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Euros preview: Sunday’s action including Serbia vs England

Serbia vs England

Football

Euros preview: Sunday’s action including Serbia vs England

Euros preview: Sunday’s action including Serbia vs England

Poland vs Netherlands

Poland have arrived here the hard way, after a qualification campaign that included defeat to Moldova, currently ranked 153rd in the world.

That low point came under Fernando Santos, but the Portuguese coach was replaced by Michal Probierz in September 2023; under Probierz, Poland did enough to make the playoffs, ultimately edging out Wales on penalties in the final.

So can the Poles make a decent fist of things now? Well, they find themselves in a group with France, Austria and the Netherlands; it’s going to be tough.

True, the side do have a legendary goal scorer in Robert Lewandowski. But not for this match, with the Barca striker set to miss Poland’s opener with a thigh injury.

As for the Netherlands, they might not be one of the likeliest contenders for Euro glory. But they should have what it takes to make it past a middling Poland side missing their most talismanic player.

Ronald Koeman can count on the likes of Memphis Depay and Cody Gakpo up front, while captain Virgil van Dijk should provide the defensive solidity.

With the Dutch side having scored 19 goals across their last five matches, it could pay to combine Netherlands to win and over 2.5 goals in a double at 27/20.

Slovenia vs Denmark

These teams have already met in the qualifying process. The first encounter ended in a 1-1 draw, before Denmark claimed 2-1 victory in the second meeting.

Slovenia did enjoy an eye-catching 2-0 win over Portugal back in March, so it could be a mistake to write off Matjaz Kek’s side.

The Slovenians have at least one standout player in the form of goalkeeper Jan Oblak, who has spent the last decade with pragmatists par excellence Atletico Madrid. Perhaps Diego Simeone’s playbook will come in handy, as the side look to move beyond the group stage.

The Danes may have eventually got the better of Slovenia in qualifying. But perhaps more relevantly, Denmark also made it as far as the Euro 2020 semi-finals last time.

Even so, they’ve sometimes looked fairly humdrum in the qualifiers. Though Kasper Hjulmand’s side improved in later games, a 3-2 defeat to Kazakhstan in March 2023 definitely raised some eyebrows.

Backing Benjamin Sesko to find the net for Slovenia could be a decent approach. The 21-year-old Sesko has just scored 14 league goals for RB Leipzig in his debut season, finding the net in each of his last seven appearances for the Bundesliga side.

Sesko is 18/5 to find the net at the Stuttgart Arena. Along the same lines for Denmark, Manchester United’s Rajmus Hojlund will be hoping to get off to a strong start. Hojlund scored seven goals in the qualifiers – including one against Slovenia – and is 9/5 to score here.

Serbia vs England

Serbia won just four of their eight qualifying matches to arrive at this point. Perhaps it’s hard to see them as much of a threat – but longtime followers of England will view those words with healthy scepticism.

In the past, the Three Lions have come a cropper against teams they’ve been expected to overcome. Like Iceland, for instance.

That tiny nation knocked England out of the Euros in 2016. So perhaps it’s a tad alarming that they also turned Gareth Southgate’s side over 1-0 in a friendly a week ago.

In terms of Serbia’s most threatening players, the likes of Dusan Tadic and Aleksandar Mitrovic will be familiar to Premier League fans.

The former Southampton man Tadic is 35 now, though, while one-time Fulham striker Mitro moved to the Saudi Pro league last season. He did find the net against Sweden last time out, but drew blanks in the five previous appearances before that.

Otherwise, Juventus’ Dusan Vlahovic scored 16 goals in 27 league appearances for the Old Lady last season. He’s failed to find the net for Serbia in his last six appearances, though.

If England are halfway good, they should beat Dragan Stojkovic’s side then. But even with England having generally performed well during the Southgate era, it’s not all been cake and ale.

The Three Lions drew 0-0 with Scotland at the Euros three years ago. And when England played the USA at the 2022 World Cup, it finished goalless on that occasion too.

On the other hand, England made it to the final of this tournament three years ago and might have won if the side had opted to go for it, rather than sit back and protect a lead against Italy. Maybe Southgate has learned his lesson.

He certainly has the tools at his disposal to go for it. This current iteration of England are blessed with great midfield and attacking players in the likes of Harry Kane, Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka.

Defensively they look less formidable, but perhaps that’s a problem for another day. England should win their opener; and with eight of Serbia’s last 10 matches seeing at least three goals scored, there could be a few goals in store on Sunday night. Back England to win and over 2.5 goals at 5/4.

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