England vs San MarinoWorld Cup, KO: 19:45 Mar 25, 2021, Wembley Stadium
IT'S difficult to know who has the harder job….sorry San Marino manager Franco Varrella or punters desperately trying to find any value in England's opening World Cup qualifier against the minnows.
One of the great mismatches in European football takes place at Wembley when the current favourites for this summer's Euro 2020 tournament entertain a side who have set a host of unwanted records over the years and have shown no signs at all of improving. They are 210th and bottom of the FIFA World Rankings.
It's well documented their lack of goals and of course, wins – their last victory in any game came against Liechtenstein…in 2004. And even though they did get a couple of draws in their Nations League group which was viewed as a huge success, they were against Liechtenstein again and Gibraltar.
Over the years they have taken some frightful beatings – Russia and Belgium both beat them 9-0 at home in the past 18 months.
England used to have a reputation of rarely destroying teams, but they have put six goals past Bulgaria and seven past Montenegro in the same time period.
What the bookies think
Recent head to heads
They last played in the qualifiers for Euro 2016 and England won 6-0 and 5-0. England have never failed to score less than five goals against San Marino in the six meetings between the nations.
Players to watch
England manager Gareth Southgate is likely to use a more experimental line-up for the match against San Marino, with bigger games to come against Albania and Poland although if Harry Kane plays, he will see it as an ideal way of adding to his 32 goals in 51 appearances. However, he is an extraordinary 1/18 to score anytime with bet365. Phil Foden is back in the good books after a spell in the international sin bin and there might be some value on a speculative first scorer punt at 11/2.
For the hapless visitors, only three members of their entire squad have ever scored for their country before. Filippo Berardi netted their last goal eight games ago against Kazakhstan. The former Torino striker now plays for Serie C outfit Vibonese and is 28/1 with bet365 to score anytime.
Anything else catch the eye?
Handicaps are the obvious shout in this and it's a case of how bothered will England be at running up a cricket score? The handicap bar is set around the 7-0 home win mark and that seems fair. Given San Marino will unquestionably put all 11 men behind the ball, it's far from inconceivable they avoid a complete hammering and the 6/5 with 888Sport they can ‘win' with a seven goal start looks appetising.
San Marino tends to use any means possible to prevent the inevitable hammering and they usually rack up the bookings so keep an eye on that when they get announced.
Finally, in three of San Marino's recent hammerings – to Belgium twice and Scotland, they didn't concede until later in the first half. Bet365's no goal before the 11th minute at 5/6 surely isn't asking that much…is it?
This World Cup match between England and San Marino will be played on Mar 25, 2021 and kick off at 19:45. Check below for our tipsters best England vs San Marino prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.