If I were an England fan, I’d be pretty grateful that Paddy Power has made their make-or-break final group game against Slovenia one of his Bore War! Money-Back Specials.
Having the reassurance of having all pre-kickoff losing First/Last Goalscorer, Correct Score and Scorecast singles refunded if the match ends 0-0 would be some compensation if you decided to give Fabio Capello’s motley crew one final chance and they didn’t deliver.
The question is, where do England go from here?
They find themselves in the, frankly embarrassing, situation of getting an early flight home if they fail to beat the Slovenians, who top their group and need only a draw to ensure progress.
Yet it’s difficult to see from where they are going to find the inspiration to raise their game above the mediocre.
Certainly the bitter, burnt-out shell that is Wayne Rooney looks ill-equipped for the job. Captain Steven Gerrard doesn’t seem to know where he’s supposed to be playing while Frank Lampard seems to have forgotten how to pass to someone in the same colour shirt.
The one saving grace for England fans is that they nearly always perform better when their backs are against the wall, but I would plead for Capello to give Joe Cole a start against Slovenia who will almost certainly shut up shop, as they did against Algeria in their first game, and hope to catch England on the break.
A player capable of the unexpected, like Cole, would give England another dimension, though I’m still not sure that the Slovenians would be capable of holding out for 90 minutes should the real England turn up.
Against the United States, Matjaz Kek’s side were all over the place defensively once the Americans started flinging high balls into their box and someone like Peter Crouch could cause mayhem if given more than his customary 10 minutes as Emile Heskey’s replacement.
England, and probably Gareth Barry in particular, will have to close down Slovenia’s key man Valter Birsa and whoever is drafted in to replace the suspended Jamie Carragher will have to get up to speed pretty quickly.
But I fancy England will just show enough to sneak a narrow win so the 11/5 for the draw at Paddy Power with Slovenia receiving a goal start is the bet.
Handicap Draw (England -1.0) – 11/5 at Paddy Power.
Kick off 15.00 BST, live on BBC One and bbc.co.uk/