James Moore: Losing streak (18/06/10)

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The Independent Football

Today's bets

Steven Gerrard to score first at 7-1 (Paddy Power)

I might be incredibly dense (it's been said in certain quarters) but I can't see why Stevie G is only the fifth favourite to break the deadlock against Algeria.

With suggestions that the only Englishman to hit the back of the net so far could take a more forward role against Group C's weakest team the best price 7-1 (Paddy Power and others at the time of writing) looks to offer attractive value.

Gerrard (right) scores nearly once every four games, only a little behind Jermain Defoe's strike rate and almost on a par with Frank Lampard's as well. Unlike the other two, however, he doesn't seem to suffer from "white shirt syndrome".

His strike rate is about the same as it is with Liverpool. By contrast, neither Lampard (who's helped by taking penalties) nor Defoe come anywhere close to replicating the goalscoring prowess they've shown for their respective clubs when turning up for international duty.

Wayne Rooney is the deserved favourite at 3-1 and one would hope his colleagues would find a way of getting him more involved in the game with the provision of a bit more service. The Algerians don't, after all, have the United States' truly stunning midfield that might worry... well, the Chileans on a good day?

But that price is anything but generous. By contrast, the 7-1 on offer for Gerrard when compared to the 11-2 against Peter Crouch and the 6-1 widely available against Lampard and Defoe looks like something of a steal.

Goals (remember them?) appear to have made something of a comeback in the last couple of days as the group phase enters its second match and teams find they either can't afford to play cagily or have a result in the bag to get them over first-match nerves.

England have a habit of flattering to deceive with the odd stellar performance during international tournaments, and they really need to blow Algeria away: goal difference could prove crucial if they want to avoid Germany (and after watching that Aussie game, they really want to avoid Germany).

Fabio Capello's side have shown the ability to score against weaker teams, even if they don't always look good. A correct score of 3-0 (7-1, Blue Square) therefore makes some appeal. Is 4-0 (14-1, same bookie) too optimistic?