Lithuania v England: Don’t expect goals from young visitors

Just to put some perspective on England’s 100 percent Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, their final match is against a nation whose only success in the last 10 games came against San Marino, and even then it was via a last-minute winner.

In a rare piece of irony, Roy Hodgson takes a rotated squad to Lithuania for a competitive international, preferring to keep one eye on three friendlies games that will prove a far sterner test in the future.

The Three Lions will warm up for the summer tournament in France by facing Spain, the hosts and Germany. Understandably, Hodgson wants close to his first-choice side taking on that trio of heavyweights, so will send the fringe players to Vilnius to wrap up Group E.

With as many as 11 regulars missing through a variety of rest and injury, the likes of Jack Butland, Jonjo Shelvey and Jamie Vardy can press their case for inclusion next year.

Even with the senior men missing, Ladbrokes rate the Three Lions as 7/20 favourites to get the victory, with the hosts 7/1 outsiders and the draw available at 10/3.

Having huffed and puffed to break down a stubborn Estonia outfit at Wembley on Friday, the hope is that playing as the visitors will unlock their fluidity.

They shouldn’t hold their breath. Two goals or more have been scored in just four of their last seven away games but, more importantly, Lithuania are rarely taken to the cleaners.

The Czech Republic were the last team to batter the 116th-ranked nation in their own back yard, scoring four goals in a Euro 2012 qualifier in 2011. Since then, only two teams have managed to score more than once against the hosts in a game.

England scoring under 1.5 team goals therefore looks a real piece of value at 11/8, especially considering the likely green nature of Hodgson’s starting XI and the hosts relative ability to frustrate.

Alternatively, under 2.5 goals in the game looks reasonably priced at 10/11 too.

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

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.