Saturday International preview – England vs Malta

October 08, 2016 17:00pm – Wembley Stadium

World Cup Qualifying – Group F

Recent Form (All competitions)

England: WLDWD

Malta: LDLLD

England will start the second game of their World Cup qualifying campaign under the guidance of interim boss Gareth Southgate on Saturday when they host 176th-ranked Malta at Wembley.

As Sam Allardyce disappears into the distance with a black cloud hanging over his head – and the dubious distinction of being the only England manager to maintain a 100% win ratio – the FA has called upon to the former U-21 boss to step in and steady the ship.

Southgate will take charge for four games and could even land the job on a full time basis if he excels during his spell as supply teacher. His first task will be to oversee what should be a routine win on home soil against one of Europe’s lowest ranked teams.

Big Sam’s perfect England record was secured with a 1-0 in Slovakia last time out. The game looked to be heading to a draw when Liverpool’s Adam Lallana struck with virtually the last kick of the game to snatch all three points for the Group F favourites.

Anything other than a comfortable win would be seen as a disaster for the Three Lions and all eyes will be on the team sheet to see if the new boss hands a starting berth to Captain Wayne Rooney. The Manchester United man has faced criticism for his recent performances – a fact that was not helped by Allardyce’s declaration that Rooney plays “wherever he wants.” The 30-year-old will be keen to show he can still cut it at this level and this is the type of game in which he could dominate if selected.

With a potential full-time job up for grabs, Gareth Southgate may opt to play it safe, but this game might be a good opportunity to give the likes of Marcus Rashford a run out. Jordan Henderson and Lallana’s have been in fine form at club level and should start, while the same can be said for Raheem Sterling.

Malta last met England at Wembley way back in 1971 when Alf Ramsey’s men ran out 5-0 winners. Since then, they have not played a competitive match; however, they did meet in a friendly game in Ta’Qali back in 2000, which England won 2-1.

Malta have an abysmal record in World Cup qualifying, having won just one win of their last 53 matches. Their last win in any competitive match was a 1-0 triumph in Armenia during their failed Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. That result marked their competitive win on the road since 1993.


England will be expected to hammer the Group F minnows and there is nothing to suggest that will not be the case.

You can back England -4 in the Handicap market at 21/20 with Betfair.

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