England find themselves just one win away from qualification for next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia. Tonight Gareth Southgate will look to get the necessary result as the Three Lions play host to a Slovenia side who still have qualification aspirations of their own.
Four teams will have a vested interest in this fixture as Slovkaia and Scotland fans will be keeping a keen eye on what goes on at Wembley this evening. A positive result for the traveling Slovenian outfit would mean that one of the teams playing at Hampden Park later tonight could have their play-off hopes ended.
Scottish fans do not usually cheer on England but tonight will have special circumstances as if England can win at Wembley and Scotland do their bit then Gordon Strachan’s men will then look to get a win of their own against Slovenia in what could be a winner takes all fixture.
But enough of the sums in Group F as England are very much in the driving seat and they already have one foot on the plane departing for Russia next Summer. Two draws would be enough to qualify but to be honest they would be nothing short of disappointing results what with the opposition they will face over the next few days.
The hope is that the fixture against Lithuania next week amounts to a dead rubber with the ticket to Moscow already in the bag and with the talent that England have at their disposal and especially in front of a home crowd they should get the job done tonight.
With the form that Harry Kane is in right now there will not only be hope but expectation that he scores the necessary goals to lead England to victory. August drew a blank but September gave us 13 goals for club and country and the Tottenham forward will be looking to continue that form into October.
Kane will lead the country tonight as Gareth Southgate is still yet to decide who will captain the team if and when they appear in the main event next summer. This is a job interview of sorts for Kane as he looks to emulate Alan Shearer as the man who wears the armband for the national team.
Whether or not you feel that forward’s should be captain of a team because they are too far removed from play is an argument that has been heard many times before but quite frankly Kane is the best player we have right now and it would be remiss not to give him the opportunity to lead the country out in front of what should be a packed Wembley.
One player who will not feature this evening is Dele Alli who has to sit out the game due to suspension after his middle finger gesture in the 2-1 win over Slovakia. Thankfully it is just a one match ban that has been handed down by FIFA and he will be available for the trip to Lithuania.
His Tottenham team-mate Harry Winks has been called into the England squad for the first time and with just four Premier League starts to his name it is a call up that has created much debate. It’s almost as if Gareth Southgate cannot win in this instance.
He calls up Winks and pundits and fans alike say that the Tottenham youngster is not ready but if he called up the same faces then people would accuse him of not calling up the younger players. Who would be an international manager at times like these?
Well the fruits of Southgate’s and England’s labour could come to fruition if they get a win over Slovenia and then we have over six months of the international hype train to look forward to. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves too much, that said I think it will be the required win this evening as we book our place in the World Cup Finals.