England’s 3-0 friendly win over Peru was characterised by a lack of real attacking penetration, making backing those who thrive at set pieces the shrewdest bets to top score for Roy Hodgson’s men in Brazil.
Wembley witnessed centre-halves Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka profit from Leighton Baines deliveries to put a reassuring polish on what could have been a demoralising result.
At a scarcely believable 33/1, the former rates scarcely believable value to top score for the Three Lions at the World Cup for these reasons five.
England managed just three shots on target against Peru according to the BBC.
Cutting edge was hardly abundant against some of the more average foes South America has to offer, with only ten attempts on goal summoned in total.
The dead ball deliveries of Baines and Steven Gerrard are England’s best chance of finding the net.
Head-seeking missiles from the boot of Liverpool’s hardy perennial have long been the Three Lions most reliable source of goals.
Now, with fellow Scouse set-piece specialist Baines in the XI, the proportion of appetising free-kicks and corners is on the rise for England’s knock-down and nodder gourmets.
With both men above Cahill in the betting at 20/1 and 10/1 respectively, their dead-ball responsibilities will deny them the chance to profit from said situations themselves.
Cahill is one of a handful of names guaranteed to start if fit in Brazil.
Hodgson’s back five is virtually chiselled in granite ahead of the Group D opener against the Italians in Manaus, with the Chelsea man one of those guaranteed a berth.
Further forward the fight for places is that much more competitive, with Steven Gerrard and, to a lesser extent, Wayne Rooney the only men who have the right to expect a place in the XI.
No England player scored more than one goal at Euro 2012 or World Cup 2010.
On recent tournament form it’s unlikely that the man who nets most for ‘the boys what invented the game’ will need to hit Herculean heights in Brazil.
With the top English goalscorer dough split four ways in 2012 and three ways in 2010, going for a big-priced protagonist makes financial sense.
After all, those who backed Joleon Lescott in 2012 or Matthew Upson in 2010 would have been far happier with their share of the loot than Rooney punters.
Cahill has scored more goals for Chelsea than Jagielka has for Everton in less than half the outings.
Both men rate excellent top-scorer bets, but the former Bolton and Aston Villa man’s ten top-level club goals have come from 110 outings.
It’s a far superior strike-rate to that of the Everton skipper whose nine nettings have taken 245 Toffees games to accumulate.