Steve Davies' best bets for England's international clash with Australia include a win for the Three Lions and Jarrod Bowen to score his first international goal.
Steve Davies’ best bets for England’s international showdown with Australia at Wembley include a routine win for the Three Lions – and Jarrod Bowen to score a first international goal.
England fans will love the idea of putting one over on their Aussie rivals but for Gareth Southgate this match is very definitely the undercard ahead of Tuesday’s European Championship rematch against Italy.
Australia defied the odds to reach the last 16 at the World Cup so should never be regarded as pushovers and they will be chomping at the bit to make history at the Venue of Legends.
Reshuffled Lions can give Socceroos the run-around
Southgate gets a respite from Euro 2024 with a home friendly against Australia and even though the England boss will surely make plenty of changes, the Three Lions ought to be far too strong for Graham Arnold’s men.
You take Australia lightly at your peril – we saw that at the World Cup where the knives were out for Arnold before a ball had been kicked. A few weeks later he had led them past Denmark and Tunisia into the last 16 where they gave Argentina an almighty scare in a 2-1 loss.
And in 2023 Australia have taken on their share of top-class tests with matches against Ecuador (twice), Argentina and Mexico. They have only won one – a 3-1 success over Ecuador in Sydney in March – but they were competitive in a 2-2 draw with Mexico in Texas last month.
Their problem is that big players – namely Tom Rogic, Aaron Mooy and one or two others – are either retired or unavailable and this looks like an experimental Roos’ outfit heading on to the Wembley turf.
They will be competitive, of that there’s no doubt. But this sparkling England side, packed full of attacking flair, is scoring goals for fun this year, 19 in six matches.
With an eye on Tuesday’s European Championship qualifier against Italy, Southgate is sure to mix up his selection but “second stringers” of the calibre of James Maddison, Ollie Watkins and Jarrod Bowen are absolutely world class. Back England to win and over 3.5 goals.
Bowen can take chance and land hammer blow to Aussies
The Italy game will be weighing heavily on Southgate’s thinking which means he’ll be wanting to see what the likes of Bowen and Maddison can bring.
Both have earned just four caps and both are enjoying sparkling starts to the Premier League season.
Spurs’ Maddison has two goals and five assists while Bowen has managed five goals and one assist for West Ham.
Those numbers just scream confidence and if Bowen can be finding the net against some of the best club defences in European football, then he can definitely do so against Australia.
Back England to get stronger as first half develops
England have scored 19 goals in six internationals in 2023. Nine of those 19 have been scored between the 31st minute and the half-time break and there has been an England goal in that period in each of those six matches.
Any England observer knows that often they can be a frustrating watch in the early stages of games but when they click they are electric. And if the stats are right, then we know precisely during which 15-minute bracket the switch is clicked.