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England v Slovenia: road to final starts here

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Slovenia v England
Group C, World Cup
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kickoff: 16:00 local time
Referee: Wolfgang Stark

How did it come to this? From a group that was labelled by one national newspaper as ‘easy’, England have contrived to leave their World Cup progress down to the final match – a must-win 90 minutes against opponents who will go through to the last 16 should they pick up a lone point from the game.

The onus is entirely on England to take the game to Slovenia, but just one goal has been garnered from a pair of underwhelming matches so far despite boasting an attack featuring the world-beating talents of Wayne Rooney.

All these factors are stacked against the Three Lions, yet they are still just 1.5 (1-2) on Betfair to triumph in 90 minutes to ensure the hype and the hope goes on for another three days at least. Slovenia are 8 (7-1), and the draw is 4.6 (7-2).

The thinking must be that, after such a strong run in qualification, during which they rose to their current no.8 position in the world rankings, England cannot perform so badly three times in a row. With just 90 minutes to decide their fate, the players will become their Premier League selves again to swoop past Slovenia and into the last 16. Hmmm.

The key to your betting here is whether you are an England supporter or not, and if you are, whether you would bet against your country or not. Because, on all available evidence, odds of 1.5 on an England win are a very bad joke.

If you’re an optimist the 2.3 (5-4) on England winning at both halftime and fulltime will be a tasty way to get behind the Three Lions and make a handsome profit at the same time. The pessimists, or those supporting another team at the World Cup, will be eyeing the 18 (17-1) on draw/Slovenia or the 7 (6-1) on draw/draw.

Other bets for the optimists include…

England win to nil, available to back at 2.3 (5-4).

England to score in both halves, available to back at 2.62 (13-8).

Wayne Rooney to score first in a 2-0 win, available to back at 25 (24-1).

The pessimists may instead choose to back Slovenia to win Group C at 4.3 (100-30)…

…or a Slovenia clean sheet at 7 (6-1)…

…or Robert Koren to score first in a 1-0 win.

England’s failure so far has left the nation shaking their heads but after the doom and gloom of the first two group games, the opportunity is there to redeem reputation and get the country excited again.

Watch England v Slovenia Live Online

You can catch Slovenia take on England live online as well as ALL other World Cup matches. Read our live World Cup football page for more details.

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