A Look at Euro 2020 Qualifying: Kosovo v England
It’s the final match of England’s Euro 2020 qualifying campaign as they travel to Kosovo on Sunday afternoon. This tie has an advertised start time of 5.00pm and will be shown live on ITV. A massive audience is expected with many England fans making the trip to the venue while thousands more follow the live TV coverage, willing the three lions to victory.
This will be England’s final competitive outing between now and next summer when getting into the Euro 2020 proper. They will play friendlies between now and then as players battle to secure their place in the final squad and the coaching staff work on a number of tactics and formations. That’s all interesting stuff but friendlies lack the cutting edge of competitive football, especially when it comes to the betting. This is a chance for the players to go out in style and lay down a marker for next summer, showing just what they are capable of.
Opportunity for Bettors to Profit
It’s also an opportunity for sports bettors to profit from the qualifiers too and there’s no lack of betting opportunities available. Major bookmakers have foreseen the increased levels of interest in this match and reacted by offering more than 100 eye-catching markets. You can bet on the winner of Kosovo v England on Sunday or you can take your pick at one of the many specials available. These include both teams to score, total goals, handicap, first goalscorer and half time/full time.
Many of the best markets remain live and available even after the first whistle has sounded. This is thanks to in-play betting. You can get your stake money down on your favourite market anytime during the 90 minutes. Prices and handicap lines are adjusted by traders to keep pace with the scores, but you are always just one click away from an exciting bet. For example, first goal scorer becomes next goal scorer after the opener has gone in. Follow the play closely and keep your eye out for any hints and clues that may lead to a winning bet. It is then up to you to plan your attack to perfection. Act when the price is at its best but before the traders suspend betting.
Flick through the promotions pages of your favourite bookmaker before kick-off and check for any special offers that are available. Bookies, in an attempt to win your custom, will be offering several treats, including enhanced odds, money back for losers and even free bets for new customers. It is worth checking which firms have the best promotions and opening an account with them to land the welcome bonus. Bet wisely as a new customer and you could even beat the bookies with their own cash. That’s a perfect scenario.
Defeat Was Nothing More Than a Hiccup
England went into the week with their Group A stats reading five wins against one defeat. They looked on course for another perfect qualifying campaign, progressing as champions of what looked to be a competitive pile and sending out a message to their main Euro 2020 rivals by doing so as with a 100 per cent record.
The Three Lions eventually suffered their first defeat late in qualifying, however, when going down to main rivals the Czech Republic on the road. There’s never a good time to lose a qualifying game but that defeat had woeful timing as it increased the pressure on England down the home straight.
Gareth Southgate’s team went from swaggering to the finish line unchallenged to being involved in a race to the finish line against a side good enough and hungry enough to make life very difficult indeed. The Czech Republic knew they had to beat England at home and that’s exactly what they did, breathing new life into their qualifying campaign. England fans back home didn’t seem to worry too much and there was certainly no reaching for the panic button at Wembley. A perfect qualifying campaign would have been nice but there is always bumps in the road on route to a major international competition. This journey was no different.
The pressure was on the squad of players to dust themselves down and come again. They had to show the character needed to see the loss for what it was, nothing more than a hiccup in what has been an otherwise very successful campaign. Southgate didn’t feel the need to freshen things up next time out, he kept faith with his players and he was rewarded as the team bounced back to winning ways at the first time of asking. They were back on track.
England Players Keep Their Calm to Hammer Bulgaria
England’s first game back following that loss to the Czech Republic was a trip to Bulgaria which promised to be fierce, for more than one reason. The home stadium had been hit with partial and full closures in recent years due to racist behaviour of fans and we saw that ugliness show its face again when England came calling on 14 October. The match suffered a number of delays and the teams were even taken off the field by officials as the abuse aimed at England players increased.
The team kept their nerve and remained professional against a backdrop of hatred and small-mindedness. The players worked to keep their minds on the job at hand and seemed to take great delight in handing out a hammering to the Bulgarian team. At the final whistle, the scoreboard read Bulgaria 0-6 England and it could have been many more. It probably would have had it not been for the delays as players got to grips with the re-start.
Barkley scored a double, Sterling added a brace and there were also goals for Rashford and Kane. The scoreline didn’t make headlines the next morning, however. The newspapers went with the story of the racism of home fans and the need for action to stamp it out in modern sport. It was an embarrassment for Bulgaria, the Euros and football in general. Something must be done to stop it happening again and the only solution for repeat offenders is, surely, to kick them out of the sport for a period of time, until their fans learn.
What happens next will be important for FIFA and UEFA, but England deserved full credit for coming through it with the win and their reputation intact. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first time some England players had encountered this.
A Great Game Expected
Putting that shameful game to the back of our minds and we can now focus on a match that seems to have it all and promises to make headlines for very different reasons. Kosovo and England served up a cracker last time and we are confident the two teams will do their bit to ensure we have plenty to cheer on Sunday when they renew rivalries.
Kosovo is an emerging talent and has proven this to be the case with some of their performances in Group A so far. They have suffered only one defeat so far and that came against England away from home, which is very easy to forgive. They went into the week with their stats showing three wins and two draws against that one loss.
Current England vs Kosovo odds has England as favourites and you can back them to live up to expectations and sign off with a win at 4/6 with Betfair. The locals are 15/4 with the same firm and the draw can be backed at 14/5. We see the value in the level finish and we believe both sides would come out of this match happy with a share of the spoils as there’s not a lot to play for.