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Can Rickie Edge England To Victory Against Ecuador?

England step-up their preparations for their opening World Cup fixture with a friendly against Ecuador at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida. I give you a run down of my best bets for the game ahead.

England stepped up their preparations for Brazil 2014 with a 3-0 victory over Peru last Friday night at Wembley. The scoreline, in the end, was emphatic enough, but it wasn’t a performance without its problems against an average Peru side that won’t be at this summer’s World Cup.

Daniel Sturridge gave Roy Hodgson’s men the lead with a superb strike after half an hour, but Joe Hart was called into action a couple of times as the South Americans managed to carve out opportunities of their own in the opening 45 minutes. The win, however, was confirmed by a goal each from central defensive duo Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka in the second half as they converted from Leighton Baines corners.

Ecuador will provide a much sterner test for the Three Lions and showcased their qualities in a recent 1-1 draw with Holland, in Holland. El Tri qualified for this summer’s World Cup with a fourth place finish in CONEMBOL qualification – ahead of Uruguay on goal difference and 10 points clear of Peru.

Reinaldo Rueda’s men reached the top 10 in the FIFA rankings last year following a run of 14 wins in 18 matches, but have since faltered somewhat to number 28 on the list following a run of just two wins from their last 13 games. Playing their home games in Quito, at altitude was the cornerstone to their qualification but away from their home patch they rarely upset the odds.

Team News
Roy Hodgson has already stated that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Phil Jones will start this game having missed the match against Peru. Leighton Baines could be rested due to a groin strain, although it has been stressed that the problem is not serious. Luke Shaw is likely to step into his shoes after a cold kept him out of Friday’s game.
Hodgson commented that the plan is “to start the people who didn’t start on Friday.”

The two nations last met on a football pitch back in the group stages of the 2006 World Cup. David Beckham scored the only goal of that game as England laboured to a 1-0 victory in Stuttgart.

Recommended Bets
Despite the expected changes to England’s starting XI they should have no problems getting the job done here and are a backable price at odds of 5/6. As ever with international friendlies, caution is advised when betting on the Match Odds market.

Given the anticipated changes to the starting XI it makes sense to look a little further down the list of potential opening goalscorers. Raheem Sterling’s pace will cause problems and he is worth an interest at odds of 15/2 to break the deadlock, but new Liverpool teammate Rickie Lambert, who will obviously be buoyed by his recent move to Anfield, is the best bet here at odds of 5/1. The pair can be backed at 2/1 and 11/8 respectively in the anytime goalscorer market.