With the Premier League taking a break this week for the International fixtures we are pleased to provide a guest post from the team at @FourFourTweet.
@MattDenney87 gives his thoughts on the upcoming match between San Marino and England.
It’s difficult to say what constitutes ‘par for the course’ when you come up against San Marino. After all this is a side that in recent years has lost 8-0 to both Hungary and Finland, hardly heavyweights of modern day world football.
One thing’s for certain, just beating San Marino is not nearly enough.
An incredible 9 countries list their biggest international victory as coming against San Marino. Sadly Wales can’t count themselves amongst that number, sneaking a 2-1 win against them in 2007, a result which was met with widespread criticism by their fans and prompted then Head Coach John Toshack to remark: “It’s very sad that we had to be biting our nails in the last 10 minutes”. Toshack has since moved into management in the Azerbaijan Premier League where things are a little less stressful.
England’s 5-0 triumph against San Marino at Wembley back in October was somewhat underwhelming, not just because Holland stuffed the same opposition by 11 and Germany once rattled 13 past them, but also because England never clicked into gear.
Goalless after 35 minutes, it took a Wayne Rooney penalty to finally separate the sides. A Danny Welbeck strike followed two minutes later. Cue the floodgates opening? Far from it. Another 30 plus minutes of uneventful action trudged by before an eight minute spell deep in the second half brought three English goals and finally put San Marino to bed.
But how much did that late flurry have to do with England raising the tempo and how much was it down to the tiring legs of our semi-professional sovereign state friends? Fatigue will always be a factor for La Serenissima (a nickname which ironically translates as ‘the most serene’). It stands to reason that part timers who don’t enjoy the same level of match day preparation as our pampered stars, will struggle to stay the distance. The stats support this.
10 out of San Marino’s last 12 internationals have seen more goals scored in the second half than the first. Immediately prior to their last encounter with England, the minnows slumped to a 6-0 defeat against Montenegro, conceding four in the second half. A 5-0 defeat to Sweden in 2011 looks one sided enough, but the scores had been level after 45 minutes. That aforementioned 8-0 reverse against Finland came about after just a single goal was scored in the first half, whilst the 11 goal thumping against the Dutch saw the men in orange score eight times in the second period, including four in the last 13 minutes.
There aren’t too many worthwhile bets ahead of Friday’s clash in the Stadio Olympico and I can’t see too many punters rushing to back Roy Hodgson’s men at 1/100, however inevitable victory is. But the 21/20 available with William Hill on the second half of this match being higher scoring than the first may just provide the betting value you’re looking for.
Post written by @MattDenney87
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