England vs Wales
Grudge match tonight. England were poor against the USA, there’s no denying that, but what an opportunity to bounce back as we could dump the Welsh out and send them packing.
I’ve extremely confident in a different kind of performance tonight as we’ll see the likes of Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford come into the side and they’ll be desperate to impress Southgate prior to the knockout stages. Especially Foden who’s been hard done by so far.
Wales have managed to find the back of the net just once in Qatar and even that came late from the penalty spot when Bale bagged vs the Americans. They’ve offered very little threat in front of goal and I fail to see how they cause us problems.
John Stones is simply a passing machine. He wouldn’t look out of place in a fancy possession based international side like Spain.
We opened our World Cup campaign by thrashing Iran 6-2 and no other England player registered more passes than Stones. He had a total of 117 during that match.
We played the USA in the next game, the disappointing 0-0 which fast became a game to forget. Again, John Stones had more passes than any other England player, 89 in total which is just shy of what we’re targeting tonight.
USA are a much stronger outfit than Wales in my opinion, so I expect us to dominate possession this evening and I back the England players to bounce back from the recent criticism. Especially when we have hungry players like Foden, Walker and Rashford coming in.
England and Southgate like to build their attacks from the back, and Stones and Maguire are a huge part of that. If you allow yourself to focus on them for a period of tonight’s match, you’ll find it amusing how often they pass sideaways to each other.
I’ve fallen in love with the fouls market when it comes to bet builders these days and I’ve thrown a couple of selections straight into my smaller bet for tonight.
First up, I’ve gone for Wales’ Neco Williams to make a single foul during the game. He plays on the left touchline and is likely to come up against the pace of Kyle Walker, Foden or Rashford and then someone like Saka could come on from the bench.
Williams is averaging 1.05 fouls P/90 during his time in Qatar. He’s been loving his fouls in the Premier League too this season. He’s averaging 1.58 fouls P/90 and only Ryan Yates in that Nottingham Forest squad has committed more fouls than him.
I love the big man at the back, if I’m not backing him to get his head on the end of everything, I’m backing him to have a clumsy moment and bring someone down.
Maguire’s currently averaging 1.11 fouls P/90 minutes in Qatar. He avoided committing an offence when we were in cruise control against Iran, however he went on to make a couple of fouls in the tougher task against USA.
A single foul from Maguire seems inevitable to me. Whether he’s beaten for pace on the half turn by someone like Dan James or Gareth Bale, or whether he goes into the back of Kieffer Moore when challenging for a header.