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06 September 2007

England V Israel: Fear The Worst

I usually try to keep this blog solely to Premiership football, but with an international break coming up, I thought I'd preview the England v Israel game.

Here's the story of England's European qualification campaign so far: played badly, lost games they could have drawn, drawn games they should have won. Currently in danger of not qualifying.

And so, we come to this weekend's match against Israel. It's a match England must win to keep their hopes of qualification alive. If England draw and both Croatia and Russia win, then it's almost certain Croatia will go on to qualify.

That leaves England having to beat Russia home and away to qualify. Russia manager Guus Hiddink is far too savvy to let that happen. So it's all or bust in the England v Israel match.

Unfortunately, with Hargreaves a doubt, Gerrard a doubt, Rooney injured, Crouch suspended, Neville out, Sol Campbell out, etc. etc. - England look pretty threadbare.

Bringing back Emile Heskey and calling up such unproven talents as Joleon Lescott and Ashley Young is not a recipe for success.

Let's not forget that Israel are no slouches. They went the whole of their World Cup qualification campaign unbeaten in a group that included France and the Republic of Ireland.

They do have some quality players - Benayoun at Liverpool and Ben Haim at Chelsea among the best known - and are well capable of getting a draw against an under par England side.

If I was a betting man (and I am, on occasion), I'd put my hardly earned cash on a draw at around 11/4.

Those nice people at Stan James will offer you a free £25 bet if you sign up and bet there (the amount of the freee bet is matched to the amount of your first bet).

They've got online poker and casino stuff as well - all under one account, so you can click here to sign up.

Hell, bet on a famous England victory and prove me wrong. But my gut feeling is Saturday will not be England's night.

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