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Three Lions hoping for better rub of the Green

ENGLAND vs ALGERIA

TODAY – 7.30PM ITV

THE Three Lions’ opening performance against the USA was undoubtedly disappointing, but a number of the top teams have started with a whimper rather than a roar. The USA were always going to be the most difficult opponents in Group C and I hope some of you followed my advice in backing the 1-1 scoreline at 8/1 on Betdaq.

Robert Green had a night to forget, but I was impressed with his attitude after the match.
He didn’t seem unduly concerned about his mistake and let’s just hope whoever is in goal
in the latter stages avoids making such a slip-up. Algeria had their own goalkeeping
problems with Faouzi Chaouchi gifting Slovenia a 1-0 win, so there will certainly be
some pressure on the stoppers in this encounter.

England are a best-priced 1/4 with William Hill and Paddy Power and that says it all
about what we should expect from this game. The Algerians have scored just one goal in
their last six internationals and lost 3-0 to both Ireland and Serbia last month. However,
they’ve only conceded more than three goals once in their last 25 games and, in fairness,
they were quite well organised against Slovenia.

Bettorlogic.com have developed their own international rankings system, which I think is
much more accurate than FIFA’s, and England are ranked 4 and Algeria 52 in this tournament. Since 2000, the ‘Desert Foxes’ have been involved in 13 group matches at the African Cup of Nations, of which eight games have produced no more than two goals. In fact, if you go back to their last World Cup appearance in 1986, they’ve only conceded more than one goal in two of seven finals matches against top-30 ranked sides (World Cup and African Nations).

England have won all three of their World Cup final matches against teams ranked 51 or higher since 1990 without conceding. However, they have failed to score more than two in any of those contests and the last time they scored three goals was in the second round 3-0 win against Denmark in 2002.

The Sporting Index traders have England as 1.8-2 goal favourites and that looks about right. Top 10-ranked teams have won 15 of 19 games against sides ranked 51st and lower since 1970, with 12 wins to nil. Interestingly, 13 of those games (68%) produced less than three goals, so we may be set for another low-scoring encounter.

The bookings market is an intriguing one, as the Algerians have been slightly hot-headed so far. Abdelkader Ghezzal was sent off against Slovenia for a second yellow card after just 15 minutes on the pitch and the final make-up was 65. That fits well with the six bookings handed out in the England v USA game and you’d have to think the North Africans will try to wind up Wayne Rooney and co.

Ravshan Irmatov from Uzbekistan is in charge of this contest and he cautioned four
players in the tournament’s opener between South Africa and Mexico. The bookings spread is set at 56-60 and I wouldn’t be interested in buying at that figure. It may actually be worth watching the first few minutes to see how fiery it is, but I’ll be leaving this market pre-match.

POINTERS...
England to win to nil at 4/5 with Blue Sq
England to win 2-0 at 5/1 with Coral
Sell total goals at 2.7 with Sporting Index

GERMANY vs SERBIA

TODAY – 12.30PM BBC 1

THE main feature of this World Cup so far has been the lack of goals, although things
have started to hot up a little in the past couple of days. It may have something to do with the conditions, but the defenders have certainly been winning the battle against the strikers.

Germany have arguably been the most impressive side so far, which is good news for us

having bought them at 28 on Sporting Index’s outright market. Joachim Löw would

probably have expected Serbia to be their toughest opponents in Group D, but they lost

against Ghana in the opener and now have a lot of work to do to qualify.

These two countries have played each other seven times at the World Cup – well they
have if you include West Germany, Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro. Interestingly,
this is the joint most played fixture in the tournament and Germany lead by four victories to one.

I can see the Germans nicking this one, but I’d be surprised if they were as much of an attacking force as they were against the Aussies. Serbia are solid at the back and Bastian Schweinsteiger is a fitness doubt which is obviously a concern for Löw.

There have been two or fewer goals scored in five of the six 12.30pm games so far and I’ll be looking to sell total goals at 2.5 with Sporting Index.

POINTERS...
Germany to win at 4/6 on Betdaq
Germany to win 1-0 at 11/2 with Blue Sq
Sell total goals at 2.5 with Sporting Index