England fans ought to be used to must-win major tournament qualification deciders by now, but there’s still a sense that anything could happen as they face Poland.
With Ukraine already theoretically two points clear of them at the top of Group H thanks to a final outing against San Marino, nothing less than victory will do at Wembley.
However the Three Lions’ record since the turn of the century in matches where only a win would do suggest their fans are in for a rollercoaster evening with a hearty portion of goals.
England have won just one of their last three do-or-die games, against Poland in 2005.
The weight of history suggests that backing at 16/5 Poland in the double chance market is the value call here with the Three Lions losing against Croatia and drawing with Greece in all or nothing qualifying fixtures for Euro 2008 and World Cup 2002 respectively.
Furthermore they did the bare minimum in matches last time a draw was the least they needed, with the last such encounter – against Turkey in the Euro 2002 preliminaries – yielding qualification with a 0-0 away stalemate.
All three of their must-win encounters since 2000 have seen over 2.5 goals bettors trouser the readies.
A 2-1 win over Poland, a 2-3 loss to the Croatians and the 2-2 even-stevens with Greece secured by a famous David Beckham free-kick demonstrate what happens to defensive rigidity when England are faced with a situation where they must secure victory to progress.
Over 2.5 goals looks worthy of investment at 31/50 against Poland, if only to ameliorate the effect of the inner turmoil as the lead changes hands like an unwanted Christmas present.
The Three Lions will score two goals.
On each of the aforementioned occasions the 47 seven years of hurt brigade have needed to come out on top a brace of strikes has been both the ceiling and carpet of their achievements.
Roy Hodgson’s men can be backed to continue the trend by notching exactly twice in their final Group H outing at 11/4.