England v Scotland friendly – No such thing?
An England-Scotland friendly? No such thing. Never has been, never will be. The only thing at stake may be pride, but that’s more than enough for each team to be going at the other at Wembley tonight as if it were the World Cup Final itself.
There’s nothing, absolutely nothing, the Scots like more than beating the Auld Enemy, but we can also be certain that the likes of Stevie Gerrard and Jack Wilshire will be giving as good as they get when the team in blue swarm forward, roared on by their passionate Tartan Army.
It’s one of those games when the form book can go out of the window – not that there’s any recent head-to-head form to take into account for this first clash since 1999. Coral go 2/5 England and 7/1 Scotland and there will be plenty of punters on both sides of the border keen to grab those odds.
For the record, England have slipped to 14th in the world rankings and Scotland are languishing in 50th place. FIFA’s rankings are often derided, and with some justification, but it’s hard to argue too much with these particular current ratings for two teams struggling (to a different degree) to make an impact on the international stage.
Many of the home side’s so-called ‘golden generation’ are now in the twilight of their careers and Wilshire will need all the help he can get from the new kids on the block if England are to have a serious chance of a major trophy in the next decade.
Scotland have less resources and their ambitions aren’t as high, but they have plenty of talent in their squad, well capable of giving the bigger boys a scare, especially when their blood’s up, as it will surely be this evening.
We can look forward to a feisty, close encounter – probably quite tense for a ‘friendly’ – and there may be just the odd goal in it. England to win 2-1 is 8/1 with Coral and that has a bit of a ring to it, but it would be no surprise at all to see Scotland come away with something and 1-1 (also 8/1) is another scoreline that makes appeal.
If Scotland are to score, it’s take your pick Jordan Rhodes, Kenny Miller, Leigh Griffiths and Steve Naismith, all 9/1 to net first for the visitors and 100/30 to score at any time.
All English eyes will be on unsettled Manchester United striker, Wayne Rooney, who, it seems, will play a ‘chunk’ of the game tonight, despite not being fit enough to play for his club. He is 4/1 to score first for England, with Ricky Lambert, making his dream debut at the age of 31, a 5/1 chance to mark the occasion with an opening goal (5/4 to score at any time).