England v Belgium: Narrow home win to complete Euro prep

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Desperate to carry momentum into Euro 2012, England look well-priced at 4/7 to win their final preparation game at home to Belgium on Saturday.

The two sides have met infrequently in recent years, but punters backing the 3/1 draw may be interested to learn that this has been the result in three of the last seven meetings of the sides, albeit stretching back to 1954.

You would have to go back further than this to find the last time Belgium conquered the Three Lions meanwhile, but with their strongest squad in years, they may see some support at 5/1 for a Wembley win.

What counts against them is the fact that they will not take part in Euro 2012, and so do not have the same incentive to impress ahead of the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

England players, in contrast, are eager to prove they are worthy of a starting berth at the tournament, and after a solid showing in Norway last week, could keep another clean sheet at 11/10.

Typically organised under Roy Hodgson, the 1-0 success in Oslo was the fifth time in the last seven games that England failed to concede, and they have won each of the games their backline wasn’t breached in.

That statistic makes the 11/8 odds about England winning to nil look appealing, whilst a 1-0 win, which is the margin the Three Lions have triumphed by in four of their last six outings, is a 6/1 shot.

Wayne Rooney has made a recent vow to be fit and ready when he becomes available for the third group game in the European championships, and as such, could be afforded some game time on Saturday.

He is 7/2 to score first, whilst Andy Carroll, expected to start the Euro 2012 opener with France, is a 9/2 hope.

Rooney’s Manchester United team-mate Ashley Young is in blistering international form too though, and could be worth investment at 6/1 to break the deadlock, after scoring five times in his last eight England outings.

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

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