England captain Harry Kane scored an injury-time winner to secure qualification for next summer’s World Cup with a 1-0 victory against Slovenia at Wembley.
Kane stretched out to nudge in Kyle Walker’s cross for his 14th goal in his past nine games to finally break down Slovenia’s tough resistance as they looked likely to hold out for a point.
Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling almost broke the deadlock before Kane made his breakthrough, but the hosts must also be grateful to goalkeeper Joe Hart — whose selection into the team came under much criticism — for some crucial interventions that also earned him the official man-of-the-match award. – Cara Daftar Sbobet
While England carry a forward threat in the shape of Kane and Rashford — who will both be supported by the likes Dele Alli when he is free from suspension — the team still looks lacking in inspiration and creativity in front of goal that all but permits nothing but low expectations for Gareth Southgate’s squad in the coming summer.
It was only Kane who provided the single moment of quality that saved England the blushes this time around. In what was his first time skippering for England, his goal saved the team from potentially vicious feedback against a largely forgettable performance.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alli’s replacement for the night, was unable to repay Southgate’s faith in him and thus it came hardly a surprise when he was replaced by Jesse Lingard after 64 minutes.
Although his coach has shown great belief in him by starting him against Malta and Slovakia in past qualifiers, his struggles were clear with a scarcity of confidence despite making distinct efforts to help his team in front of one and all.
Still, Gareth Southgate is clear in the belief of his selection of a group of young players. “As a young team and having to deal with the expectation and criticism of their performances, it is tough for them,” he said.
“They are giving everything they’ve got. They don’t have Champions League winning medals between them. We have to give them the belief and the backing to help them achieve. It’s not a relief, I always thought we’d achieve the objective [of qualifying]. Tonight highlighted where we are. We are not going to become Spain in the next eight months.”