England v Italy Preview

  • Friendly, 31st March 2014, Juventus Stadium, Turin

  • England face the Azzurri in what is rapidly becoming a staple fixture. This will be the fourth encounter in less than three years. England won the last friendly match between the two sides back in August 2012 but this sandwiched two loses to Italy, both of which resulted in England being eliminated from the last two competitive tournaments.
    Italy are one of only four nations to have a better head-to-head over England (Brazil, Uruguay and Romania the others) and whilst England have the upper hand in terms of friendlies (won 5, drawn 5, lost 4), they have only won one meaningful competitive match, a World Cup Qualifier in 1977.
    With new talisman Harry Kane due to start alongside Wayne Rooney, who is only two goals shy of Bobby Charlton's England record, Roy Hodgson might be quite glad this is only a friendly match. Having said that, Turin is never a place to go for amnity.
  •   Posted: 30th March 2015 11:27pm

England v Lithuania Preview

  • Euro 2016 Qualifying Group E, 27th February 2015, Wembley Stadium, London

  • The very first meeting between England and the Baltic state of Lithuania. They are currently ranked 94th in the world and lie fourth in Euro 2016 Group E having won two and lost two games so far. Those two wins were against San Marino and Estonia the two teams below them in the table. Last time out they shipped four away goals to Switzerland.
    England should be comfortably far too strong for them and the only real surprise of the evening should be whether Roy Hodgson is brave enough to not start Harry Kane.
  •   Posted: 27th March 2015 3:52pm

Scotland v England Preview

  • Friendly, 18th November 2014, Celtic Park

  • The 112th meeting between the two oldest international sides, and the first on Scottish soil for 15 years. England were lucky, coming from behind twice when the two sides last met at Wembley in August 2013 and they will need to have guile to beat a confident Scottish side who recently dispatched Ireland 1-0.
    Indeed, albeit a friendly (can England v Scotland ever be a friendly?) this will probably be England’s toughest test until they go to France for Euro 2016.
    Only the sixth match to be played between the two sides at Celtic Park, the last being over 110 years ago, and despite the hostile atmosphere, England will be hopeful that they can match their last result there, a 1-0 win against the Auld Enemy.
  •   Posted: 17th November 2014 10:53pm

England v Slovenia Preview

  • Euro 2016 Qualifying Group E, 15th November 2014, Wembley Stadium, London

  • England face more than a rough pitch this Saturday when they face the potential banana skin that is Slovenia. On paper England should win comfortably at home despite the condition of the pitch following an NFL game on Sunday, however, Slovenia are a nifty little side and they responded very well from losing their opening group E match in Estonia to beat Lithuania away and top seed Switzerland at home. They are second in the group on six points. Those wins propelled Srečko Katanec’s side up 17 places to 36th in the FIFA World rankings. England meanwhile dropped 2 places to twentieth.
    The previous two meetings provided two wins for the Three Lions. A third on Saturday will see them sitting pretty at the top for the group. Barring injury, Saturday will also see Wayne Rooney reach his 100th cap, the 9th Englishman to do so. He also requires two more goals to overtake Jimmy Greaves on 44 to become England’s third highest goal scorer.
  •   Posted: 12th November 2014 4:07pm

England back to 20th in World rankings

  • Beating limited quality opposition reaps too few ranking points

  • England will slip back to twentieth in FIFA's World Rankings when they are published on 23rd October. San Marino and Estonia represented too few ranking points and therefore the Three Lions will be leapfrogged by Ukraine, Croatia and Algeria.
    There is little Roy Hodgson and his charges can do to stop England sliding even further during November as the two games scheduled are against Slovenia and Scotland, the latter being a friendly match. Once more, very few points available.
    It could be highly conceivable for England to waltz through their group with the best record of any team in the qualifying competition despite not being in the top twenty in the world and the top ten in UEFA. The price for such an easy group.
  •   Posted: 16th October 2014 1:17pm