World Cup qualifying previews, news and free bets: Tue 11 September

England enjoyed a flying start to their World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign on Friday night when beating Moldova 5-0 although a sterner test awaits on Tuesday night when Ukraine arrive at Wembley

Meanwhile, Wales will be looking to bounce back from Friday’s defeat against Belgium when they travel east to Belgrade, while Scotland are also in Group A and host Macedonia looking for a maximum haul after being thwarted by Serbia.

England v Ukraine 20:00
It was a walk in the park for the Three Lions in Chisinau, with Moldova putting up little resistance to an England side that featured several young players and there were bright performances from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Tom Cleverley.

The duo are expected to start again on Tuesday although there will be no John Terry in central defence for Roy Hodgson’s men, with the manager likely to pair Gary Cahill with Joleon Lescott against a Ukraine side that are starting a new chapter after failing to qualify from the group stage in the Euro 2012 finals.

England are a stand-out 2/5 (Paddy Power free bets) to continue their 100% unbeaten start to qualifying and it will be interesting to see how Oxlade-Chamberlain reacts to his public dressing down from Hodgson who felt that the youngster dozed off in the second half against the Moldovans before being substituted.

Frank Lampard certainly delivered an assured performance and even seemed to forge a fruitful midfield partnership with Steven Gerrard, with the Chelsea midfielder on offer at 13/2 (bet365 £200 free bets) to score the first goal of this particular game.

Perhaps Cleverley is the value bet for First Goalscorer at 14/1 considering he is going to play in an advanced position against the Ukrainians, with the visitors playing their first qualifying match of the campaign and they would be surely happy with a draw from this match.

Andriy Shevchenko has retired after 17 years of international football and manager Oleh Blokhin must now put his faith in younger players such as Andriy Yarmolenko, with the visitors still feeling a sense of injustice after seeing a rightful goal not awarded against England in the Euro 2012 finals.

Ukraine are a 9/1 chance to claim three points and the draw at 15/4 looks overpriced considering that England are missing key players such as Ashley Cole, John Terry and Wayne Rooney. The Three Lions are often stifled at home and it would be no surprise to see this happen again.

Scotland v Macedonia 20:00
Scotland manager Craig Levein dismissed Saturday’s match against Serbia as must-win, although a failure to get three points from Tuesday night’s contest would leave his team with a tall order when it comes to qualifying for the 2014 World Cup finals.

This might be a wide-open group although a victory for either Belgium or Croatia in Brussels would mean one team already has six points on the board and the Scots can’t afford not to win their matches at Hampden Park.

Scotland are big favourites at 4/5 (William Hill bookmaker) although they failed to create many chances of note against Serbia, with Levein resisting the urge to field Jordan Rhodes until ten minutes left on the clock. The manager later admitted that changes should have been made sooner and perhaps there will be changes this time around.

Rhodes is a 9/2 chance (BetVictor) to score the first goal of the game and is clearly the fan’s choice to start in attack although Levein is not someone to bow down to popular opinion and Kenny Miller can be backed at 5/1 to break the deadlock.

As for Macedonia, this is a team that claimed a goalless draw at Wembley when facing England in Euro 2012 qualifying and they forced their way into a play-off for the finals, while a narrow 1-0 defeat in Croatia on Friday suggests they will be hard to break down.

Ladbrokes go 4/1 about the visitors and, while they won’t commit many players forward, the 5/2 about the draw looks far more appealing than the odds-on quote about Scotland.

Serbia v Wales 19:30
Novi Sad is the setting for Tuesday’s match between teams that dropped points on Friday, with Wales losing at home to Belgium and the Serbians stumbling to a draw in Scotland.

The Welsh actually played well against the Belgians in Cardiff before James Collins committed an inexplicable lunge and Chris Coleman will once again ensure that the Dragons are well organised for this encounter, hoping that his players can keep their discipline.

They are a big price at 15/2 (BetVictor) to win against a Serbia team who aren’t blessed with quality throughout the team despite being captained by Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. In attack, they appear particularly light and Wales won’t be too daunted by the task that faces them.

Serbia are likely to be a popular wager at odds of 1/2 to claim three points although the bottom line is that none of their forward players have an international goal to their name, with Darko Lazović potentially the man who can find the net for the home side.


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