England host Slovakia at Wembley in a must win match, that could have huge implications for Scotland.
Victory will see the Three Lions all but guaranteed their place at next summer’s World Cup.
Defeat coupled with a Scotland win will see their qualification hopes dented and go down to next month’s final round of qualifiers. Slovakia will take top spot whilst the play off spot could be down to a ‘Battle of Britain between the two home nations.
A draw will put England in pole position to qualify if can win both of next month’s games. Scotland will however come into play for second place and possibly even the group victory, should both England and Slovakia lose both of their remaining games and they win theirs.
Last time out
On Friday night, Gareth Southgate’s men laboured to a 4-0 win over Malta.
Slovakia all but ended Slovenia’s qualification chances with a narrow 1-0 win.
Scotland who needed a win, went and battered Lithuania 3-0 to resurrect their chances.
Southgate is set to ring the changes in a crucial game starting up front with Marcus Rashford.
Manchester United star, Rashford is in line to make his first England start at Wembley. This comes after he came on as a sub in Malta and brought the match to life.
Tottenham’s Eric Dier is back from suspension so could feature in midfield.
Jordan Henderson is keeping the captain’s armband whilst Joe Hart will be between the sticks in goal.
Head 2 Head
This fixture has only been played on five previous occasions with England unbeaten in all of those matches.
The first of two games on English soil saw a tight victory to the home side in 2003 as part of the 2004 UEFA Euros qualification round. 2009 saw them meet in a friendly with England running riot in a 4-0 rout of the Slovakians.
Interestingly, England met Slovakia in France last summer in their final group stage match. With things already settled, the matched ended 0-0 on neutral ground.
Excluding the friendly win and that draw, these teams have played out very tight meetings with last September’s match being clinched 0-1 by Liverpool’s Adam Lallana in injury time.
Given how woeful England were in the first half on Friday night, they need to start on the front foot.
Fail to do so, this could well be where the game is lost and even expose nerves if Scotland beat Malta and word reaches Wembley, putting more pressure on the Three Lions to try and get a result.
Their record over Slovakia will put the fans in a positive mood but everyone has to make Wembley feel like hell. Should England fans and team turn up expecting at least a draw or victory, they need to really push or will get punished.
Unlike Malta, they are facing a team who will punish any slacking quite quickly so this is a tough game.
My gut feeling is a 0-0 but head says its an away victory here despite omens being against them.
Prediction: England 0-1 Slovakia
Result: England 2-1 Slovakia