When Ottmar Hitzfeld was given the Swiss managerial post, I’m sure he didn’t expect things to go quite so badly wrong, with the retirement from international football of several senior players, he’s been left with a young squad, lacking in international experience. His squad selection for Saturdays match against England contains only one player over the age of 30 and a whole host of youngsters to play up front. Their poor results in this qualifying campaign has left them 6 points behind Saturdays opponents and things don’t look like getting any better against an England side who can take a huge step closer to qualifying for Euro 2012 with a win in this match.
Overall this is not a side that England should be afraid of even though they are missing a host of established forwards as well. With the recent withdrawal of Jermaine Defoe, the suspension of Wayne Rooney and the continued absence of Michael Owen from the squad, England are left to field what is expected to be a makeshift front line, Aston Villa’s Darren Bent is expected to spearhead a front three with club colleague Ashley Young playing on the left and Arsenal’s Theo Walcott attacking from the right. Fulham striker Bobby Zamora is unlikely to be risked having only recently returned from a long lay-off and Tottenham’s Peter Crouch hasn’t been in the kind of goalscoring form that makes him likely to be a starter.
Although a front three looks to be an attacking lineup, the Swiss side does have a sprinkling of talent in their defence and with Jack Wilshere recently admitting to feeling tired, after a long campaign where he was not expected to feature as heavily as he has, a lack of any replacements capable of regularly unlocking defences may mean that England could struggle to break down the Swiss side.
With Rio Ferdinand expected to play his first game for England since being relieved of the captaincy, Englands defence shouldn’t be too worried by a Swiss forward line led by Eren Derdiyok, at 22, Switzerlands oldest striker selected for this match.
When looking at the betting for this match, it’s tempting to go for an England win but the value isn’t really there a best price of 1.4 with William Hill. Instead I’m looking at the half-time score market with a half-time draw currently available at 2.63 with BetFred. Also, in what I expect to be a low scoring second half, odds of 2.9 (BWin) for a solitary goal to be scored certainly look tempting. Maybe the real value lies in a half-time/fulltime selection of Draw/England at 4.4 with UniBet.