England v Andorra Prediction: Look at the late goals market
England welcome Andorra to Wembley on Sunday evening, and will look to maintain their five point lead at the top of Group I following their rout of Hungary on Thursday night.
Gareth Southgate’s side turned a potentially tricky away fixture into a fairly comfortable victory, striking four times in the second half to put the Hungarians to the sword.
Three goals in 15 minutes from Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, and Harry Maguire effectively ended the tie as a contest, before Declan Rice put the icing on the cake late on.
It was a contest that will likely be remembered for all the wrong reasons though, with Hungary fans inside the Puskás Aréna’s continuous racial abuse of England players marring the evening’s events.
The Three Lions had the perfect response though, and the image of Raheem Sterling standing defiantly as the hatred of neanderthals rained down on him is one that will live long in the memory.
Sunday’s opponents come into the game off the back of their joint-biggest win of all-time, dispatching the second-lowest ranked side in the world San Marino 2-0 at the Estadi Nacional in Andorra la Vella. It saw them pick up their first victory since 2019, when they beat 10-man Moldova 1-0 in European Championship qualifying.
Their biggest scalp of recent times was another 1-0 victory in 2017, this time against England’s opponents from Thursday night Hungary. It was their first victory over a side ranked above them in a competitive fixture for 13 years, as well as only one of seven wins in their history.
They typically employ a 5-at-the-back formation, and no doubt they will do so against England as they look to stop Gareth Southgate’s side from using the space at Wembley to create opportunities. With no official team news at the time of writing, I’ve got to assume that the side that started on Thursday evening won’t be the same one that starts against Andorra and that some of those that were on the bench could start.
It means there should be opportunities for the likes of Patrick Bamford, Jesse Lingard, Tyrone Mings, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jude Bellingham, and Bukayo Saka - who are all more than capable of producing on the international stage.
England v Andorra Tips
England v Andorra Odds
Because Andorra, understandably, aren’t at the level of a lot of other national teams in terms of fitness they concede late goals fairly often. Disregarding their recent fixtures against Gibraltar and San Marino, the Tricolours have conceded after the 83rd minute in six of their last seven games.
They allowed their opposition to score eight times in those games, with Poland and Hungary both achieving the feat in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.
England, on the other hand, have made a bit of a habit of bagging late on in major tournament qualifying games - scoring in the 83rd minute or later in six of their seven fixtures since 2019.
One man that should be in the thick of the action on Sunday evening is Andorran centre-back Marc Vales. Currently plying his trade at Sandefjord in the Norwegian Eliteserien, the defender is no stranger to finding himself in the referee’s notebook. He has booked three times in four starts for his club side this season, and has seen four yellows in his last seven competitive international starts. Somehow only one of those has been earned in World Cup Qualifying, which is surprising considering he has averaged 2.8 fouls per game in Andorra’s four matches so far.
As well as Vales, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chus Rubio getting into trouble with Greek referee Anastasios Papapetrou. The right-sided defender absolutely loves a card, to almost astronomical levels.
Rubio has picked up an unbelievable six bookings in his last seven starts for Andorra (and nine in his last 11) and will face his biggest test against an England side that hasn’t lost a World Cup qualifier since 2000.
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