England made light work of a poor Moldovan outfit as they cruised to a 5-0 victory on Friday evening. Roy Hodgson will no doubt be expecting a far sterner test at Wembley when Ukraine visit looking for revenge for their 1-0 defeat at Euro 2012.
Since that contest in Donetsk, national hero Andriy Shevchenko has hung his boots up to leave an inexperienced side to attempt to reach the World Cup finals in Brazil.
Wayne Rooney’s tap in was just enough to take all three points when these sides met in June, but the Ukrainians won the previous meeting by the same margin after Rob Green was dismissed 14 minutes into the contest. The past three meetings between the nations have all been settled by a one goal margin.
Oleh Blokhin’s side are struggling for goals at the minute after going 180 minutes without scoring, including a goalless draw against Czech Republic in August.
After getting off to a winning start, Roy Hodgson will now take charge of his first game at Wembley when England welcome Belgium to London. The contest could feature up to 17 Premier League players in the starting line-ups, with plenty of interest on Chelsea signing, Eden Hazard.
With so many world class players on the same pitch, punters might have expected there would be goals a plenty. However, recent stats beg to differ with four of England’s last seven games ending with fewer than 2.5 goals. Likewise, five of Belgium’s last nine fixtures have finished with under 2.5 goals.
England’s last four victories have all been 1-0 and Belgium have only lost one of their last 16 fixtures, which all supports that a low scoring game could be on the cards. Two of the three previous fixtures between the two nations have also contained less that 2.5 goals.
With a number of Eden Hazard’s Chelsea teammates on the opposing side, he will be keen to make a good impression. Hazard has two goals in his 27 appearances for his country and he will be looking to better that scoring record at the weekend.
It wasn’t pretty, but England somehow beat the world and European champions 1-0 on Saturday afternoon. Spain had some 21 shots compared to England’s three, as well as much more of the possession although they were able to make it count where it really mattered.
Fabio Capello will have been delighted with the result and especially with the clean sheet against a side of Spain’s quality. Jolean Lescott and Phil Jagielka were particularly strong at the back and the side will need another decent performance if they are to end a barren run against Sweden.
Spread bettors looking at the win index for Tuesday’s game will be interested to learn that the Three Lions have failed to beat Sweden for 12 consecutive internationals. Sweden also booked their place at Euro 2012 after finishing best runner-up in qualification, winning an impressive eight of their ten matches. However, England’s spread supporters may well have spotted that the Swedes were beaten 2-0 by Denmark at the weekend.
The Gillette Four Nations turns up at Wembley on Saturday, bonfire night, for a spectacular double header. Wales take on NZ, while England face up to the Aussies.
Without really impressing England trounced Wales 42-4 at the Leigh Sports Village last week. Wigan Warriors full-back Sam Tomkins was the star of the show with four of England's eight tries.
Steve McNamara's England are unlikely to get close to that total try tally again this weekend, as the many England try sellers will tell you, but the team showed enough promise to suggest they can give the Kangaroos a run for their money. A poor weather forecast means rugby league traders at the spread betting firms are expecting plenty of sellers of Australia's supremacy.
With 50,000 underneath the iconic arch, the 'Wembley factor' shouldn't be ignored. Great Britain recorded sensational wins over Australia here, or at least in the shadow of the old Twin Towers, in 1990 and 1994 (19-12 and 8-4 respectively) while England won 20-16 in 1995.
Wales did England a massive favour by beating Montenegro 2-1 in Cardiff on Friday night, but, according to the bookies, the Three Lions are not expected to show any gratitude when Gary Speed’s men visit Wembley.
The Welsh haven’t beaten England in a generation and England will be looking to use Tuesday’s game to secure another three points in the race for Euro 2012 qualification and virtually cement their place at the top of the section.
It was all the way back in May 1984 that Wales last even scored against England, but confidence will be high in the Dragons’ camp after registering their first points of the campaign at the fifth attempt.
They will be further encouraged by the fact that England have dropped points in front of their own fans against Montenegro and Switzerland, but Speed’s men will need to reverse a trend that has seen them yet to take anything from their two previous Group G road games.