England host Iceland in their final Nations League fixture at Wembley on Wednesday. Joe Townsend looks at the betting.
0.5pt e.w Michael Keane to score first at 25/1 (1/3 to 99)
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England v Iceland
- 7.45pm BST kick-off on Sky Sports
- Match odds: Home 1/5 | Draw 5/1 | Away 12/1
Defeat in Belgium on Sunday ended England's hopes of reaching successive Nations League finals and a late defeat for Iceland against Denmark ensured their relegation - this fixture has essentially become a friendly; ironically just the kind of contest the Nations League has been successful in helping to reduce in regularity.
It has been a truly miserable international period for Iceland, who conceded twice in the dying moments against Hungary last week to go from dreaming of a place at a third successive major tournament, to missing out on Euro 2020 completely.
For Christian Eriksen to fire in an injury-time penalty in Copenhagen two days later, just a few minutes after Erik Hamren's side thought they'd snatched a late point was simply cruel. I see no let-up for them on Wednesday night.
Iceland have lost all five of their Group A2 matches and England are strongly fancied to make it six from six at Wembley.
The Three Lions won a drab encounter 1-0 in Reykjavik in September, a match that had penalty drama by the bucket load in the closing stages. Gareth Southgate's men started that game superbly but tailed off after Harry Kane wrongly saw an early goal ruled out for offside.
Iceland had 22% possession, two shots and none on target - Birkir Bjarnason blazed over an injury-time spot-kick that would've been tantamount to daylight robbery had he scored.
The 31/40 Bet Victor are offering on England to win to nil looks a smart play. It's priced at 8/11 elsewhere.
Iceland's success over the past five years has been built upon a strong defence, but that has deserted them this season.
Only once in six matches since the reverse fixture back in September have Iceland conceded fewer than two goals. Belgium opened the floodgates by thrashing them 5-1 just a few days on from England's abject away performance, and Denmark rolled them over 3-0 too. All told it's 15 goals conceded in six games.
England have struggled to replicate their goal-scoring form of 2019 in the latest run of competitive fixtures, but when more shackles-off in friendlies with Wales and the Republic of Ireland they coasted to 3-0 wins.
Given the dead-rubber nature of this match, it's reasonable to expect that Southgate will select a team more in keeping with the starting XIs that secured those easy victories, and that he will afford them more creative license than in England's five previous Nations League fixtures.
There is simply no value in backing England too heavily though, unless you're prepared to take the over 3.5 goals option which is asking too much. Instead, I have to turn to the goalscorer markets where there are a couple of names I'm happy to back.
Tammy Abraham and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are both odds-on to find the net, but another man who will surely start is Jadon Sancho - priced at 6/4 to score anytime.
He bagged his third England goal against the Republic of Ireland last week and while he's had a stop-start campaign with Dortmund, his 22 strikes last season make that price inviting when compared with the Three Lions' other forward options.
A more starry-eyed punt comes in the shape of Michael Keane.
He and Harry Maguire are likely to start as they did last midweek when England's three centre-backs had eight shots on goal against the Republic of Ireland, with Maguire finding the net. I wouldn't blame you for backing the Manchester United to score again, with his each-way first goalscorer odds of 20/1 with bet365.
But the same bookies have Keane at 25/1, and I like those each-way odds of him adding to the three goals he's already scored for Everton this season.
Score prediction: England 3-0 Iceland (Sky Bet odd: 11/2)
Odds correct at 1400 GMT (16/11/20)
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