The opening of a new stadium may or may not be a good enough excuse to haul the Premier League’s finest to Stockholm for a meaningless friendly but that’s exactly why Sweden and England will go through the motions tonight. Steven Gerrard will get his 100th cap while Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling and Everton’s Leon Osmon will make their debuts but expect the most interested spectators to be those managers s who didn’t quite have the heart to ask their lads to call in sick.
Draft dodgers like Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott will no doubt be watching from the comfort of their mock Tudour mansions safe in the knowledge that they’ll be back in team for the important bit next year. England won 3-2 at Euro 2012 and that scoreline is 30/1 in Paddy Power’s betting tonight.
Elsewhere, Giovanni Trapattoni has found some Irish players who might actually be able to play football and is giving them a run out
under pressure from fans, the FAI and the media to broaden his option ahead of the World Cup 2014 qualifying clash with Sweden next March.
Whether anyone learns anything from tonight is debatable but managerless Scotland sure need to impress someone against Luxembourg after two demoralising defeats that did for Craig Levein’s reign as manager.
There is some appealing football though with Holland taking on Germany in what could be a very spicy affair and Italy hosting France in a clash between two of the world’s top international teams.
And Northern Ireland look to build on their 1-1 draw away to Portugal when they face Azerbaijan at home in a World Cup qualifier.
Scott Waites shocked Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor 5-2 last night to top Group A in the Grand Slam of Darts last night. Taylor also advances to the last 16.
Mervyn King put paid to James Wade’s participation with a 5-2 win to top Group D while Arron Monk went through in second place after beating Jan Dekker 5-1.
Dean Winstanley and Kevin Painter are top dogs in Group C while Michael van Gerwen whitewashed Ted Hankey to head Group B ahead of Robert Thornton.
If the final check-out of any match is 100+ Paddy Power will refund your losing betting-in-running match bets on that game.
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Frankie Dettori faces a possible six-month ban after testing positive for a banned substance at Longchamp in September. The Italian recently split from Godolphin after 18 years and had planned to ride freelance next season.
David Pipe’s Grands Crus has hardened into 9/4 favourite for Saturday’s Paddy Power Gold Cup at this weekend’s Open meeting at Cheltenham. The Pond House trainer who won the race last year with Great Endeavour has nominated Walkon, Al Ferof and Calgary Bay for former England international Mick Channon as the main dangers.
Wednesday’s racing comes from Bangor, Exeter, Southwell, Kempton and Downpatrick.