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Monday, 19 November, 2018

Scotland and England to slug it out in Hampden goalfest

Old rivals do battle in crucial World Cup qualifier

England striker Harry Kane
1 of 1

World Cup qualifying Group F
ITV & Sky Sports 1, 5pm Saturday

The United Kingdom's political picture is confused but when it comes to football the majority of supporters know what they want.

For many the slow nature of international football leaves them cold, but a Scotland versus England derby usually warms the hearts and that may help lead to a high-scoring World Cup qualifier.

England ran out 3-0 Wembley winners when the nations last met and, while they are unlikely to find things quite so comfortable at Hampden Park, one aspect should remain the same.

Goals have been on the menu in all of the recent matches between the old rivals and more are likely in Glasgow.

There were three in the November showdown, four at Hampden in 2014 and five when the sides met at Wembley in 2013, which suggests this will be much more like a Premier League contest.

That is not reflected in the prices with a number of markets worth monitoring such as over 2.5 goals and both teams to score but the pick of the bunch is the 8-11 offered on over two Asian goals. This bet will win if there are three or more goals, stakes are returned for two and one or no goals will be a loser.

Scotland have got themselves back into the qualifying reckoning with a much-needed and deserved 1-0 success over Slovenia in March.

Given the circumstances - manager Gordon Strachan was under intense pressure - it was a huge performance and the Scots were unlucky to find the net only once.

The Celtic contingent of Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Stuart Armstrong, Scott Brown, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths are coming off a perfect club season, while there is an intention in Strachan's side to try to play on the front foot.

Evidence of that came in the last qualifying campaign when Germany won 3-2 at Hampden and Poland drew 2-2. Scotland are trying to extend their record of scoring in their last 12 home games.

Strachan's outfit caused England problems in the reverse fixture but defensively there is a huge question over the quality of their centre-backs which will have Harry Kane licking his lips.

Kane has won consecutive Premier League golden boot awards and could not have finished the season in better nick with eight goals in his last three Tottenham appearances, including back-to-back away hat-tricks.

It's difficult to see how Norwich's Russell Martin and Charlie Mulgrew of Blackburn can nullify Kane, never mind the runs from deeper positions of Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli.

England's five qualifiers have produced only eight goals but they had a messy start to the campaign involving a managerial change as Gareth Southgate replaced Sam Allardyce and the Three Lions have mostly been asked to break down rearguard actions.

That almost certainly won't be the case against the Auld Enemy and playing on the counter should suit Southgate's men, although England are passed over to win the match at odds-on given the derby factor as well as the hostile environment.

Recommendation
Over 2 Asian goals
2pts 8-11 bet365

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com 


Team news
Scotland
Full-back Kieran Tierney is available despite breaking his jaw last month. The Celtic man, who plays on the right for Scotland and the left at club level, will wear a gum shield as protection.

England
Nathaniel Clyne and Jamie Vardy have withdrawn from the England squad this week without being replaced.

Key stat
There has been a first-half goal in eight of the last ten meetings between Scotland and England.

Strachan's outfit caused England problems in the reverse fixture but defensively there is a huge question over the quality of their centre-backs
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