Bulgaria vs EnglandEuro 2020, KO: 19:45 Oct 14, 2019, Vasil Levski Stadium
ENGLAND suffered a reality check on Friday night when they lost 2-1 in Czech Republic and they will be keen to bounce back against Group A basement boys Bulgaria.
Departing Prague without any points meant that the Three Lions tasted defeat in either a European or World Cup qualifying match for the first time in over a decade.
Yet, despite being shocked by the Czechs, Gareth Southgate's side can seal their place at Euro 2020 on Monday night should Kosovo fail to defeat Montenegro, coupled with an England triumph in Sofia.
These two nations went toe-to-toe last month at Wembley on an evening where England ran out 4-0 winners in what was an efficient and routine home win.
The Bulgarian's currently prop up the section having amassed just three points from the 18 on offer to them thus far – all of which have been gained via draws – the most recent of which came away at Montenegro on Friday night.
The Eastern European side are now without a win in their last 10 international outings and such form doesn't bode well ahead of an encounter with England – a nation that Bulgaria have never defeated.
The bookmakers fully expect that record to remain intact on Monday night with a home win priced at 15/1 (UniBet) and a fourth draw of the campaign for Krasimir Balakov's men deemed unlikely at 5/1 (UniBet) with the same firm.
Unsurprisingly, England are odds-on at 1/4 (Bet 365) to get back to winning ways and such short odds will mean that punters will have to dig deep to source value from an away win.
Following Friday nights shock defeat I fancy the English to shoot out of the traps here and although Southgate is expected to tinker with his tactics, I suspect we will see a reaction from the Three Lions inside the Vasil Levski Stadium.
If England are ahead at half time in this tussle – something they had managed in all four of their qualifiers prior to Friday night – then value could lie in backing England at 4/5 (Coral) in the half time/full time market.
What's more, Bulgaria's clean-sheet away at Montenegro last time out was only their second in their last 16 attempts and given the wealth of attacking talent at Southgate's disposal, Bulgaria may once again find England too hot to handle.
In considering who may get on the scoresheet for the visitors Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling will be most punters go to men given the fact that they have scored 13 of England's 20 in this section – Kane and Sterling are 13/5 (Betway) and 17/4 (Betway) respectively to score the opening goal in Sofia.
I successfully tipped Sterling to score in last months meeting between these two nations and although a case could be made for repeat on Monday night, I'm more attracted to the 11/10 (BoyleSports) on offer for Sterling to have two or more shots on target.
Under Pep Guardiola's stewardship Sterling has evolved into a superstar for both club and country and given his attacking prowess backing Sterling to have at least two shots on target against a shaky Bulgaria backline without any recognised household names appeals.
I would be more inclined to opt for England captain Kane to hit the back of the net , however, the general odds of 8/13 for him to do so look a bit short.
However, combining Kane to score in an England win is a lot more enticing at 4/5 (Bet 365) – a combination that would have generated profit from four out of five England Euro 2020 qualifiers thus far.
This Euro 2020 match between Bulgaria and England will be played on Oct 14, 2019 and kick off at 19:45