England host Republic of Ireland in an international friendly on Thursday in a 7:45pm kick-off at Wembley Stadium.
The two nations have not met since a 0-0 draw in a friendly in June 2015. Indeed, the last six meetings between the two countries – stretching back to when they met at the 1990 World Cup – have ended as draws.
England are 4/11 to beat Ireland for the first time since 1985, with another draw priced at 7/2. Ireland are 8/1 to claim a famous victory.
With Reece James and Harry Maguire both suspended for Sunday’s Nations League match against Belgium, both defenders are likely to start in what should otherwise be a second-string XI.
The likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Jack Grealish and Bukayo Saka started in last month’s 3-0 friendly win over Wales and are primed to do again on Thursday.
Calvert-Lewin is 5/1 with Sky Bet to register three or more shots on target, with Grealish the same price to have two or more.
The price on Grealish probably represents better value given he has managed this in four of his last five league matches for Aston Villa and will be desperate to get off the mark for England against the nation he rejected representing at senior level.
Ireland’s only goal this calendar year came in the 93rd minute via a Shane Duffy header in a 1-1 draw at Bulgaria.
Indeed, Stephen Kenny’s attempts to improve the playing style since taking over from Mick McCarthy have not been wholly successful, with his side failing to score in their last four matches.
England, meanwhile, have won to nil in six of their last ten matches. There really can only be one play for me here, then, with England to win & BTTS No at 11/10 (Sky Bet).
I flirted with the idea of England to win, Under 3.5 Goals and Under 3.5 cards at a similar price with bet365, but Spanish referee Carlos Del Cerro Grande has shown 27 yellow cards in his eight international friendly matches (3.38 per game) so is not the safest referee to rely on if you are looking to oppose cards.
Off the pitch, England and Ireland have had tense diplomatic relations in recent history, too, which can easily extend to football even in a friendly.
Ireland may be goal shy offensively, but they are generally very solid defensively, too, conceding more than once in just one of their last 20 matches (a 2-0 defeat to Switzerland).
1-0 and 2-0 to England may be worth a play at 5/1 with Sky Bet, then, while 3-0 is 8/1.
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