England u-21 v Norway u-21: Lions to bounce back
After defeat at the hands of the Italians, England’s under-21 team must now beat Norway in game two to maintain their semi-final qualification hopes.
The fact that the team won nine games on the bounce without conceding a goal prior to the Italy game, as well as having a contentious Craig Dawson strike disallowed for no obvious reason during it, seems to have been overlooked, or so the scathing criticism that the team has come for following that loss would suggest.
This strong run saw them record a 1-0 win over the Norwegians in qualifying, in addition to a 2-1 victory in the meeting that pre-dated that one. All of these factors make the Young Lions’ price of 8/11 well worth a punt, though they will have to be wary of some key players in the 4/1-rated underdog’s team.
Their 2-2 draw with Israel in the tournament’s curtain-raiser has undoubtedly hampered their chances of progression and they will be without defensive lynchpin Vegar Hedenstad after he was sent off in the clash.
They owe their solitary point to a stoppage time leveller from Feyenoord’s Harmeet Singh. His creative spark proved decisive in the final stages and his ability to find pockets of space between the opposition’s midfield and defence can certainly cause England problems.
At 6/1, Singh might be worth a couple of quid to notch at any time.
Stuart Pearce’s side drew the majority of their criticism for a lack of idea in possession of the ball, which should herald the return of Wilfried Zaha and Thomas Ince from injury and suspension respectively.
Unarguably, the two brightest talents in the Young Lions’ squad, they share a price of 6/1 to open the scoring in this clash, a feat the pair have achieved in two of the past three outings that one has started.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date