Ta'Qali National Stadium - World Cup Qualifying
England resume their World Cup qualifying campaign on Friday evening, as they travel to Malta to face the team bottom of Group F. Malta haven’t won a single point yet, and the Three Lions are heavy favourites to pick up the victory.
England have won all four of the fixtures between these two countries. The most recent game was a 2-0 victory for the Three Lions at Wembley last October, which was Gareth Southgate’s first game in charge. Daniel Sturridge and Dele Alli got the goals that day.
There are lots of questions over what team Southgate will go for in his eighth game in the hot seat. After Wayne Rooney’s retirement, there’s not much international experience to call on. The likes of Nathaniel Chalobah and Harry Maguire have been called up for the first time, while uncapped Jordan Pickford’s in the squad too.
The Everton goalkeeper’s rivalling Joe Hart for the No.1 jersey, although in truth there shouldn’t be much of a goal threat to contend with. Alfred Effiong and Jean Paul Farrugia are the only players to have scored for Malta in this qualifying campaign, with those strikes coming in 5-1 and 3-1 defeats against Scotland and Slovakia.
Malta v England Preview and Predictions
The aggregate score over the four meetings is 10-1 to England, and it’s hard to see Malta making much of a dent in this. Although the Three Lions squad may be short of experience, there’s more than enough quality to take another step towards qualifying for next summer’s World Cup in Russia.
There’s plenty to be excited about with this young England side too. The likes of Alli, Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford will all pose a threat, while Raheem Sterling’s fresh from successive goalscoring heroics for Manchester City. Jermain Defoe gets another chance a month before his 35th birthday, while Jamie Vardy and Danny Welbeck are among the other attacking options.
With so much depth going forward, England are huge favourites with the bookmakers. They’re priced at 1/18 in the betting, so you’re going to have to look at ways of improving your odds to get some value from your bets. For instance, the Three Lions are 3/5 to win both halves.
Malta meanwhile are available as long as 70/1 with some bookmakers. It could be worth betting the odd pound on a major shock, but there’s a reason they’re so unfancied. If you think there’s an upset on the cards, the draw could be a better option at 20/1.
England to win to nil at 4/1
Increase your odds on a win for Southgate’s men by predicting they’ll keep a clean sheet too.
Kane to score first at 11/5
He may have suffered his customary August drought in the Premier League, but Spurs striker Kane will lead England’s line and expect to score. This is a fair price for him to get the first goal.