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Goals to flow after the break as England look to thrash minnows

| 09.10.2012

Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions are, but for some divine intervention, certain to return to winning ways when they take to the field against San Marino – the pub-league-standard international team. The monstrous gulf between the two makes life difficult for those searching for a good value bet on this one.

This notion is epitomised by the 1/1 Ladbrokes are offering for England to win the game with a handicap of negative five, while they’re 1/2 to come out on top after giving the visitors a four-goal head start.

San Marino come into the game having recorded one of the best results in their footballing history in their second to last outing – they lost 3-2 at home to Malta. As ridiculous as that sounds, it was the first time they’d managed to put a player on the scoresheet since October 2008, while they hadn’t netted twice in a competitive game since 2003.

Order was restored in the following game when Montenegro slammed six past them and England should be aiming for something similar here.

One potential area that punters could exploit is the second half handicap market. For the hosts to win the second 45 with a three-goal deficit imposed upon them, Ladbrokes are offering 13/8. This seems daunting but, when you consider that San Marino have shipped 21 goals in their last six after the break, England stand a chance of achieving it.

Stamina is obviously an issue in the San Marino camp and, while they might be able to keep the score down in the first half, weariness will allow the World Cup winners of ’66 ample opportunities to find the back of the net.

Jermain Defoe has been in great form for club and country this term and his killer instinct makes the 3/1 for him to bag a hat-trick here well worth a few quid. He will be looking to take advantage of the heavy-legged San Marino defence as the game goes on and, as a definitive goal-poacher, is likely to be more merciless than any other in a white shirt.

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



James Middleton