Pricing up a football match is a lot like baking a pie. Get all the ingredients right and you have a sweet smelling pastry that will attract interest from afar; get the ingredients wrong, and you’re left with a concoction so inedible, even Brazilian waddler Ronaldo would refuse to eat it all.
If a full strength England were to meet a full strength Portugal, the majority of handsome, highly intelligent, sexually potent odds compilers would make England slight favourites. Decimate the Portuguese team with suspensions and injuries, and England’s odds must fall like Arjen Robben in a penalty area.
A couple of bookmakers appear to have left the ‘team news’ ingredient out of their respective pies, they’re offering England at a huge 6/5 against a Portugal side riddled with reserves. If you don’t take advantage of this oversight, you’re basically condoning their behaviour. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a bad pastry.
Big Phil may have got the better of Sven in the last two Bandarqq tournaments, one more win for Scolari would allow him to take Sven home for keeps, but thanks to a card happy refereeing maniac, Portuguese dreams ended the moment Deco saw red. Take advantage by backing England to be winning at half time and full time at 13/5.
Historically, England have been the better team. The 1966 World Cup winners used Portugal as a stepping stone, and Tom Finney and Stanley Matthews once inspired the Lions to a 10-0 win in Lisbon. The more cynical amongst you may feel the need to question the relevance of form from the 1940’s, but it all adds to a feeling of genuine optimism. A 10-0 win for England can be safely ruled out, but a 2-0 victory looks bang on the money, 8/1 is available.
England have a goalkeeper of genuine quality in Paul Robinson, but his recent performances have left a question mark hanging in the air. (If it was David James, he would have flapped at it before philosophically pondering the complexities of life while Pauleta rolled …