England step up their preparations for next month’s home European Championships with a friendly against reigning champions the Netherlands. Michael Beardmore provides a preview and best bets.
1pt Vivianne Miedema to score anytime at 2/1 (Sky Bet)
1pt Netherlands to win at 21/10 (Betfair)
You cannot accuse England of hand-picking easy warm-up games for the upcoming Euros as they welcome reigning champions the Netherlands to Elland Road for the Lionesses’ penultimate friendly prior to the tournament.
England, of course, will be hoping their Dutch manager Sarina Wiegman can do for them this summer what she did for her homeland five years ago – namely lead them to European Championship glory in their own backyard.
Prior to that 2017 triumph, Holland had achieved relatively little in the women’s game – they did finish third at the 2009 Euros but failed to qualify for the nine preceding instalments and have reached just two World Cups, the most recent two to be played.
But they followed up the Euros win by finishing runners-up to the USA at the 2019 World Cup and are, without doubt, one of the sport’s modern powers.
They also, of course, boast one of the world’s greatest goalscorers in the form of Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema, a player who will be well known to – and feared by – the England defenders on show.
She has 92 goals in 108 caps for her country but is far from their only threat – PSG’s Lieke Martens has 54 international goals and Ajax’s Sherida Spitse 43, while former Arsenal pair Jill Roord and Danielle van de Donk are dangers too.
Nonetheless, none of those players even comes close to Miedema’s goal ratio and the 2/1 Sky Bet offer on MIEDEMA TO SCORE ANYTIME is simply too inviting to turn down.
England head into the game on the back of a comfortable 3-0 win over Belgium but this is a big step up for the Lionesses – and their record against fellow elite countries is poor, with the Covid-enforced absence of Ellen White unlikely to aid their cause.
In their past 13 matches against fellow top-15 sides in the world rankings, England’s record is W2 D2 L9 – and that makes the 21/10 on the undoubtedly talented NETHERLANDS TO WIN leap out.
It is, of course, a friendly, so caution must be advised with the teamsheets definitely worth a look – but if the Dutch take this game seriously, they and star turn Miedema are certainly the value plays.
Score prediction: England 1-2 Netherlands (Sky Bet odds: 17/2)
Odds correct 1330 BST (23/06/22)
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