Best Bets: Bulgaria v England

Back Rooney to net in Sofia

After a flying start to their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, England have stuttered a touch in their last three Group G games, winning just one of them in Wales, and drawing at home to both Switzerland and Montenegro.

Nevertheless, Fabio Capello’s men remain top of the group on goal difference and are strong favourites at 4/6 with Ladbrokes to consolidate that position by collecting maximum points from Friday night’s meeting with Bulgaria in Sofia.

The hosts are Coral’s 11/2 outsiders but as they have managed just one win in their five qualifiers, scoring only twice in the process, they look up against it, even though some punters might fancy Betfred’s 11/4 for England to be held to another frustrating stalemate.

Knowing that they are not far from booking their place in next year’s tournament, the Three Lions should emerge triumphant and although a repeat of their 4-0 triumph from the corresponding fixture at Wembley appears unlikely (priced at 28/1 by Sportingbet), England can again prevail ‘to nil’, an outcome Betsson price at 8/5.

Betfred chalk Capello’s troops up at 5/1 to grab the only goal, and with Bulgaria looking a touch more solid since appointing Lothar Matthaus as coach, they can make England wait for the breakthrough, so a case can be made for Totesport’s 10/3 posted against an away win following a drawn first half.

Elsewhere, Sportingbet rate an England success via a one-goal margin at 11/5, while Totesport offer 4/6 about the contest producing fewer than three goals.

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Boylesports rate the chances of the first goal being scored after the 27th minute at even money.

That opener is 7/2 (Stan James) to be scored by Wayne Rooney, who joins up with his country in confident mood following his hat-trick for Manchester United in their 8-2 win over Arsenal on Sunday.

Ashley Young, meanwhile, also notched twice in United’s emphatic triumph against the Gunners, and Centrebet rate the former Aston Villa man a 5/2 shot to find the net at any time in Sofia.

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