Weblog: The football punter

History beckons for improving Turkey

I must admit, England's friendly against Turkey has crept up on me a bit.

It seems like only Saturday that we were watching the FA Cup final and suddenly it's full steam ahead towards Euro 2016.

Still, it's out patriotic duty to have a punt on an England friendly, even if half of Roy's boys are putting their feet up after end-of-season club exertions.

Turkey have developed into a decent footballing nation so it's a surprise to discover through this website's fine head-to-head tool that they've got a woeful record against England.

The Three Lions have handed out a couple of 8-0 stuffings to the Turks, as well as a 4-0 and a 5-0, and Sunday's visitors haven't scored against England in ten attempts.

The best policy with research like that is to completely ignore it so I'm having a small bet on both teams to score.

There'll be a bit of fatigue in the legs, plenty of tactical tweaks and experimenting with personnel and, hopefully, lots of defensive errors.

Hibernian landed the Scottish Cup for the first time in 114 years on Saturday and I'm backing Turkey to make their own little piece of history in Manchester.

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Match in Focus

19:45 Fr 27May BBC2

N Ireland v Belarus

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Northern Ireland have lost just one of their last nine home matches
Expert verdict
Northern Ireland begin preparations for their first major tournament in 30 years with what should prove a confidence-building run out against Belarus. Their success is built upon a sturdy defence and they conceded just three goals in five home qualifiers, while their visitors have not scored in their last three road trips.