England welcome San Marino to Wembley Stadium on Thursday night as they go head to head in the first World Cup Qualifier.
Tom Pearce, Wednesday Picks predictor (@tompearce97)
This will be the seventh meeting between the two countries, the first coming in a World Cup Qualifier in 1993 in which England won 6-0.
Possibly the most memorable game between England and San Marino was when England needed to win by seven goals to qualify for the World Cup.
They got off to the worst possible start as a Davide Gualtieri put the ball past David Seaman after just eight seconds, The Three Lions went on to win 7-1 but it wasn’t enough.
How will Thursday’s game play out?
England Team News & Injuries
John Stones, Jesse Lingard and Luke Shaw will be hoping to make a return to the England starting XI whilst after a while of not being called up.
Jude Bellingham was allowed to meet up with the squad so he will be looking to make an appearance whilst Ollie Watkins will be hoping to come off the bench after being called up for the first time in his career.
San Marino Team News & Injuries
One of the big talking points when the two sides meet is how San Marino’s side is made up with part-time footballers.
Nicola Nanni is the one player who plays at a high level as he is on the books at Serie-A club Crotone, whilst the scorer of San Marino’s last goal back in 2019 finds himself playing in the Italian Third Division.
Our Picks for Wednesday Picks – England V San Marino
1. How many goals will England score? 4+
The quality of players between the two sides is always going to play a huge part in Thursday’s game, and it has done so in the past.
England have scored more than four goals every time they have come up against San Marino, beating them 6-0 in the last meeting.
Gareth Southgate is without some of his usual attackers, such as Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish, but he still has plenty of quality forwards to pick from.
The visitors have conceded 20 goals in their last five away games, averaging four goals against per game on the road.
2. How many corners will England be awarded? 4+
The Three Lions have been awarded four corners from the six competitive games they’ve played this season, averaging 5.5 corners per game.
In fact, they have won more than four corners in each of those six games, including the two games against the tough opposition in Belgium.
Its been a long time since the two sides met, five years in fact, and in that game England were awarded seven corners.
3. Will England score a penalty? No
Southgate’s men have been awarded three penalties from their last 10 games, with two of them coming at Wembley.
However, If they are to be awarded a penalty it’s likely that Harry Kane would stick it away.
Meanwhile, in San Marino’s last 10 games, they have conceded four penalties, half of them coming in away games.
4. Will England score in: 15-29
With no disrespect to San Marino, England could score in all of the 15 minute time periods in Thursday’s game.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see The Three Lions score between the 15th and 29th minutes, though.
They have found the net on seven occasions during that time, totaling 29% of their goals from the last 10 games.
Similarly, San Marino have conceded seven goals between those time periods. That’s 21% of their goals conceded in the last 10.
5. How many shots on target will England have? 4+
It’s likely going to be a dominant performance from The Three Lions, especially in an attacking sense.
In the six competitive games this season, Southgate’s side have hit the target 27 times, averaging 4.5 shots on goal per game.
Meanwhile, San Marino have played four competitive games this campaign, but the opposition wouldn’t have been as strong as England.
In those four matches, they faced seven shots on their goal. That’s an average of just 1.75 shots on target against per game.
6. How many tackles will England make? 6+
England will more than likely see most of the ball, the last time they met they had 74% possession.
The thing is, will England have to win it back often or will they be gifted the ball back from clearances or long balls?
However ,when you look at when England played Iceland last November, they had 78% possession and made seven tackles.
In England’s six competitive games, they had won 28 tackles, averaging 4.66 tackles won per game.
- Will Marcus Rashford score? Yes
- Will Bukayo Saka assist a goal? No
- How many tackles will Kalvin Phillips make? 0
- Will Dominic Calvert-Lewin score? Yes
- Will Ollie Watkins score? No
- How many tackles will Harry Maguire make? 0
- How many tackles will Tyron Mings make? 1
- How many shots on target will Mason Mount have? 2
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