England v Israel: Betting odds

Who would have thought that an England match versus Israel would have so much pressure on the home team to win? But after a stuttering start to their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign, anything less than a victory for Steve McClaren’s England side would be unthinkable.

In England’s first competitive game at the new Wembley, where they have yet to register a win, they have been beset with injury problems. Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Frank Lampard and Peter Crouch are all definitely out of the crunch game, while fitness doubts remain over Owen Hargreaves and Steven Gerrard.

Nevertheless, England will start clear favourites at 3/10. Israel are way out at 10/1 to record a surprise victory, with the draw at 3/1.

If you are to believe the sounds coming out of the Israeli camp, they will come to Wembley and stick 11 men behind the ball and try to edge out a draw. And with Israel currently sitting in second spot behind Croatia, that will do them just fine.

"I don't care whether people say we are negative or not negative," said the Israel captain, Yossi Benayoun.

"We drew with England in Israel 0-0, which was a great result for us, and I will be happy to defend again and finish with the same result.”

As England look to fill the gap up front left by Wayne Rooney, Emile Heskey has received a shock recall from the international wilderness, to much derision amongst the media and fans alike. However, rumours began to circulate that it was in fact pressure from Michael Owen on Steve McClaren to pick the Wigan forward.

Owen has openly admitted a number of times that Heskey is his favourite partner up front, and they did strike up an effective partnership a few years back (effective in the sense that Owen scored goals and Heskey didn’t). With that in mind, Paddy Power has offered an attractive 7/1 that Owen will score from a Heskey assist.

Heskey may have his critics, but an international goal scoring partnership with Owen of 14 goals from 12 starts is not to be sniffed at.

The game is live on BBC One this Saturday at 17:00pm.

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Editor, Jackpot.co.uk - 2007-09-07 12:30:13

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