England head to Vilnius for their final World Cup qualifier
Last updated: October 6, 2017 by Leon Marshal
|Venue:||Vilniaus LFF stadionas|
|Home Team Form:||LLLLD|
|Away Team Form:||WDWWW|
|Last Meeting:||England 2 – 0 Lithuania|
|Competition:||FIFA World Cup|
England may have qualified for the World Cup, finishing top of their group with no losses so far, but it hardly feels like any cause for celebration. Given the weakness of the group, we would expect nothing less than this – what is worth paying attention to is the manner in which they qualified. 17 goals in 9 games, including matches against teams as weak as Malta and Lithuania, makes you wonder how they will stand against a juggernaut such as Germany (38 goals in nine, albeit 15 against San Marino) when they go to Russia next year. Some serious soul-searching is in order. A resounding win against Lithuania by three goals or more might be what’s needed to make England look like a team worth taking seriously again. Anything less will be a disappointment.
Still, given the standing of both teams, there is nothing really serious on stake here. Southgate would do well to play a bunch of youngsters to see how they could later be folded into the first team. The team is in mighty need of inspiration – their listless performance against Slovenia showing the kind of passion most people reserve for their tax returns. The bright spark is Kane, who is on fire for both his national and club team. Being able to score with both feet, he has the potential to be the next Shearer. The only problem is that there’s very few players worthy of serving him the ball.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a joke without a punchline – with only 14 assists and 9 goals in his entire career! He should be dropped immediately. Likewise, Jordan Henderson is a worthy successor to Michael Carrick as one of the most boring players to ever grace a football pitch. There are only a few players you could seriously point to and say they have the potential to be the next Frank Lampard or Paul Scholes.
Raheem Sterling could be one, a strong chance creator who has the ability to take on defenders and win. Dele Alli is another brilliant goalscorer and assist maker, who is available again this weekend. Kyle Walker, if he calms down, could also be lethal on the wing. If they can link up with Rashford and Kane properly, then England have a chance of at least getting out of the group stages. Perhaps this game is Southgate’s chance to pick a team that really bonds together and makes English football exciting again. If not, then a new manager is in order.
Lithuania, with no chance of qualification, seem like they want to play anymore, granting Malta their first point in their last game with a 1-1 draw. The weather this Sunday in Vilnius is predicted to be grey and overcast. Let’s hope this is not a sign of things to come.
Gareth Southgate has diminished expectations about England’s chances next year, stating that: “Are we going to become Spain in the next eight months? No we’re not, but respectfully they have got a squad full of players that have won league titles and won Champions Leagues.”
Newcomer Harry Winks will be looking for his first cap this Sunday, having been called up to the squad for the first time against Slovenia
Former Fulham player Danny Murphy believes that Kane is England’s best hope, writing that: “The way he conducts himself, the way he plays his football, his attitude and dedication, his humbleness and ruthlessness, are all qualities that everybody aspires to.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain, still playing for England somehow, has been criticised by fans for kicking a water bottle in frustration after being subbed off after 64 minutes.
|Lithuania (4-4-2):||Setkus; Beneta, Baravykas, Klimavicius, Slavickas; Grigaravičius, Lukša, Paulius, Dapkus; Spalvis, Ruzgis|
|Subs:||Gertmonas, Vaitkūnas, Jankauskas, Sernas, Kuklys, Mikuckis, Paulius|
|England (4-4-2):||Pickford; Bertrand, Cahill, Stones, Walker; Dier, Livermore, Winks, Sterling; Rashford, Kane|
|Subs:||Butland, Creswell, Smalling, Maguire, Keane, Trippier, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamerberlain, Lingard, Defoe, Sturridge|
|Injured:||Phil Jones, Fabian Delph|
So Far This Campaign
|Lithuania So Far This Campaign||England So Far This Campaign|
|1 (0)||Wins (away)||7 (2)|
|2 – 0 vs. Malta||Biggest Win||4 – 0 vs. Malta|
|1 (1)||Draws (away)||2 (2)|
|0 – 4 vs Slovakia||Biggest Defeat||—|
|Fiodor Černych (3)||Top Goal Scorer||Harry Kane (4)|
|Y19, R0||Discipline||Y12, R0|
|4||Failures to Score||1|
|44%||Both Teams to Score Games||22%|
|44%||Over 2.5 Goals||44%|
|56%||Under 2.5 Goals||56%|
- Harry Kane is the top scorer in the group with 4 goals. We expect him to score another one here.
- England have drawn 2 of their four away games. Is another one on the cards?
- Lithuania have won one game and drawn one, both against Malta. This has been a poor outing for them.
- One thing England can be proud of are their clean sheets, only conceding three games all tournament.
Head to Head
|Last Three Competitive Meetings Between The Sides|
|Date||Game Result||Round||First Goal-scorer|
|26/03/2017||England 2 – 0 Lithuania||World Cup Qualifier||Defoe 21′|
|12/10/2015||Lithuania 0 – 3 England||European Championship||Barkley 29′|
|27/03/2015||England 4 – 0 Lithuania||European Championship||Rooney 7′|
Conclusion & Betting Tips
Football is a relative game. However upset Brits may get about their team, at least they don’t support Lithuania, who are a hundred times worse. Still England’s odds are higher than you might imagine – coming in at 4/11 to win at William Hill in comparison to Lithuania’s 8/1. What I would would recommend as a safe bet, given the paucity of Lithuanian goals this campaign and the seven clean sheets registered by England, is Lithuania not to score at 8/11. England should score four goals or more, but given they have only done this versus Malta so far, another great idea is England to win and under 2.5 goals at 21/10. This can be covered by England to win 3-0 at odds of 7/1. I would even go so far as to perhaps put a quid on England to win 1-0 or 2-0 at great odds of 11/2. With a game seemingly as foregone as this, there are some great opportunities to find a brilliant bet.