England may be held by Czech Republic

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ENGLAND ARE odds-on to beat the Czech Republic in Wednesday's friendly at Wembley, but Glen Hoddle uses these games to experiment and, with key players missing, a draw could be on the cards. The Czech Republic have been a disappointment since they took Germany into extra time before succumbing only to an Oliver Bierhoff golden goal in the final of Euro 96. However, they have, in Patrick Berger and Karel Poborsky, a couple of useful midfielders, and it could be a mistake to dismiss them.

Few cricket enthusiasts will be surprised to learn Australia are a best- priced 1-3 to win the Ashes series. Australia are also 8-11 for the first Test and it is hard to envisage anything other than a win for the hosts.

Bookmakers, wary of larcenous liberos, filching full-backs, and greedy goalkeepers conspiring to fix games, do not accept single bets on League matches that are not broadcast live on television.

But anyone wanting to place such a wager can get around this because the bookies, presumably thinking footballers lack the wit to manipulate an entire game, do allow punters to place half-time-full-time combination bets on single games.

In Saturday's The Price Is Right column in The Sweeper, punters were advised to place a pounds 5 single win bet on Roma at 8-5 (return pounds 13) to beat Juventus, a bet rendered void when Channel 4 switched from live coverage to highlights. Punters could have got around this by proportionally backing the half time-full time combinations of Roma-Roma (pounds 2.89 at 7-2), draw- Roma (pounds 2 at 11-2), and Juventus-Roma (45 pence at 28-1). For an additional investment of 34p (37p including tax), the same pounds 13 return would have been guaranteed.


England 4-6 8-13 8-15 8-11

Draw 9-4 9-4 12-5 11-5

Czech Republic 7-2 4-1 9-2 10-3



Australia 1-3 2-9 1-4 1-4 1-4

Draw 4-1 9-2 4-1 9-2 9-2

England 5-1 7-1 7-1 7-1 13-2



Australia 4-6 8-11

Draw 7-4 7-4

England 11-2 5-1

C Coral, H William Hill, L Ladbrokes, S Stanley, T Tote