Euro 2016 qualifiers: England can still overcome Estonia without Rooney
Roy Hodgson’s England head into their penultimate Euro 2016 group clash with tickets for the tournament finals in France already firmly in hand, and will be confident of toppling Estonia, having not lost a home qualifier since 2007 to Croatia when Steve McClaren was sacked.
The Three Lions have toppled their next Group E opponents comfortably in three past meetings stretching back to 2007, winning to nil on every occasion and by three goals twice. This time out, the hosts are 9/4 with Coral to net four or more times on home soil against a stuttering Estonia outfit.
England have been a dominant force in their qualifying group, after a dismal World Cup showing in Brazil last summer, storming to the summit of their standings with a perfect eight wins, with Estonia massive 22/1 outsiders to cause an upset in London.
Skipper Wayne Rooney has been ruled out of the encounter at Wembley, having recently broke his country’s all-time scoring record, which was previously held by Sir Bobby Charlton, meaning Harry Kane could be in line to start.
The absent captain had netted in his two previous outings in this fixture, but Tottenham frontman Kane will look to carry the goal burden instead, after two international strikes already this season and finally breaking his domestic duck.
Kane is 7/2 to bag a brace or more in his latest outing, having struck in his last two England appearances against San Marino and Switzerland, while his Spurs struggles were finally put to bed with an effort past Manchester City last month.
Despite boasting a 100 per cent record in qualifying, the only nation that can do so, Man City and England number one Joe Hart has called for his teammates to prove they can win Euro 2016 by continuing this rampant streak.
“I feel there is a great belief in the squad. We feel good. We have picked ourselves up,” said stopper Hart. “We were disappointed a couple of summers ago but life goes on. We had a two-year plan after that. We’re 12 months into that and then it is all about next summer.
“Winning 10 qualifying games wouldn’t crown everything, winning the tournament itself would do that. It isn’t that good an achievement unless we go on and win the whole thing.”
Hodgson could make wholesale changes to his line-up on Friday night, with Burnley’s Tom Heaton and Stoke City goal guard Jack Butland vying for Hart’s spot between the sticks. Meanwhile, Tottenham’s Dele Alli could debut in midfield, but Rooney is joined by Jonjo Shlevey and John Stones on the sidelines through injury.
Leicester City’s in-form Jamie Vardy may get further game-time after a stellar start to the top-flight term and is 9/2 to strike last, while rapid Arsenal forward Theo Walcott is 7/2 to open proceedings.
Estonia can still reach the Euro finals by ending their hapless run of seven away competitive internationals without a victory, but must also rely on the Swiss dropping points against San Marino, which is highly unliekly. Dmitri Kruglov is set for his 100th cap against England, while Aleksandr Dmitrijev returns from suspension, and Ats Purje is a possible goal threat at 6/1 to net anytime.
England will look to continue their perfect record in this latest clash with Estonia and potentially blood some youth into their line-up ahead of what they expect to be a successful summer in France next summer.
Coral’s top tip: Harry Kane scores two or more at 7/2