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Card happy ref to revel on poor Polish playing surface

| 17.10.2012

England prepare to go again in Warsaw following the rescheduling of their Group H qualifier with Poland, yet the short notice rain check has not hindered the Three Lions favouritism.

They’re a 1/1 shot to claim the win in the Kazimierz Gorski stadium and Roy Hodgson has pledged to name the original starting XI he selected for the postponed fixture.

This means that in-form striker Jermain Defoe will return to the fold and he’s an 11/2 shot to open the scoring here. He’s bagged in two of his last three England appearances; only an unfairly disallowed goal in his last outing denying him a 100 per cent record.

His 7/4 to score at any time offers punters some good value, however, the 5/2 that says England will win in Warsaw with the 30-year-old on the scoresheet is an excellent prospect for windfall.

The Poles have failed to get the better of their next adversaries in 14 meetings dating back to 1973 and have lost in six of the past seven, while Defoe has notched in his only run out versus this opposition.

Four of the previous six renewals have yielded over 2.5 goals, while three of England’s four games since last summer’s Euros have crossed the same mark – they’ve found the net no less than 13 times in that period.

Poland’s games have been more on the goal-shy side – only one of their last seven going over 2.5 – yet the vein of form the Three Lions have discovered in the final third makes the 5/4 for this game to produce three goals or more a decent bet.

The torrential rain that caused the postponement of this clash will have wreaked havoc on the playing surface and a scrappy game is a dead cert. This detracts from backing overs in this one, yet the potential for the game devolving into a Sunday League-standard affair could see punters delve into the cards markets for some good prices.

England are 7/4 to collect over two cards here, whereas the hosts are 11/8 to receive the same number.

These prices are massive given there are sure to be some tasty tackles flying around in the Warsaw mire and are well worth taking advantage of, especially given that the referee for the clash, Italian Gianluca Rocchi, doesn’t hang about when it comes to dipping into his back pocket – he’s handed out an incredible 24 cards in just four games this term, 22 yellows and two reds.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date



James Middleton