Euro 2016 Qualifier Preview and Prediction: San Marino vs England

Competition: European Championship Qualifier – San Marino vs. England

Venue: Stadio Olimpico di Serrvavalle – San Marino – Saturday, September 5 – 17:00 GMT

Match Odds: San Marino 66/1 – Draw 25/1 – England 1/100

Match Preview

San Marino host England in Group E in the latest European Qualifier on Saturday afternoon, with the two sides at opposite ends of the table. San Marino are yet to win a game in the group and have just one point.

Pier-Angelo Manzaroli’s side haven’t scored in the qualifying rounds but will be looking to frustrate England and keep the score to a minimum here.

The host’s stadium will provide a hostile atmosphere with a capacity of 5115. It will be a different experience for Roy Hodgson’s side as the players are used to packed out Premier League crowds but they should face little difficulty in winning nonetheless.

San Marino lost their previous qualifying game 2-0 away at Estonia. Despite the negative result there are positives for Manzaroli to take, as his side managed to compete in the game rather than being thumped by a high scoreline.

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England have won all six of their games in Group E and sit six points clear of Switzerland in second place. Hodgson will have his players more than aware that anything but a convincing win here is not acceptable.

It is a chance for England to try out some different tactics and we can expect to see plenty of attacking play. Despite the fact that they will probably line-up with four at the back, Hodgson will expect his full-backs to provide plenty of width and service.

England’s last tie in the group was their 3-2 win over Slovenia, with Wayne Rooney scoring late on to take all three points. The England captain will see this as his chance to finally become leading scorer for the nation. He needs to net at least two to do so to overtake Sir Bobby Charlton’s record of 49.

Hodgson will have his players respect the opposition but this should be an easy win for England against a side ranked 193 in the world and anything but a win would be a shock.

Team News

We can expect the hosts to attempt to give England as little space as they can by playing their preferred 4-5-1 formation. San Marino will look to counter attack where possible but this will be a game where they attempt to keep the score as low as possible.

Roy Hodgson has the chance to rotate his 22 man squad in this one. The likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Jamie Vardy will be hoping for some game time. The England manager will no doubt be looking for his side to get the job done in a professional manner.

Key Points

San Marino’s last five in Euro Qualifiers: L/L/D/L/L

England’s last five in Euro Qualifiers: W/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: England have won all six of their games in Group E so far, scoring 18 and conceding just three.

Key Player: Raheem Sterling – The Manchester City forward has started the Premier League campaign well and has settled into his new squad excellently following his £49 million move from Liverpool. His attacking flare will see him look to drive at San Marino from the outset.

Score Prediction

San Marino 0-5 England – A routine win for England expected, which should see then dominate proceedings as they will continue their 100% record in Group E.

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Euro 2016 Qualifier Preview and Prediction: Slovenia vs England

Competition: European Championship Qualifier – Slovenia vs. England

Venue: Stadion Stozice, Slovenia – Sunday, June 14 – 17:00 GMT

Match Odds: Slovenia 3/1 – Draw 5/2 – England 17/20

Match Preview

Slovenia welcome England to the Stadion Stozice as the top two sides in Group E go head-to-head on Sunday evening.

The hosts have won three of their five qualifying games so far and will feel they have a great chance of making it through to the knockout rounds.

Slovenia’s last outing in the qualifiers was a 6-0 thrashing of minnows San Marino. They have scored ten goals so far in the group, which is only five less than England, but they did lose in their friendly match against Qatar back in March.

A positive result here will give them a real chance of qualifying and will leave them in a good position going into their next qualifier against Switzerland, who are level on points with them at the moment.

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Srečko Katanec’s side are the only opposition to have netted against England in the qualifiers so far as the reverse fixture saw Roy Hodgson’s men win 3-1 at Wembley.

England come into this one off the back of their 0-0 friendly draw with the Republic of Ireland last weekend and will need to show more hunger and determination if they are to pick up the three points here.

The Three Lions have won all five of their qualifiers so far and will feel they have a great chance of getting through the group stages without losing.

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Hodgson’s side are unbeaten in their last ten games and they have only conceded three goals in those outings.

Team News

Slovenia will more than likely line-up in their preferred 4-1-3-2 formation. The England faithful will be familiar with Inter Milan’s Stefan Handanovic, the Slovenia number one. Veteran goalscorer, Milivoje Novakovic, will hope to spoil England’s 100% run.

England welcome back Fabian Delph after his injury, other than that, Hodgson has no other concerns to his squad. Charlie Austin will hope this will be his chance for his England debut.

Key Points

Slovenia’s last five: W/L/L/W/L

England’s last five: W/W/W/W/D

Key Stat: England have not lost a game since the World Cup last summer.

Key Player: Wayne Rooney – The England captain is still waiting to become the all time leading goalscorer in their history and will expect to inspire his side to victory.

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Score Prediction

Slovenia 1-2 England – A closer encounter than the reverse fixture in a hostile away tie for England.

Wayne Rooney says England are to be feared

Wayne Rooney has stated England have what it takes to be feared as a footballing nation as they maintain their 100 per cent record in Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of England’s friendly with Italy on Tuesday night, the Manchester United forward feels the players have what it takes to be feared.

“The players are so quick and when we lose the ball we want to be aggressive and win it back quickly.

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“I am sure you have heard the manager talk about those little ‘furies’ – that when we lose the ball we have to win it back as quickly as possible.

“With the players we have got, we have to play like that.”

England are unbeaten in their last eight games, winning the last seven, and have rapidly improved since their hugely disappointing World Cup performance in 2014.

And Rooney has highlighted the importance of teams not wanting to face England.

“You don’t want to go into games and teams enjoy playing against you.

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“You want teams to look at England and think, ‘we know we have a tough game, it is going to physically hard against them, we are going to have to defend and we are going to have to be good on the ball to keep the ball’.”

England face arguably their toughest task since the World Cup last year on Tuesday evening against Italy and can send out a message to other nations if they can defeat the four-time World Champions in Turin.

Are England a nation to fear in world football?

Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski set for Serie A switch in search for football

Despite Arsene Wenger’s admission that unsettled Germany international Lukas Podolski is not for sale, he continues to attract interest from abroad, and a loan move to Italy’s Serie A with Inter Milan is reportedly on the cards.

Having slipped down the pecking order at Arsenal behind the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck and Santi Cazorla, Podolski is being forced to look elsewhere if he is to see regular action.

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As well as being linked to Italian clubs AS Roma and Inter Milan, the World Cup winner was also linked with a move back to his first club FC Koln in Germany, where he has excelled in the past.

He needs to play to ensure that he continued to be a part of the German National Team. And Joachim Low has reminded Podolski that he needs to play if he is to figure in his plans for Euro 2016 qualification.

Inter Milan are supposedly keen to add the Polish-born German winger to their attacking ranks on a loan deal with some Italian reports suggesting a deal is close to completion.

Roma are another club interested, with the Rome-based club looking for cover for former Arsenal winger Gervinho – who will be playing for Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup Of Nations for the first part of 2015.

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With 121 international caps so far and the hope for many more, Podolski may decide to move club to ensure he see’s regular first-team action in Joachim Low’s set-up for the Euro 2016 qualifiers with Germany.

Arsene Wenger may want to keep Podolski but he hasn’t started a Premier League game through the first half of the current campaign and with more players returning from injury at Arsenal, the German needs to look elsewhere if he is to play regularly.

Would Lukas Podolski be a loss for Arsenal if he leaves in January?