England vs Lithuania: Match Preview
Three Lions end World Cup qualification campaign away in Lithuania
Gareth Southgate’s team secured their place in next year’s World Cup with a 1-0 win over Slovenia on Thursday night, and now face Lithuania in the final match of their qualifying campaign.
The Three Lions are heavy favourites for a match that now has no real significance for either side, although for England it provides a good chance to experiment ahead of Russia 2018.
Lithuania are fifth in the group with 6 points from 9 games. They are winless in seven matches and were beaten 3-0 by Scotland in their last home match. On Thursday they drew 1-1 with minnows Malta.
Back in March, England won 2-0 in the reverse fixture at Malta with goals from Jamie Vardy and Jermain Defoe. The Lions also won 4-0 away and 3-0 in Lithuania in their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.
Southgate will want his team to end the group stage with a convincing win given that he still has a lot of people doubting his credentials as England manager. His side did not look convincing against Slovenia, needing until the 94th minute to win courtesy of Kane’s rather fortune goal.
The Tottenham striker is in stunning form though, and is the main reason for optimism going into the World Cup. In his last 17 matches for club and country he has scored an astounding 25 goals.
Kane captained England on Thursday, although Southgate has yet to confirm who will take over the armband permanently following Wayne Rooney’s retirement.
The former Middlesbrough manager has given little indication as towards the team he will put out in Vilnius, but he will definitely be without Phil Jones and Fabian Delph as both pulled out of the squad with injury.
READ: England squad against Lithuania and Lithuania, final World Cup qualifiers 2017
England vs Lithuania: Match Preview – Predictions:
England starting XI prediction (4-3-1-2): Hart; Walker, Cahill, Stones, Bertrand; Dier, Henderson, Alli; Sterling, Kane, Rashford
Portugal starting XI prediction (4-3-3): Zubas; Vaitkunas, Mikuckis, Girdvainis, Andriuskevicius; Novikovas, Slivka, Kuklys; Matulevicius, Valskis, Cernych
This will be a good test for England ahead of the World Cup. Lithuania 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 the difference in quality, we’re expecting them to get the three points and round off qualification.
Key man for England: Harry Kane
Score prediction: Lithuania 0-3 England
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