Gareth Southgate’s England travel to take on minnow Malta on Friday evening, with the Three Lions hoping to maintain their unbeaten record in Group F. Four wins from six encounters have left England top of the group, two points ahead of Slovakia. Malta have lost all six of their encounters so far, making the away side the firm favourites for victory.
World Cup 2018 Qualifying – Ta’ Qali National Stadium, Attard – Friday 31st August – 19:45 UK Time
Best Odd of: 70 at Ladbrokes
Best Odd of: 12 at Sky Bet
Best Odd of: 1/20 at Ladbrokes
Match Preview: Malta vs England
Malta’s players will certainly have to produce the performance of their lives if they are to get anything from Friday’s encounter. Gareth Southgate has made a good start to life as England boss, with England having conceded just two goals from their six matches to date in Group F. With Malta having conceded 15 goals during the same period, an away win is certainly the favourite result with the bookmakers in the build up to the game.
Malta Team News & Form
Italian Head Coach Pietro Ghedin has been in charge of Malta since 2012, with his side having shown little signs of development throughout the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign. With the majority of his playing squad being based in Malta, it is perhaps little surprise that they struggle to compete with Europe’s big boys. Former Coventry City striker Michael Misfud is still a key player for Malta despite being at the end of his career, with Luton Town’s Luke Gambin and Ebbsfleet United’s Sam Magri among their star performers.
England Team News & Form
With Wayne Rooney having announced his retirement from international football, the emphasis is now even more on Tottenham striker Harry Kane. Despite having failed to open his Premier League account for Spurs as of yet, Kane already has eight goals for England to his name.
With the likes of Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford potentially lining up alongside him, the trio are set to cause Malta a whole host of problems in the final third of the field. Meanwhile, the likes of Nathaniel Chalobah and Harry Maguire could be in line to make their England debuts in Malta on Friday. Having drawn with neighbours Scotland last time out, England will be looking to return to winning ways against a team who have failed to register a single point as of yet in Group F.
Head to Head
England and Malta have met on four previous occasions, with the Three Lions having won each time. However, the encounters between the duo have generally been close, with England coming out on top by two goals to nil at Wembley back in October last year. Meanwhile, back in 2000, England came out on top in a friendly encounter between the two teams, with a 2-1 scoreline.
Betting Odds and Predictions
With odds of 1/20 on from William Hill unlikely to entice many punters into placing bets, looking at other markets surrounding this match is a must. Backing England to win both the first and second half is one option available, with Ladbrokes offering odds of 3/10 for this market.
Elsewhere, given the fact that England have conceded just two goals so far in Group F, backing them to keep a clean sheet is also recommended. 10Bet offer odds of 2/7 for this market, which is well worth considering.
Top Betting Tip
Despite this, our top betting tip for the match is to England to win, as well as over 3.5 goals being scored, which can be found at best odds of 5/6 at Ladbrokes.