World Cup Odds and Picks: England Vs. Slovenia Predictions
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 6/23/2010
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The last thing Group C favorite England expected to be doing before its third game of the World Cup is contemplating tiebreaking scenarios. But after another stunning draw against an underdog, the Three Lions and their supporters are fully aware that anything short of a win against an all-of-a-sudden daunting Slovenia side will mean England could be in store for one of the most disappointing World Cup performances for a country with a history of underachieving.
Slovenia (4 points) leads Group C with United States and England sitting in second with two draws each and Algeria with a lone point in fourth place. The Group C drama will unfold simultaneously at 10 a.m. EST with England and Slovenia meeting in Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium while the United States and Algeria play over 700 miles away north in Loftus Versfeld Stadium.
What is at stake for each team is simple: a Slovenia win or draw sends it to the knockout stage, an England win sends it to the knockout stage, an England draw forces them to hope for a United States-Algeria draw and then goals scored will decide who advances.
England coach Fabio Capello admitted to the pressure getting the best of his side after the scoreless draw with Algeria. During the game the England supporters made themselves heard finally drowning out the vuvuzelas with the singing their side has grown accustomed to over the years. That singing quickly turned into boos as the final whistle neared.
Wayne Rooney has been called out by most of the media following England’s two dismal performances but many can share the blame. There was no goalie gaffe this time to lament on as game one goat Robert Green was replaced with David James who had little to occupy himself with since the Desert Foxes only landed one shot on target.
England hardly pestered the Algeria defense with only six shots landing on net and actually losing the possession battle 52-48 to Algeria. If any game was supposed to be a free pass for England it was this one. Against an overlooked and talented Slovenia group no one is calling England a heavy favorite anymore.
While England is reeling after two dismal performances, Slovenia enters the game after a nightmarish second half against the United States. It was unable to protect a two-goal lead and only salvaged a point from the game after a mystery call by referee Koman Coulibaly on a would be go-ahead goal by the United States.
Just three minutes into the second half the Slovenia lead was trimmed to one goal and throughout the rest of the half its defense was overmatched by an all-out United States attack. While England’s weapons have been mostly dormant since an early strike in game one, it does have more weapons than its opponent on Wednesday. Slovenia can ill afford to play like it did in the second half against the United States. Although a draw sends Slovenia to its first ever knockout stage, playing for one could spell doom.
England vs. Slovenia World Cup Odds:
Despite its best efforts England remains a heavy favorite at -250 in three-way betting with a draw at +295 and Slovenia +640 despite sitting in first place in the group. At -15 England is -140 while Slovenia at +1 is +120. The total is set at 2.5. Odds are courtesy of Bodog and Sports Interaction.
England vs. Slovenia Picks and Predictions:
England Will Win If: it plays collectively rather than individually. There is no question England has the better personnel in this contest but that was also true against the United States and Algeria. The world-class players on the England attack have to play as a unit rather than as individual strikers. Capello has readily admitted his side has crumbled under the pressure. The bad news is that pressure will intensify in this near must-win scenario.
Slovenia Will Win If: it stays organized in the back. While playing for a draw could play right into the hands of England, Slovenia can ill afford a single lapse on defense against a goal-starved England side. If Slovenia plays like it did against Algeria and like it did in the first half against the United States, opportunities will eventually present themselves. The pressure is on England in this game and Slovenia needs to keep it that way.
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