Euro Football

England v Montenegro: free football tips | Euro 2020 qualifying | Sport News


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Mason Mount during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier between Czech Republic and England

Justin Setterfield

Free football tips, best bets and analysis for England v Montenegro in Euro 2020 qualifying

Where to watch

ITV, 7.45pm Thursday

Best bets

England to win 4-0
1pt 13-2 BoyleSports
Mason Mount first scorer
1pt 9-1 Betfair, Betway, Paddy Power

Team news

Raheem Sterling has been overlooked for disciplinary reasons and Tom Heaton (calf), Ross Barkley (ankle) and Fabian Delph (hamstring). Jordan Henderson serves a one-match ban.

Right back Adam Marusic and midfielder Aleksandar Scekic have had to withdraw with injuries and Stefan Savic (hamstring) was not fit enough to make the original squad.

Match preview

England need one more point to stamp their passage to Euro 2020 but they will by striving to mark the occasion of their 1,000th international with a performance of style and substance and they should deliver both by brushing aside Montenegro at Wembley.

The build-up to the game has been dominated by Raheem Sterling’s bust-up with Joe Gomez and the subsequent judgement of Gareth Southgate, who decided to ditch Sterling for the Montenegro match.

There is no doubt England are weaker without the Manchester City star but they should still be far too strong for Montenegro, who have taken three points from seven games and are batting it out with Bulgaria to avoid finishing bottom of Group A.

Montenegro’s dismal campaign has continued a steady decline since they peaked 16th in the Fifa rankings in June 2011.

At the height of their powers they went close to reaching Euro 2012, losing out in the qualification playoffs with a 3-0 aggregate loss to the Czech Republic.

Those were the days when Montenegro’s high-quality strike pairing of Stevan Jovetic and Mirko Vucinic were excelling.

But Vucinic retired from international football in 2017 and Jovetic, absent from this week’s clash due to a long-term knee injury, scored the last of his 24 international goals more than two years ago.

The responsibility for scoring has transferred to Maccabi Netanya striker Fatos Beciraj, who has nine goals in 67 internationals, and Incheon United’s Stefan Mugosa (nine in 34).

The reduction of offensive quality has been dramatic with Montenegro scoring just three goals in seven Euro 2020 qualifiers.

They do not possess the necessary firepower to trouble England and look vulnerable at the back without injured Atletico Madrid centre-back Stefan Savic.

Centre-back Marko Simic is the only defender in the squad with more than ten caps, and he plies his trade in Uzbekistan’s top flight with Pakhtakor Tashkent.

It looks a weak defence on paper and they have also been weak on the pitch with Montenegro keeping just one clean sheet in their last 12 games.

They lost 5-1 at home to England in March this year despite opening the scoring with a 17th-minute goal from winger Marko Vesovic.

England’s defensive problems – six goals conceded in six qualifiers – have been the only blot on a largely positive campaign and Southgate will be eager to wrap things up with a couple of clean sheets.

However, he is unlikely to compromise the offensive nature of the team and will encourage his midfielders to get forward.

Mason Mount could be given more freedom than most to join in with attacks and should get chances to open his international goalscoring account.

The 20-year-old is Chelsea’s third-highest scorer this season with four goals in 12 Premier League games and looks overpriced to open the floodgates at Wembley.

Key stat

England have scored at least four goals in five of their six Group A fixtures.

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