Lithuania vs England preview, betting tips and predictions: Three Lions to take the points in Vilnius
England to win with over 2.5 goals @ 15/8 with Sky Bet
England to win 2-0 @ 11/2 with Sky Bet
Draw HT/England FT @ 3/1 with Betfair
It is officially job done for England, who have qualified for the World Cup in Russia next summer after beating Slovenia at Wembley on Thursday night. Harry Kane’s 14th goal in eight games for club and country was enough to secure the points, but it came in the 93rd minute and the game was as poor as has been the case for the Three Lions of late.
Next up is a trip to Lithuania on Sunday and while the game is just a formality, England will be keen to end the qualification process on a high note. It is hard to see how any kind of performance can give hope because of the opposition; Lithuania are second from bottom in Group F with one win in nine games. On paper, there should be no problems, but Gareth Southgate’s side have struggled to break teams down in recent games, and could count themselves lucky not to have conceded against Slovenia.
The lack of creativity is a real problem for England, and with no Adam Lallana or Dele Alli against Slovenia, there was no tempo in the play. Raheem Sterling struggled to create in the number 10 role when faced by a low block, and Alli’s return from suspension is well timed, because he will be able to press higher, just as he does for Tottenham. But if England play like they have in recent games, suddenly 3/1 for a draw HT/win FT becomes great value with Betfair.
With the game meaning nothing in terms of points, naturally England’s intensity will not be there. But they do have the quality to break through even when playing poorly. Like most games against minnows, how comfortable they find the game depends on how early they score, but with the result meaning little to Lithuania, they are unlikely to chase the game at any point. Keeping the score low will be their main aim, because they can neither catch fourth placed Slovenia nor be overtaken by basement boys Malta. Harry Kane will once again be the main threat, but Alli should add a bit more flair in the middle of the park. It is hard to see a heavy victory, but 2-0 at 11/2 or even over 2.5 goals at 15/8 will be interesting bets to place in this one.
Key battle: Vladislavs Gabovs vs Dele Alli
As mentioned already, Dele Alli was sorely missed on Thursday night and the lack of creativity and tempo was a huge reason for the failure to comfortably beat Slovenia. Alli is yet to hit the form he shows for Spurs in an England shirt, but his linkup play with England teammate Kane can be devastating and will be too much for Lithuania to handle.
The hosts will play three men in midfield and Gabovs will sit deep to try and stop England playing. With Jordan Henderson and Eric Dier, there won’t be too much penetration, but Alli will be looking to play the ball forward and make runs into the box. Against Lithuania, Sterling became more involved when he moved out wide and Alli’s reintroduction will allow him to move out there.