England have won both their games under Roy Hodgson’s guidance without conceding a goal, but it’s off-field issues that are threatening the Three Lions’ chances at Euro 2012. As the John Terry/Rio Ferdinand saga continues to grow, England’s biggest test is just around the corner. France smashed Estonia 4-0 in their final warm-up game and they also have a superb record against the Three Lions.
Anyone brave enough to buy England’s win index on Monday may think twice after learning that Les Bleus have not lost against the Three Lions for five internationals. At Wembley two years ago, the French recorded their third consecutive win over England with goals from Karim Benzema and Mathieu Valbuena. Further concern for England’s spread supporters is that the side have been knocked out at the group stage four times in their last six European Championships.
Scott Williams’ superb individual try at Twickenham handed Wales a 20th Triple Crown title in an extremely tight contest with England. The 19-12 victory kept Wales’ dream of a Grand Slam alive, although France remain in the running for the ultimate prize this year.
France could say goodbye to their Grand Slam dreams on Sunday as the two sides prepare to meet in Paris. Two weeks ago Ireland’s game in France was postponed due to the freezing weather and Ireland will finally have a chance to end their dismal run against Les Bleus on Sunday.
Ireland have really struggled against Les Bleus recently and last year’s 26-22 loss at Lansdown Road was the fourth straight defeat against Sunday’s opponents. The Emerald Isle last beat the French in 2009 following a 30-21 triumph and that was their first in 12 internationals playing France.
Spread bettors with an interest in the match supremacy market might like to know that the past two France victories have been close affairs. The average winning margin for those two contests stands at 5.5 points.
So after a month of high-octane rugby we are left with just two sides battling for the Webb Ellis trophy which will be a repeat of the inaugural tournament in 1987. That year New Zealand hammered France 29-9 and there’ll be many spread bettors predicting a similar result after Les Bleus struggled past 14-man Wales.
The French have had a jinx over the All Blacks in the past and have beaten them three times in their past four meetings. However, Graham Henry’s side smashed the French 37-17 in their most recent encounter in Pool A only a few weeks back. Although the recent meeting was a high-scoring affair, some of the recent World Cup finals have tended to be far tighter.
Anyone intent on having a spread bet on the total tries market may well remember England’s 15-6 defeat to South Africa four years ago in a game dominated by the boot and with no tries. In fact there have been ten tries scored in the six previous finals and the highest total in a game was in that 1987 finale when four tries were ran in.
Amidst the news of Dan Carter’s injury, England secured their place in the last eight to set up a mouth-watering clash with France. ‘Le Crunch’ promises to be just as tense as England’s narrow win over Scotland as neither side has yet to hit top gear in New Zealand. The French have once again been their own worst enemy with plenty of in-fighting that has threatened to derail their World Cup bid. Still, rugby fans know that Les Bleus on their day can be a match for anyone in the world, as the All Blacks know all too well.
Spread bettors looking at Saturday’s match supremacy market may have spotted that the two most recent fixtures between the nations have been settled by a two and eight point margin. In those two contests there have only been two tries scored, which will spark plenty of debate between spread bettors addressing the total tries market. Both those tries were scored by England.
Another interesting indicator in regards to the total match try market is England’s performances against top ten sides during the 2011 World Cup. In Pool B, Argentina and Scotland are both top ten sides and the Red Rose have only crossed the try line twice in those contests.