England goalkeeper Joe Hart played a vital role as the Three Lions barely managed to rescue a point against Slovenia in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Hart, 29, prevented interim manager Gareth Southgate from having to endure an embarrassing defeat to a team ranked 67th in the world with a succession of outstanding saves.
He twice denied Josip Ilicic when he was played in by poor backpasses from Eric Dier and team captain Jordan Henderson.
Seconds after half-time, he even produced a world-class reflex save when he turned Jasmin Kurtic’s header on to the crossbar, and clawed the rebound away to a defender.
It was known that Hart has suffered the most traumatic period of his career after two high-profile errors against Wales and Iceland in England’s Euro 2016 debacle, and being pointed to the exit at Manchester City by new manager Pep Guardiola.
But he was the clear man of the match as England was held to a goalless draw in Ljubljana.
“They had chances, we dominated the game,” Hart said after the game. “They have dug in and Jan Oblak had a fantastic game for them.”
“It’ my best game for a while, but it was down to a few errors from us. My body is in pieces, I’ll struggle to get up tomorrow. I landed on the frame of the goal.”
But in the match, England’s three-year run of wins in qualifiers came to an end, and even the introduction of Wayne Rooney after half-time made no difference.
The Manchester United forward shot wide as Jesse Lingard forced a fine save from Oblak late on, but an England win would have been a harsh result on the hosts, given that the English team struggled to match the pace and vigor of the home side.