Andorra vs England: Back a late goal as the Three Lions travel to minnows for World Cup qualifier
We’re just over a month removed from the reverse of this game, as a late flurry of goals saw England pick up a comfortable 4-0 victory over these opponents at Wembley.
The win, which was succeeded by a 1-1 draw in Poland, helped to solidify England’s position at the top of Group and means the European Championship finalists need just eight points to secure their place in Qatar next winter.
Andorra on the other hand, with no chance of qualification, will be hopeful that their 2-0 defeat of San Marino last month is enough to keep them off the bottom of this group.
They gave as good as they got in their most recent fixture, a 2-1 defeat against Hungary in Budapest, and will look to push Southgate’s side all the way at the Estadi Nacional.
Their tenacity and desperation to be competitive can often be their downfall though, and has seen them in trouble several times already throughout this competition.
The Tricolours have committed the most fouls (126) and have received the most bookings (21) of any of the 53 sides competing in the UEFA qualifiers, and have staggeringly made 34 more fouls than any other nation.
Andorra vs England Tips
It means the all-female referee team, a revolutionary first for a senior England match, might have their hands full dealing with the home side.
The official taking charge of the game is Ukrainian Kateryna Monzul, who has given 91 yellows and 12 reds in 23 games since the start of last season - including four sendings off in four Premier Liga matches this term.
As mentioned above, discipline has been a real problem for Koldo Alvarez’s side, who will be without Albert Alavedra, Marcio Vieria, and Moises San Nicolas for the visit of the Three Lions - who are expected to make a plethora of changes themselves.
It could mean first starts of the qualifiers for Serie A duo Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori; whilst Jesse Lingard, Ben Chilwell, and James Ward-Prowse are all expected to feature - with Gareth Southgate looking to protect his starters from Andorra’s plastic pitch.
Andorra vs England Odds
Somehow, this line has come down from the 83rd minute to the 79th minute so we backed it in the reverse fixture. It’s quite frankly baffling, considering there were 78th and 84th minute goals in that game and both sides saw late goals in the matches they played after that. England conceded a 92nd minute equaliser at the Stadion Narodowy, whilst Andorra actually scored an 82nd minute consolation in Budapest.
It means the hosts have seen a goal after the 79th minute in eight of their last nine games (excluding those against minnows San Marino and Gibraltar), whilst England have seen a late goal in eight of their last nine major tournament qualifiers.
Given Andorra’s propensity for a card and a foul, it’d be remiss not to target that in a game where the odds for anything else are pretty depressing.
The Tricolours were handed six bookings in the reverse fixture, and have picked up three or more in four of their five qualifiers against sides ranked higher than themselves - and can probably count themselves lucky not to have received more than two when making 22 fouls against Poland. That’s slightly higher than their tournament average of 21 per game, which should be more than enough for England to see at least 13 free-kicks.
Rubio was one of six Andorran players to be booked when his nation visited Wembley and it came as no surprise.
He has now picked up a mind-boggling seven bookings in his last eight starts for Andorra (and 10 in his last 12) and will not enjoy an evening of stalking some of England’s more creative players.
Alongside Rubio, Marc Vales is no stranger to finding himself in the referee’s notebook. He has been carded in five of his last eight competitive internationals, as well as picking up four bookings in eight starts for club side Sandefjord.
As well as Vales, Pujol is another Marc that I could see being booked on Saturday. The veteran - who made his debut for the national team when Jude Bellingham was a one-year-old - also loves a foul.
In his last five competitive international starts, he’s committed 20 fouls (4 per game) and earned two bookings - as well as picking up another card in a substitute appearance against Hungary earlier this year.
He’ll have a lot of work to do if he starts and, at 39-years-old, I expect that he won’t be able to keep up with England’s creative players - which should lead to one or two rash challenges.
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