The pressure is building on England manager Phil Neville ahead of Tuesday’s friendly in the Czech Republic.
His side suffered their fifth defeat in seven games at the weekend.
They only lost 2-1 at home to Germany thanks to a last-minute goal but their performance was criticised and continued a worrying trend since their semi-final run at the World Cup.
It means he really needs a result in this friendly and the Lionesses are widely expected to get it – England are heavily odds-on against a side ranked 28th in the FIFA list.
However, that is higher than Portugal, a team England struggled to beat 1-0 only last month when the only goal came from a goalkeeping howler and the hosts almost equalised late on when they hit the bar.
In short, backing England at 1/4 looks stressful business. The hosts are 15/2 and the draw 4/1.
The latter should certainly not be ruled out.
England will be without four of their best players after they left the squad on Monday.
Alex Greenwood and Jodie Taylor both picked up knocks against Germany, while captain Steph Houghton and star striker Ellen White are both rested.
The absence of Greenwood and Houghton further weakens a defence which has been particularly vulnerable on crosses – nine of their last 13 conceded have come this way.
The Czechs have a striker, Lucie Vonkova, capable of preying on those deficiencies. The Ajax forward has scored in all three Euro 2021 qualifiers so far, including against Spain, pus two in Thursday’s 4-0 win in Azerbaijan.
She’s one to look out for when the goalscorer prices go up.
In the here and now, both teams to score at 19/20 looks perfectly fair.
Six games in that seven-match run from England have seen goals at both ends and while Portugal were kept out, it was a case of only just (as shown above).
England’s defence will be makeshift and Vonkova’s threat will add to their vulnerability.
Both teams to score – 19/20 with 888sport
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