England U21s take on Azerbaijan U21s at Watford’s Vicarage Road stadium tomorrow in their first match since making a disappointing exit from the 2011 European U21 Championship group stages earlier this summer.
Stuart Pearce might have been rewarded with a new contract, but his charges failed to record a single victory in Denmark, drawing 1-1 with Spain, 0-0 with Ukraine and losing 2-1 to Czech Republic.
However, bwin’s 3Way football betting market suggests they are far more likely to record a success against Azerbaijan tomorrow evening.
England U21s are 3/50 to pick up all three points in their opening UEFA Euro 2013 Group 8 Qualifier, with a draw priced at 31/4.
Those who think Azerbaijan can provide a huge betting upset and beat the Young Lions can back the away side to win at odds of 22/1.
This means that a successful £25 free bet on Azerbaijan to win, available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account, would return £575.
However, this looks unlikely given the depth of talent Pearce has available to him – even after a number of high-profile withdrawals.
Captain Phil Jones has been called up to the senior squad on the back of his impressive start to the season with new club Manchester United while Danny Welbeck, Emmanuel Frimpong and Martin Kelly have all pulled out with injuries.
Nevertheless, the likes of Jordan Henderson, Josh EcEachran, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Rodwell are all available for selection, which should be enough to ensure Azerbaijan leave Watford empty-handed.
This was certainly the case the last time the two teams met, when England put seven past Azerbaijan in Milton Keynes.
And while Azerbaijan beat Estonia and Moldova in their last two outings, an 8-0 defeat to Russia in March suggests there are still unresolved defensive issues.
As such, a flutter on there to be more than 3.5 goals at odds of 4/5 could pay off, as could backing England to score but keep a clean sheet at 21/50.
Those mindful of England’s record of three wins in their last ten games and Azerbaijan’s recent run of victories could yet be tempted to take advantage of odds of 18/5 on the game ending in either a draw or an Azerbaijan win.
However, with Azerbaijan repeatedly cast as qualification whipping boys an England win looks by far the better option, even at such short odds.
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