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England shorten to win Group H despite lacklustre draw

| 11.09.2013

Apparently Roy Hodgson was the only Englishman who wasn’t underwhelmed by England’s performance in Kiev, though the net result is the Three Lions are now in pole position to qualify for World Cup 2014.

After recording their third away draw of the qualifying process against big Group H rivals Ukraine, England’s price to go on and win the group is now odds on at 2/7 with Ladbrokes.

With England having gained one more point than both Ukraine and Montenegro, the two teams directly beneath them, and with two home games left to round off proceedings in Group H, it’s not difficult to see why they’ve now been installed as heavy favourites.

However, anyone who witnessed the Three Lions’ disjointed display with the ball in Kiev, may think twice, especially as 11/4 shots Ukraine still have Poland to play at home – after thrashing them 3-1 away – and whipping boys San Marino as their concluding fixtures.

On paper, the prospect of two full-houses at Wembley to help spur England on towards automatic qualification should be enough to inspire confidence.

Nevertheless, England’s inability to beat either the Montenegrins or the Poles in their previous encounters, which were both reminiscent of their laboured draw in Kiev, leave nagging question marks.

Those punters searching for positives could point to a good all-round defensive team performance, especially from England’s centre-back pairing of Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka.

It could also be highlighted to Hodgson’s dissenters that the England boss will hopefully be able to pick from a slightly more dynamic looking attack when Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck return to the fold.

Some sort of spark will certainly be required to make sure England gain the six points, which guarantee a ticket to Brazil.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.