ENGLAND  –  Especially Kane –  need early goals

June 13th, 2018 | Ian Carnaby's Sports News

I came late to the French Open with a hip replacement clouding the issue. I was starting to get games right in the second week    Sharapova no chance against Muguruza, del Potro probably having to work hard to get past Cilic, Halep the likeliest winner of the women’s event    but opposing Nadal, a true force of nature, was rash.

One of the points about him, I think, is that he doesn’t go in for too much analysis. Whereas del Potro would have been drained by the long encounter with Cilic, Nadal shook off something quite similar. I’m a big del Potro fan and he is much better than the straight sets defeat against the champion suggests. But he needed a day or two to get ready for it and that was never going to happen. Trying to come from behind when Nadal has taken the first set and his blood is up is a daunting task indeed. For what it’s worth, I thought Thiem ran him closer in the final than another straight sets’ result indicates and had very little luck on crucial points. He is a certain future champion, together with Zverev.

The bookmakers will expect big business on the World Cup and I imagine they will be right, especially on match betting with television covering just about everything. I freely admit to being a committed domestic league punter and I think we did pretty well last term but international football is so much harder because even the so-called minnows can get the ball down, knock it around and keep possession.

Overall, I take note of the Germany squad, especially one or two big names left out, and it strikes me they should be clear favourites, not merely joint market leaders with Brazil, who have much to prove.

To say you fancy England is to be mocked in various quarters but that’s because of previous disappointments and has little to do with the current squad. The mood seems good to me, the players respect Gareth Southgate as someone who went a long way at international level and, whilst things went wrong in the infamous shambles against Iceland, I always think England will keep things tight. 

They will certainly qualify from Group G and there may be a confidence-boosting result against Tunisia or more likely Panama along the way. I’m looking at a Wilsons list which has England at 11/10 against to score more than 6.5 goals in their section and I regard that as fair value. Panama will not have faced anyone like a fired-up Harry Kane in their build-up matches and he may have a field day.

ENGLAND 20 units at 11/10 (or better) to score more than 6.5 goals in Group G