England get their World Cup campaign underway against Italy in a game where attrition is sure to be the order of the day.
Goals are going to be hard to find in a contest where both participants will prioritise avoiding defeat over winning the match, but history suggests the Three Lions will find the net in Manaus, as they have done on each of their previous competition bows.
Roy Hodgson’s side can be backed at 21/10 to best the Azzurri, but a punt on Wayne Rooney to score the nation’s opening goal of the tournament looks to be a better bet at 9/4.
Open an account at bwin.com today to collect a £30 free bet that reaps a £67.50 profit if placed on England’s number ten to score their first and the research conducted by the crack team over at news.bwin.com/en/ proves accurate.
Read on for the rationale as to why the Manchester United man will put his well-documented World Cup woes temporarily to rest by becoming the first Englishman to notch in Brazil.
The first indicator comes from the qualification campaign.
Those who bet on Rooney to be the deadlocksmith in four of the Three Lions’ last six qualifiers would’ve celebrated a winner.
Taking a San Marino own goal out of the equation, Rooney was responsible for 80 per cent of the latest five first competitive goals bagged by a Three Lions representative.
Secondly, there’s the scheduling of the match to consider.
England tackle the Italians in the second match in Group D, with Uruguay and Costa Rica doing battle beforehand.
In the previous five World Cups, three of the five first goals fired in these matches came via the boot of a forward, with 1998 and 2002 providing the exceptions.
Here, central-midfielders did their strikers’ bidding, which lends favour to backing up your Rooney banker with a bet on skipper Steven Gerrard at a sizeable 6/1.
The Liverpool man was the only English player in the country’s last six qualifiers to score the opener aside from Rooney and he got the first of few goals scored by the one-time winners at the previous tournament.