England will be hoping to maintain their 100% record in what should be one of the most testing fixtures in Group F of European World Cup Qualifying on Tuesday night. The lions travel to Slovenia, who’ve also made a strong start to the campaign with 4 points from two games.
Gareth Southgate’s side will be looking to build upon a comfortable yet uninspiring 2-0 victory against Malta at Wembley last Saturday, this time without lifeless captain Wayne Rooney. The gaffer confirmed Rooney’s absence from tonight’s game in Ljubljana in a press conference on Monday, and it was received well amongst England fans with many believing there are more deserving, livelier players in the squad.
The absence of the Manchester United man spells good news for the likes of Lingard and Chamberlain, who’ll all be eager to impress the new boss in order to cement a place in the World Cup squad in two years time.
The hosts will be confident ahead of the of the match, having battled to a 1-0 win against a decent Slovakia side curtesy of Rok Kronaveter’s second half strike. Despite having no distinguishable attacking threat, Slovenia’s strength is in their defensive work as a team. With Atleico Madrid Goalkeeper Jan Oblak and veteran Chievo Verona defender Bostjan Cesar in the line up, England can expect a stubborn defensive display from the hosts.
This probable defensive Slovenia set up warrants starts for England’s more creative figures of Sturridge, Alli and Rashford. In what could easily be a frustrating ninety minutes, we need to look to these players to find the killer pass or finish when given the opportunity. However, being classic England, expect to see mundane possession followed by lethargic build up play, oh and don’t forget unconvincing defending!
Perhaps more in than expectation, we could see a young, exciting team put out by Southgate in Slovenia; if we’re going to be fairly ineffective we may as well do so and give younger players a chance, it is they who’ll be relied on in two years time.
Slovenia will most likely be content with a draw and England don’t look tremendously exciting on the attack so far this qualifying, so don’t expect a cracker in Ljubljana, I sense a one-nil either way is on the cards.