Weblog: The football punter

Qualifying match is no laughing matter

THERE’S uncertainty in the media about whether Roy Hodgson should experiment for this Euro 2016 qualifier against Estonia, but that prospect seems hypocritical to me.

The England boss has rightly been shaking his head disapprovingly as half of his younger squad members decide to experiment with laughing gas in their spare time.

So the idea that just because there’s nothing to play for, Hodgson should take to his dugout giddy on legal highs is fairly disrespectful to the opposition.

Wayne Rooney is out injured but never fear, Three Lions fans, because Theo Walcott has declared: "I’ll play anywhere for England."

If Hodgson had a sense of humour he would stick Walcott in Rooney’s best current position of defensive midfield, because I can’t see how else this clash is going to be interesting.

Aside from Hodgson’s side, Estonia have the best defensive record in Group E and I reckon they can keep it tight, especially on a pitch which has been cut up by various groups of men with oval-shaped balls.

The Estonians also got a 0-0 draw at San Marino, so these boys can defend, don’t worry about that.

I’m tempted by the odds-against quotes about under 2.5 goals, but I’m going for glory with a 2-0 correct score bet.

However, if Hodgson decides to put Kyle Walker in the back four and Andros Townsend in attacking midfield, not even a can of laughing gas will make me see the funny side.

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Match in Focus


England v Estonia

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Estonia have failed to score in any of their last five competitive away games
Expert verdict
England have wrapped up qualification for Euro 2016 but are unlikely to take their foot off the pedal at Wembley. Opponents Estonia don't have much in the way of attacking flair and the Three Lions should land a routine victory as they close in on a perfect campaign.