Mark O’Haire’s Football Tips – International Friendlies
Roy Hodgson’s men were not at their best in Manchester on Sunday evening but goals from Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy proved to be enough to guide the Three Lions to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Turkey.
England v Australia , Friday 27th May 19.45, ITV1
All eyes will be on Marcus Rashford here, with Manchester United’s teenage sensation set to make his England debut at the Stadium of Light, while captain Wayne Rooney is also likely to return to the fold, with both men having played their part in Manchester United’s FA Cup final triumph over Crystal Palace at the weekend.
England were flawless throughout the qualification campaign for Euro 2016, with Roy’s boys winning all 10 of their Group E fixtures.
Friendly defeats against Spain and Netherlands may have punctured some of the positivity in the England camp ahead of next month’s big kick off, but the home side can be trusted to chalk up a convincing win against the Socceroos on Friday night.
The 1/4 quote for the Three Lions to win is far too skinny, though, so punters are instead advised to snap up the 20/21 on England to win ‘to nil’.
The selection would have paid dividends in four of England’s five home matches in Euro 2016 qualifying…
…and the hosts can claim a comfortable win over Australia in Sunderland.
England to win ‘to nil’ @ 20/21
Republic of Ireland v Netherlands , Friday 27th May 19.45, Premier Sports
Given that 24 teams will take their place in the European Championships, it is still something of a shock that Netherlands – one of the powerhouses of European football – will not be in France for this summer’s showpiece event.
Danny Blind’s side failed to reach the tournament after enduring a disastrous qualification campaign but the Dutch will be determined to show what they are capable of when they line up against Martin O’Neill’s men.
Ireland, of course, will be at the party in Paris and O’Neill’s charges will be desperate to preserve their proud home record when they line up against the World Cup 2014 semi-finalists at the Aviva Stadium on Friday night.
The Boys In Green are unbeaten in their last 11 matches in Dublin and have kept five clean sheets in seven outings as hosts.
Therefore, the odds compilers offer just 6/10 that fewer than three goals are scored when these two teams lock horns.
A tight encounter, though, seems unlikely, given that there have been more than three goals scored in each of Netherlands’ last five fixtures, including an impressive 2-1 win against England at Wembley in their last fixture, while Ireland have failed to score just once in 21 Aviva matches.
The juicy 6/5 quote on Over 2.5 Goals looks to be worthy of support ahead of Friday’s friendly fixture.
Over 2.5 Goals @ 6/5
Northern Ireland v Belarus, Friday 27th May 19.45, BBC2
Windsor Park will be bouncing on Friday night as Belarus visit Northern Ireland for the final home fixture that Michael O’Neill’s men will face before embarking on their Euro 2016 adventure.
Those expecting a glut of goals, though, may be left disappointed for five of Northern Ireland’s last six home matches have featured fewer than three goals – and the statistics suggest that the trend is set to continue in Friday’s fixture.
Belarus have drawn a blank in each of their last three fixtures, but they can take some heart from their defensive discipline.
Aleksandr Khatskevich’s outfit have kept a clean sheet in each of their last five outings.
The duel between Wigan Athletic’s Will Grigg and Liam Boyce of Ross County for what is believed to be the final striking spot in the Northern Irish 23-man-squad for France is likely to be an interesting footnote, with both men desperate to secure their place on the plane to Paris.
A solid team performance, though, is sure to be the primary objective for O’Neill’s outfit ahead of their Euro 2016 curtain-raiser against Poland and the 10/11 quote for the home side to win looks to be a supremely generous price ahead of this clash.
Belarus have won just three of their last 14 matches on the road and, with the visitors lacking in motivation, it would be no surprise to see Northern Ireland send the fans home happy by winning their final home match before Euro 2016 at Windsor Park on Friday night.
Northern Ireland to win @ 10/11
*Prices correct at time of publication