CARD KING Gavin Murphy (@GamePlanGavin) earmarks the bookings value for England’s opening Euro 2016 contest against Russia on Saturday night.
England v Russia | Saturday 20.00 | ITV1
England have some unwelcome European Championship memories of Russia to overcome as they start their 2016 campaign in Marseille.
Russia got the better of England in qualifying for Euro 2008, finishing second in the group behind Croatia, who won 3-2 at Wembley in their final qualifier to eliminate Steve McClaren’s team.
In the two direct confrontations, England won 3-0 at Wembley thanks to a couple of Michael Owen goals but lost 2-1 in Moscow. Substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko scored twice after England had led 1-0, through Wayne Rooney, at half-time.
Nicola Rizzoli of Italy gets the whistle for the 2016 fixture. He averaged a surprisingly low 2.60 cards-per-game at Euro 2012 and the bookies don’t expect many cards here.
England averaged 1.50 cards-per-game in their qualifiers and Russia just 1.10 cards-per-game.
In limited career games officiating the Three Lions Rizzoli averages 1.33 cards-per-game and 1.50 cards-per-game when covering the Russians.
The Italian dished out two cautions in his opening match in 2012 and something similar is expected in this battle.
These two teams had the two lowest cards-per-game counts in the qualification phase. England matches averaged 29.5 bookings points and Russia the next lowest on 30.6 bookings points.
England v Russia – Under 3.5 Cards on the Asian line (2.05 Bet365)