Tuesday night is another significant one for Wayne Rooney as he attempts to finally break Bobby Charlton’s 45-year England goalscoring record by reaching his international half-century against Switzerland.
However, while the Manchester United and Three Lions captain isn’t short on incentive, he is likely to discover that his teammates aren’t quite as energetic in their efforts to assist him on that mission now that their participation at Euro 2016 has been confirmed.
Saturday’s straightforward 6-0 swatting of San Marino in Serravalle, in which Rooney equalled Charlton’s tally of 49 from the penalty spot before a 59th-minute substitution, secured Roy Hodgson’s side’s passage into a tournament that they are 12/1 fifth favourites to win.
It was only the third time in the Premier League era that England have booked their place at a competition with a game or more to play, and on both prior occasions there was a noticeable dip in performance in the following encounter.
In World Cup 2010 qualifying, they put their Euro 2008 humiliation behind them by winning their first eight Group 6 fixtures, fittingly finishing the job with a 5-1 thrashing of Croatia, their punishers in the previous process. That flawless record was surrendered in the next match though courtesy of a 1-0 defeat to Ukraine.
There was a similar struggle once assured of an invitation to World Cup 2006. A 1-0 success over Austria saw them through with seven victories, a draw and a defeat. They did win again in the finale against Poland, but were drawing for 79 of the opening 80 minutes, before a late Frank Lampard volley delivered a 2-1 triumph.
Any loosening of intensity levels by Hodgson’s squad at Wembley won’t be mirrored by Switzerland, who have ate up the past 15 points offered to them in Group E, rallying back from 2-0 down in the final 11 minutes of their decisive weekend clash with Slovenia for three priceless points.
A positive result in London might send them to France or at the very least nudge them closer. They drew 2-2 on their last visit in 2011, when England actually had something at stake besides individual accolades. Consequently, the Switzerland and Draw double chance carries great appeal at evens.
Disagree? If so, Ladbrokes have an enticing price boost planned from 08:00 on Tuesday, with a Three Lions win in which both teams score being pushed out from 3/1 to 4/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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