The landscape in Group F looks a lot clearer now as England booked their place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Finals. You can read my extended views on the England vs Slovenia game by clicking on the linked text but here is a brief rundown of all the action from last night.
England and by extension Harry Kane left it very late last night to dispose of Slovenia. It needed a 94th minute winner to give Gareth Southgate’s men all three points. It may not have been particularly pretty but ultimately they got the necessary result and they now find themselves as one of the 32 teams that will travel to Russia.
England vs Slovenia
Scotland vs Slovakia
Scottish fans would have had a vested interest in the action at Wembley last night as a win for England would have enhanced their hopes of progressing to the play-off section. So imagine what the last few minutes of either game would have felt like after Scotland edged out Slovakia last night while England did them a huge favour.
On 88 minutes it was looking like it was not going to be Scotland’s night. Slovakia had been reduced to 10 men after just 22 minutes when Robert Mak was sent off for two quickfire yellow cards and then they had to try and withstand a siege on their goal.
Scotland hit the woodwork twice in the second half as Chris Martin and Leigh Griffiths smacked the bar and were kept at bay by some impressive Slovakian goalkeeper. They would however finally get their breakthrough with seconds remaining.
Ikechi Anya‘s was fed the ball out wide after a determined piece of play from Griffiths. He then fizzed in a cross which was placed into that corridor of uncertainty in the six yard box and with Chris Martin bearing down on goal he placed enough pressure on former Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel to divert the ball into his own net.
Hampden Park was in a state of delirium and they would be even more so when the news of Harry Kane’s winner would have filtered through moments later. The Tartan Army now have to go to Slovenia and win to book their place in November’s World Cup play offs.
Malta vs Lithuania
Malta picked up a respectable home draw last night in Valetta. They took the lead in the first half through Andrei Agius’ long range effort but they could not hold out for the rest of the tie as soon after the restart Lithuania restored parity to earn a share of the points.