England are already assured of their place at Euro 2024 after coming through a tricky qualifying group that contained Italy and Ukraine.
Gareth Southgate’s rock-solid record in charge of the Three Lions has continued in the past year or so, despite being beaten quarterfinalists in the 2022 World Cup where they lost to eventual finalists France.
Now England will be desperate to go all the way at the Euros in Germany, having lost agonisingly in the final of Euro 2022 on their own turf, defeated by Italy on penalties. Before that, the qualification process has to be concluded, with Southgate juggling lots of injuries and absences.
England take on Malta in their penultimate qualifying match, The Sporting News previews that game with a look at a prediction and the best bets.
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With England such overwhelming favourites, there’s little value in simply placing a bet on them to win the game — it’s a given that they will. The bookmakers expect it to be a victory by a signifcant margin too, given the odds for ‘over’ and ‘under’ 3.5 goals. Perhaps there’s value in betting on a low-scoring England win, since they may struggle for fluency with a number of players unavailable.
The daunting factor for Malta is that Harry Kane is not among England’s walking wounded and the country’s record goalscorer will view this as an opportunity to plunder more goals, following a sensational start to his Bayern Munich career.
TSN’s prediction: England to win 4-0 (+500 on DraftKings)
TSN’s best bet: Harry Kane to score a hat-trick (+450 on DraftKings)
There have been a raft of pullouts from this England squad, with the likes of James Maddison, Callum Wilson and Lewis Dunk all unavailable through injury and Jude Bellingham and Levi Colwill joining the trio in returning to their clubs for rehabilitation. Kalvin Phillips and Marcus Rashford are doubts as they deal with personal issues, with Trent Alexander-Arnold also an injury doubt.
Malta have scored just two goals in their entire qualifying campaign to date, but one of those was bagged by promising striker Paul Mbong. He should lead the line for the underdogs at Wembley.