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Prediction: Slovenia vs England

SoccerPredictions in Free Soccer Predictions 10 Oct 2016

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Verdict: Draw at half-time

Best Odds: 1/1

Bookmaker: bet365

Slovenia are flying high after coming from two goals down against Lithuania and defeating very good Slovakia side, and they will fancy their chances of frustrating England as well. The Three Lions got off to a winning start under Gareth Southgate, but the game in Ljubljana will be the first real test for the new manager.

Slovenia

Slovenia have struggled for form and consistency since making it to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and while they’ve got several high-quality footballers, there are many weak links in the starting XI. Srecko Katanec’s side failed to reach the Euro 2016 having los to Ukraine in the play-offs, and that proved the end of the road for Sami Handanovic, Miso Brecko, Branko Ilic and Zlatan Ljubijankic, all of whom have retired from international duty. Meanwhile, 37-year-old striker Milivoje Novakovic is still a member of the squad, although he has surrendered the starting berth to new Darmstadt acquisition Roman Bezjak. After failing to impress in post-Euro 2016 friendlies, Slovenia were in problems in their opening match against Lithuania, but two late goals proved enough to salvage one point. Srecko Katanec’s charges then showed considerable improvement to defeat Slovakia in their second group fixture, coming on top of what was a very close game to revive their fight for the first position in the standings. Slovenia will now be up against England, the team that beat them 3-2 at the same venue just over a year ago, so no doubt revenge will be on their minds on Tuesday evening.

Team News

There have been no fresh selection worries for head coach Srecko Katanec, who should field the same side that defeated Slovakia

England

Despite not dropping a single point on the road to France, England were pretty disappointing at the tournament finals, and the Sam Allardyce controversy did little to ease the pressure on the squad at the start of the new qualifying campaign. The main task for interim boss Gareth Southgate is to try and steady the ship, and he has done well to mastermind the 2-0 win over Malta, even though the team’s performance did leave something to be desired. Results are the most important at this stage given that the likes of Slovakia, Scotland and Slovenia also harbour hopes of qualifying for the World Cup, and the Three Lions head to Ljubljana having won each of their last 12 qualifying fixtures. Judging by the hard-fought triumph at the same venue last time out, England will not have an easy job on Tuesday evening, and they will have to work hard if they want to keep their maximum record intact. While the Three Lions enjoyed a 3-2 triumph in said fixture, we seriously doubt we will witness another high-scoring affair, given that both sides face problems up front, and they are highly unlikely to go all guns blazing at Stadion Stozice.

Team News

Glen Johnson, Phil Jagielka, Tom Heaton and Ryan Bertrand were all forced to withdraw, with Kieran Gibbs and Jordan Pickford added as replacements.

Eric Dier is expected to return after overcoming a hamstring problem, meaning that captain Wayne Rooney could be relegated to the bench.

Key Factors to Consider

  • England won all four matches vs Slovenia
  • Under 2.5 goals were scored in 10 of Slovenia’s last 11 fixtures
  • Eight goals were scored in Slovenia’s last six home games
  • Three goals were scored in England’s last three away WC qualifiers
  • The Three Lions have yet to concede a goal in the current campaign

Conclusion

Having returned to the right track with the hard-fought triumph over Slovakia, Slovenia are expected to adopt a cautious approach against England and they are unlikely to risk too much in the first period. Seeing that the Three Lions are not exactly brimming with confidence either, they will have a similar mindset, meaning that half-time draw is a realistic possibility.

Verdict: Draw at half-time

Best Odds: 1/1

Bookmaker: bet365

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