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Olympics 2024 Daily Missions July to August – EN
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Euro 2024: England Aren’t Great But Critics Are OTT

England vs Slovenia

Ok, so let me give you a Euro 2024 betting tip that is worth its weight in gold (not literally).

England WILL beat Slovenia in their clash in Cologne on Tuesday night.

That is hardly a major prediction given the ‘Three Lions’ are ranked fifth in the world, a massive 52 places higher than their forthcoming opponents.

Nor is it some wise counsel that will earn you a big payday.

But mark my words, England will win this contest and qualify for the knockout stages as winners of Group C.

If that is good news for England fans reading this, here is the bad news: there are better sides lurking on the road to Berlin than any of the nations they have played so far and fears that their flaws will be brutally exposed later on in the tournament are very real ones.

 

Talking Points

When, a number of months back, I said England’s defensive weaknesses could ultimately prove their undoing in Germany, Slovenia wasn’t the type of contest I had in mind for they are effectively minnows at this level.

That is not intended to be disrespectful incidentally.

Slovenia opened against Denmark with a 1-1 draw, although they would be the first admit they could have been out of sight before claiming a point in the closing stages.

For three quarters of the contest, they had done nothing, then suddenly they were counterpunching with thrilling intensity.

A clash with Serbia then followed and, while the result was the same, the performance was better.

All in all, it means manager Matjaz Kek has extended his team’s unbeaten run to eight matches, not bad for the world’s 57th ranked nation who had laid down some markers in competitive and non-competitive action before the tournament, and have now lost only one of their last 13 contests.

Yet still, the smallest nation at Euro 2024, with a population of 2.1 million, should not be able to hold off England.

With four points on the board to date, Gareth Southgate’s men need to get their balance right in their game against the lowest-ranked side in the group and seal top spot.

After seeing off Serbia and being held by Denmark, against who there were very few Euro 2024 highlights, England have attracted a strong amount of criticism in recent days.

Slovenia secured a 1-1 draw in their Euro 2024 Group C opener vs Denmark
Erik Janza celebrates scoring a goal against Denmark in their Euro 2024 Group C match

It is worth remembering that there was similar vibes following goalless draws with Scotland at Euro 2020 and the USA at the 2022 World Cup.

The criticism may be accurate in part, but it can be over the top at times.

That it comes from some former players (to take the BBC as one example) – the likes of Micah Richards (not good enough to be an England regular) and Alan Shearer (one of the Euro 2000 squad when England could not progress beyond their group) – may grate.

Unlike in 2000 and when Richards was playing for the national team, this England side is, at least, unbeaten and on the brink of reaching the next round.

As so often though, with England, the praise is always gushing or the criticism overboard when the truth lies somewhere in between.

A bit of context is required.

The acid tests are to come.

As acclaimed journalist Henry Winter wrote this week: ‘He (Southgate) has to show he can live with elite coaches. He didn’t against Croatia’s Zlatko Dalic in the 2018 World Cup semi-final, Italy’s Roberto Mancini in the Euro 2020 final, and now Denmark’s Kasper Hjulmand who had his team better balanced and organised.’

 

History

The nations have met six times, all since 2009 and, apart from one draw, it’s been all England – as you’d reasonably expect for one large nation over a small one.

Apart from their inaugural meeting, a 2009 friendly which England won 2-1 as Frank Lampard (penalty) and Jermain Defoe scored, their games have mainly been qualifiers.

Most recently it was in 2017 when as Harry Kane scored the only goal of the game, three minutes into injury time, to confirm England’s qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The only tournament clash came at the 2010 World Cup in a group stage game when a first half Defoe volley won the day.

 

Betting Tip

It’s the fourth best side in the world against the 57th best and the SBOTOP Euro 2024 betting odds reflect that.

England are on offer First Half 1X2 @ 1.78, First Half Asian Handicap -0.50, also @ 1.78, 1X2 @ 1.30 and Asian Handicap -1.50 @ 2.00.

Spirited Slovenia are priced First Half 1X2 @ 7.10, First Half Asian Handicap +0.50 @ 2.11, 1X2 @ 7.90 and Asian Handicap +1.50 @ 1.90.

You would think England will score given their plethora of attacking talent, so how about Over 2.75 goals @ 2.04 or Total Goals 4-6 @ 3.02, compared to the more conservative 0-1 @ 3.73 and 2-3 @ 1.94.

A draw @ 4.78 provides very appealing odds but I cannot see beyond an England victory.

I’m not going for a re-run of their last meeting – Correct Score 1-0 @ 6.00 – but I am opting for Half Time Full Time Home Home @ 2.03.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (⭐) BETS ARE WORTH:

⭐⭐⭐= €20 (HIGHLY CONFIDENT)

⭐⭐= €10 (CONFIDENT))

⭐= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

   

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