World Cup Qualifiers preview and odds: England vs Malta

World Cup Qualyifing

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Published: 06/10/2016

World Cup Qualifiers preview and odds: England vs Malta

October 08 , 2016 16:30pm - Wembley Stadium, England

Referee: TBC

World Cup Qualification Europe - Group F

England will play their first game under temporary boss Gareth Southgate on Saturday as they take on lowly Malta in the second round of World Cup qualification matches.

England are still group favourites despite managerial circus

Gareth Southgate will be in charge of England for the next four matches and could land the job full time if he impresses his bosses at the FA. The former U-21 gaffer was promoted on a temporary basis following the recent departure of Sam Allardyce after just 67 days in the job.

Allardyce was in charge long enough to oversee the 1-0 win over Slovakia in the opening Group F match and Southgate will be expected to maintain their perfect start when they face one of Europe`s weaker nations on the Wembley turf this weekend.

The interim manager could not have wished for an easier game to kick-off his four-game tenure but will be wary that the performance will be as important as the result for the Three Lions. Wayne Rooney has been retained as captain but it remains to be seen if he will start the match on Saturday.

Southgate may choose to field an experimental side when facing their 176th-ranked opponents. Meanwhile, Pietro Ghedin`s men will be out to limit the damage when they pay a first visit to Wembley since they were thrashed 5-0 back in 1971. Since then, the teams have met just once - a 2000 friendly match in Ta`Qali that England won 2-1.

Malta have won just one of their last 53 World Cup qualifying matches and have lost 25 of their last 26 on the road. Their 1-0 win away to Armenia in the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign was their first competitive away win since 1993.

Team news

Gareth Southgate may opt to start with Marcus Rashford up front on Saturday - however, he may be reluctant to heed the calls to drop Wayne Rooney as he looks to maintain some continuity in the squad.

Henderson and Lallana have impressed for Liverpool in recent weeks and are likely to start while the ever-improving Raheem Sterling should also get the nod as Southgate plays it safe.

Recent form (League)

England: WLDWD

Malta: LDLLD

Betting odds and tips

Qualification has not been a problem for England in recent years and even in light of the latest managerial debacle, little is likely to change in that respect. Southgate will be expected to lead the English to a routine win against the minnows of Group F.

England have won 14 of their last 15 home games in World Cup qualification, scoring 48 and conceding just six goals in the process.

You can back England -4 in the Asian Handicap market at 3/4 with Bet365.

By Neil Morris


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