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Win over Norwayw ould justpa per overthecracks.

T WOweekstogountil thestartofthe European Championshipsand RoyHodgsongetsa firstlookattheplayerswhoare goingtoflytheflagfor England.

Asp reparationsforamajor finalsgo,thisisaboutas shambolicasyoucouldaskfor .

EnglandheadtoNorway tonightandtheproblemfor Hodgsonisthathe'llbe terrifiedoftakingriskswith anyinjuries,scaredofmaking anyobviousblundersandhe'll pickasafeandsolidteamthat probablywon'tlosebutwilldo nothingtoliftEnglish supporters'morale.

My money's on a 1-0 win, thegoalprobablycominginthe firsthalfbeforeaglutof substitutionsconfusethe situation.

IfancyHodgsonwillemploy afive-manmidfieldwith StevenGerrardattheheadof it, supporting a lone striker, whichisthewayHodgsonwill gointhefirsttwoRooney-less gamesofthechampionship.

IsGerrarduptothatrole?I don'tthinkheisanymore.

Gerrardis32nextweek, undermorepressurenowthat he'sgotthecaptain'sarmband andhascomeoffaseasonin whichhisclubsidewaspoor andinwhichhescoredonly eightgoals,oneofhislower returnsforacampaign .

DefensivelyI'dbeless concernedaboutEngland especiallysinceNorwaydon't offermuchofathreat,butas anexercisetwoweeksbefore thefinals,it'sodds-onthatthis matchwillthrowupmore questionsthananswers-and timeisn'tonHodgson'ssideto sortitoutbeforethefinals.

GiovanniTrapattonihasa differentproblemtoresolveas hep reparesforI reland's friendlyagainstBosnia.

He'sgotinjurytroublesand thatmeansacompletely no-riskstrategyagainstthe Bosnians.

It'salsowhyBosniaare worthapuntat16-5. Therecan'tbeanawfullot betweenthesecountrieson paper-Irelandreachedthe play-offsforEuro2012after finishingsecondintheirgroup andBosniadidexactlythe same.Trapgotluckywiththe play-offdraw,butBosnia didn't.Youalwaysworryabout anawayteaminasummer friendly-thisreallydoes satisfytheclicheofateam havingnothingtoplayfor .

ButIrelandareonadamagelimitationoutingandthat makesthemvulnerable.

Theyarealreadywithout JohnO'Shea,RichardDunne andSeanStLedger,three mainstaysofthedefence.

AndShayGiven,theirone true,world-classplayer,isalso absentthroughinjur y. There areoneortwootherscarrying nigglesandnow'snotthetime tobetakingchances .

Onethingyoudonotice abouttheBosniasquadisthat it'sfullofdecentplayers-Edin Dzeko, MirolemPranjicand ZvjezdanMisimovicstandout- andiftheyareoffthey 'llbe hardtobeat.

TONY'S TIPS England tow in1-0 1pt13-2 general Bosnia 1pt16-5 Ladbrokes

CAPTION(S):

TheIrelanddefencecouldhavetheirhandsfulldealingwithManchesterCity'sEdinDzeko hent eyfaceBosniatonight
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:May 26, 2012
Words:141
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