Warming-up with a 1-0 defeat in a lacklustre performance against hosts Canada will not have helped England Women’s preparation for a World Cup campaign that could leave them embarrassed, but Mark Sampson’s side have no time to dwell on that defeat.
The Three Lionesses have been thrust into the heart of battle with an opening tie against France that sees them installed as justifiable 9/2 underdogs in Moncton.
Unfortunately for them, their record against nations flying high in the world rankings doesn’t bode too well for England.
They have won just one of their last five against sides in the top three of the world, while they have never beaten their Gallic opponents in nine attempts.
The French are installed as 4/7 favourites, and while they look a fair price, there could be value to be had elsewhere.
One thing we believe the fans in Canada will be treated to are goals, though for England fans, unfortunately most of them for France.
Philippe Bergeroo’s women have put either two or three past the English on their last four meetings, and with the same number of strikes in 10 of their last 15 internationals, Les Bleus could ensure a perfect start is in the offing for the fourth placed-team from Germany 2011.
The price on France doing the same here of 23/20 looks a solid pick to land some profit in the early stages of the competition.
And the neutrals in the Moncton Stadium could be treated to an early flurry is recent form is anything to go by.
Seven of England’s last ten matches have seen the first half out-score the second half, while the same can be said for France’s most recent quartet of fixtures.
At 2/1 for the majority of the goals to come in the opening 45 minutes, there looks no better value than that on a first-period goal-scoring spree.
Even if Steph Houghton and co do succumb to an opening defeat to their neighbours from across the Channel, fixtures against Colombia and Mexico provide ample opportunity to make it through to the knock-out stages in Canada.
Though whether, they can out-perform their odds of 20/1 remains to be seen.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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