Competition: European Championship Qualifier – England vs. Lithuania
Venue: Wembley Stadium, England – Friday, March 27 – 19:45 GMT
Match Odds: England 1/9 – Draw 7/1 – Lithuania 28/1
England host Lithuania at Wembley this Friday in what is both sides’ fifth European Championship Qualifier. Roy Hodgson‘s men are currently top of Group E with four wins from four and go into this game expecting to keep that 100% record intact.
This is the first time the England squad have linked up since November, where they played twice in a qualifier and a friendly, winning both.
This will also be the first game Lithuania have played since November. They lost in a friendly against Ukraine and were thumped 4-0 by Switzerland in their last European Qualifier.
Lithuania currently sit fourth in Group E but are level on six points with Switzerland and Slovenia after picking up wins against Estonia and San Marino in their opening games of qualification.
This is the first time the two sides have ever met and Lithuania come into the game without a win in three. England are unbeaten in their last seven, winning six on the bounce, and should be far too strong.Embed from Getty Images
Lithuanian head coach, Igoris Pankratjevas has worked in various areas with the national side having held previous roles as assistant coach and caretaker. He will have his players pumped and will be hoping they can surprise England on their own turf.
Roy Hodgson has already had to make some revisions to his team after losing Fraser Forster, Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Rose to injury. The news of Harry Kane making the squad has been well received, with many hoping he will partner Wayne Rooney up top in Friday’s game. Rooney has Sir Bobby Charlton’s international tally of 49 goals in his sights, needing just three to equal the all-time leading England record. Harry Kane’s Tottenham teammate Ryan Mason has come in as a replacement for Lallana and after an impressive season so far with his club, he too will be hoping for a chance to impress.Embed from Getty Images
Pankratjevas likes to pack out the middle of his team and when he opts for two up top we usually see one of the front men dropping back to make up a five-man midfield. Deivydas Matulevičius will more than likely spearhead the attack and he has five goals in 18 appearances for the national side. We can expect goalkeeper Giedrius Arlauskis to be the busier of the two stoppers and the 27 year old will be looking to make a name for himself.
England’s last five: W/W/W/W/W
Lithuania’s last five: W/W/L/L/D
Key Stat: Goals – England have scored an average of almost three goals in each of their last five games. Both Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane will be looking to continue that trend.
Key Player: Wayne Rooney – The England captain will be desperately looking to overtake Sir Bobby Charlton in the all-time England scorers charts but will expect his teammates to kill the game early and secure three points. Expect Rooney to put in a commanding display.
England 3-0 Lithuania – Roy Hodgson will be hoping for much of the same from his side at Wembley and continue their 100% record in the qualifiers for Euro 2016. Nothing more than a win will be acceptable here and it should be a routine performance from the Three Lions.