Mark O’Haire’s International Tips – England v Portugal
England v Portugal
With their 23-man squad finalised, England will play their final warm-up match before Euro 2016 when they welcome Portugal to Wembley on Thursday night.
England v Portugal, Thursday 2nd June 2016, 19.45, ITV1
Having beaten Turkey and Australia in their two previous friendlies, Roy Hodgson’s men are even-money to head to France on the back of a third morale-boosting win.
Hodgson is likely to select a strong XI after experimenting during recent victories over Turkey and Australia with the Three Lions boss able to call upon an embarrassment of attacking riches that includes Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Marcus Rashford.
The new-look England have impressed when going forward since the World Cup, scoring in 18 of their 20 internationals since the summer of 2014, as well as at least twice in eight of their 10 Wembley outings during that sample.
Hodgson’s men will be hoping that his strike force can maintain their prolific form considering the limited options at his disposal defensively. With Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling and John Stones the only designated centre-backs, the former Liverpool boss appears intent on relying more on his strong attacking arsenal than a resolute rearguard.
England have now kept just a solitary clean sheet in six matches and the likelihood of a fifth consecutive match featuring goals at both ends looms large for Both Teams To Score backers at 21/20.
Portugal head to London on the back of an impressive 3-0 triumph over Norway last time out despite the absence of Real Madrid’s Champions League hero Cristiano Ronaldo and key personnel Pepe, Nani and Bruno Alves.
The quartet will all be absent again at Wembley and even though Ronaldo scored five of the Selecao’s 11 qualifying goals, it’s worth noting that Fernando Santos’ side have scored in eight of their last nine away internationals since the World Cup.
Portugal appear to be in good shape to follow in Turkey and Australia’s footsteps by penetrating the English backline and even without their cocksure captain, should contribute to what’s expected to be a high-quality clash in the capital.
Each of the past four meetings between the two nations have ended all square but England are favoured at the odds on offer and there’s little harm in throwing a couple of quid on the Three Lions to win and Both Teams To Score at 15/4 as the hosts hope to sign-off in style before heading to France.
Both Teams To Score (21/20)
England to win and Both Teams To Score (15/4)
*Prices correct at time of publication