also back Under 2 Cards for England. Czech Rep’s opponents have also only received one card; they don’t exactly possess many technical or quick players to draw fouls.
Perhaps the riskier part of my selection is Under 3 Cards for Czech Rep. They did receive three against Croatia last time out, but two of these were late in the game with qualification on the line under a bit pressure from the Croats at 1-1.
They only made six fouls against Scotland, receiving no bookings, so while one or two cards wouldn’t surprise me given the difference in individual quality, three certainly would.
Moreover, referee Artur Dias was pretty lenient in the Wales v Turkey match, with all four of the cards he showed coming in the last minute for a scrap. I can’t envisage anything similar happening here.
I’ve had a bit of joy backing player shots with bet365 throughout this tournament, and I like the look of Harry Kane 4+ shots & Patrik Schick 3+ shots as a 7/2 double (bet365) here.
Schick is currently level with Romelu Lukaku and Cristiano Ronaldo on three goals in the Golden Boot race, and with his side already through to the knockout stages, I can see him being keen on adding to that tally. The Bayer Leverkusen had six shots against Scotland and four against Croatia, with six of the 10 on target.
Kane, meanwhile, is yet to open his account at Euro 2020 and has received plenty of negative press since the draw against Scotland. Another second-half substitution is a concern, but I expect we’ll see a greedier Kane on Tuesday, and potentially a goal. Both strikers are on penalties, too.
If Jack Grealish starts, then I’m definitely keen on West Ham right-back Vladimir Coufal being carded and/or making tackles, but I’m expecting the Aston Villa midfielder to come off the bench again to be honest, as he did when drawing a booking out of Stephen O’Donnell last time out.
If I’m wrong, then 5/4 on Coufal making 3+ tackles and 9/2 on him being carded (both Sky Bet) definitely appeal. Alternatively he’s EVS to make 3+ tackles with bet365 if you want to chuck that in for their £5 free bet on this game, or just wait for an in-play booking when Grealish comes on.
In terms of England, my only card fancy would be Jude Bellingham at 11/2 with Paddy Power, who are also offering a £5 free bet builder on this game, should the 17-year-old start. He was booked in four of his last 14 league games of the season, as well as in both legs of Dortmund‘s Champions League quarter-final defeat to Manchester City, and would want to impose himself.
Ultimately it’s certainly one to wait on team news before placing any player bets, and probably one to utilise the Paddy Power free bets on offer from various bookmakers more than anything.
Under 4 Goals, Under 2 England Cards & Under 3 Czech Rep Cards @ EVS (bet365)
Over 3.5 Shots for Harry Kane & Over 2.5 Shots for Patrik Schick @ 7/2 (bet365)
Vladimir Coufal 3+ tackles @ 5/4 (Sky Bet)
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