England vs Bulgaria – Euro 2012 Qualification – Match Preview and Betting Tips

England kicks off their Euro 2012 qualification campaign on Friday night at Wembley stadium, as they take on Bulgaria. England will be desperate to start the qualifiers with a win, as they try and put another disappointing World Cup campaign behind them. The question is whether England will rise again or whether the Bulgarians will spring a surprise and pile more misery on Fabio Capello’s men? Read on as we preview the match, predict the winner and give you the best betting tips.

England team news

John Terry and Frank Lampard both miss the game with injury and are not in the squad. Meanwhile there are concerns for Phil Jagielka and Peter Crouch, who have missed the last couple of days of training and are both rated as doubtful for the game.

Jermain Defoe is in need of an operation due to a groin injury, but has been convinced to wait until after England European qualifiers against Bulgaria and Switzerland to go under the knife. On the more positive side youngster Theo Walcott, who has already scored four goals this season for club Arsenal, is expected to start the game on the right wing.

Bulgaria Team News

Bulgaria has had a horrible form lately and is without a win in their last six games since they defeated Latvia over a year ago. Furthermore earlier in the summer former captain Dimitar Berbatov announced his retirement from international football, which means Aston Villa’s Stiliyan Petrov will be the new captain.

Manager Stanimir Stoilov has a full team to select from and former Manchester City striker Valeri Bojinov will be responsible for leading the attack in Berbatov’s absence. Meanwhile Bolton’s Martin Petrov has recovered from a minor knock to feature in the game.

Match Preview

It has been a steady decline for Bulgaria since the 1994 World Cup, when the likes of Hristo Stoichkov and Yordan Letchkov helped them reach the World Cup semi finals. Since then there has not been much new talent coming through the ranks and the loss of talisman Dimitar Berbatov is a massive blow to their qualification chances.

On the other hand England has not been at their best, but nevertheless have the quality to take all three points in the game. The injury to Frank Lampard could also be a blessing in disguise, as it frees up Steven Gerrard, who has been in great form as of late, to play in his favourite position just behind the striker. England’s players will be eager to make amends for their recent results and anything other than a comfortable win would be considered a catastrophe.

Betting Tip and Match Prediction

We predict England to win at odds 1.28 at William Hill Sport

We also predict Steven Gerrard to score the first goal in the game at odds 5.50 at William Hill Sport

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