Big Match Breakdown: England v Slovenia
The Three Lions can book their place in Russia
England can seal their place in next year’s World Cup with a win over Slovenia on Thursday night. Gareth Southgate’s team are unbeaten during the qualifying campaign so far.
Slovenia are currently third in Group F and a win would put them in serious contention for a play-off spot.
It’s shaping up to be a huge game at Wembley and the Coral News Team have all the lowdown for you before it kicks off.
Head to Head
The two nations have met on five previous occasions. The most recent encounter ended in a 0-0 draw, though England have won the other four matches.
Joe Hart was superb at the Stozice Stadium last October. He made several key saves to keep England in the game and prevent a first qualifying defeat since 2009.
England have won four of their five group games since then, though they’ve lost tough friendlies against Germany and France.
Slovenia have won their last three home fixtures without conceding a goal. But Srecko Katanec’s side have been less successful on the road. They’ve only sides they’ve beaten away from home since 2013 are Malta, Lithuania and San Marino.
The Likely XIs
Joe Hart’s place in goal is under threat after some unconvincing displays for West Ham United but it would be a surprise if Southgate didn’t stick with him here.
Dele Alli’s suspension paves the way for Raheem Sterling to return to the starting XI and a lack of top-class central midfield options could see Jake Livermore selected too.
Slovenia have one of Europe’s best goalkeepers in Jan Oblak. They’ll need a big performance from the 24-year-old if they’re going to get anything out of the game.
Their biggest attacking threat is arguably Atalanta’s Josip Ilicic. The attacking midfielder has three goals in his last three international appearances.
England will have real pace on the flanks with Marcus Rashford and Sterling.
Rashford scored twice and set up a goal during the last international break. He’s been impressive for Manchester United too. Sterling was hauled off at half-time against Malta last month but he’s an increasingly important player for Manchester City.
Slovenia are likely to defend deep, so the pair will need to stretch the play in wide areas.
England have won 13 competitive games in a row at Wembley. They’ve only conceded one goal at home during the World Cup qualifiers.
All signs point to another home win and Slovenia’s struggles away mean there could be value in England to Win to Nil at Evens.
The Three Lions made a sluggish start against Malta and Slovakia last month. It could take them a while to break down Slovenia here. Draw/England is 27/10 in the Half Time / Full Time market.
Harry Kane is been in sensational form recently. The Tottenham Hotspur hitman has 13 goals in his last eight appearances for club and country. He’s 9/4 as First Goalscorer here.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing