- Match Analysis
Three Lions can seal World Cup qualification with win over Slovenia
Gareth Southgate’s team can qualify for the 2018 World Cup with a win, although it won’t be easy against a side very much in need of the three points themselves to keep their dreams of going to Russia alive.
Slovenia are one of the strongest defensive teams in international football. They boast Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak between the sticks – a genuinely world class goalkeeper behind a solid backline.
Back in October 2016, Slovenia frustrated England and held them to a 0-0 draw in Ljubljana. They have only conceded twice in their last 6 matches, and have kept 8 clean sheets in their last 11.
Still, at Wembley we think that England will be too strong. It will be close, but the Three Lions will dominate and should make the breakthrough in front of their own fans given what is at stake.
It has been five years since England failed to win a competitive match at Wembley. In Harry Kane they have a forward in inspired form, and when he gets chances he tends to put them away.
Kane scored 11 goals for Tottenham in the month of September alone and has 5 in his last 4 for England. He is now the talisman and star of the team, and will be the man the Three Lions look to for inspiration ahead of the World Cup.
Southgate is without Adam Lallana due to a thigh injury, but otherwise he has a full squad at his disposal. Leicester defender Harry Maguire could make his debut after being called up for the first time last month.
England starting XI prediction (4-3-1-2): Hart; Walker, Cahill, Jones, Bertrand; Dier, Henderson, Alli; Sterling, Kane, Rashford
Portugal starting XI prediction (4-3-3): Oblak; Bruno Cesar, Viler, Skubic, Mevlja; Kurtic, Rotman, Verbic, Ilicic; Birsa, Repas
This will be a good test for England ahead of the World Cup. Slovenia will be difficult to break down, and are the type of opponent the Three Lions have struggled against at tournaments in recent years. However, given their record at Wembley and the difference in quality, we’re expecting them to get the three points and secure qualification.
Key man for England: Harry Kane
Score prediction: England 1-0 Slovenia
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