Weblog: The football punter

Question time for Three Lions in Turin

SO many questions, so few answers. Can One Direction survive without Zayn? (Who cares?)

Can anyone replace Jeremy Clarkson? Yes … me. “It’s a car, that’s all, now everyone grow up. Next.”

Who’s going to win the Election? (See answer to Zayn).

And, of course, will he or won’t he start on Tuesday night?

After coming off the bench to score at the weekend, the papers simply can’t get their fill of the man. But has he done enough to command a place in the starting line-up? Is he the future of football? Is he the saviour of a nation?

Like you, I don’t have all the answers to the above, but I’m on tenterhooks waiting to discover whether or not Vaclav Pilar will start for the Czechs in Slovakia.

I mean, coming on and scoring that equaliser against Latvia, he’s earned the right, hasn’t he?

Anyway, while I’m waiting for the team news to filter through from the Stadion Pod Dubnom I can train my punting minces on England’s trip to Italy.

More questions. Will Rooney break Lord Bobby’s record? Is Harry Kane the next Nat Lofthouse or the next Ian Ormondroyd? I’m not sure 90 minutes in Turin will supply an answer to the latter, but one thing I do know is that the incredibly serious and professional Roy Hodgson will treat this match as the most important game of his life while the Italians will treat it with the same casual indifference they show traffic lights. And that makes England a decent bet.

In the one serious game on the card, Wales against Belgium, I think I’ll do the Belgium-Belgium half-time-full-time result.

The Belgians are going to take a lead from the Welsh, whose tactic was their usual one; give the ball to Gareth Bale, ignore everyone else, and let him do the biz. Belgium will try a similar move with Marouane Fellaini. Hmmm. Second thoughts on that bet…

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Match in Focus


Italy v England

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • England are unbeaten in their last seven away games
Expert verdict
England acquitted themselves well against a poor Lithuania side at Wembley on Friday but face a more demanding test when they face Italy in Turin. Italy came from behind to seal a 2-2 draw away to Bulgaria on Saturday but are a team in transition and may have to settle for a second stalemate in four days.