World Cup Qualifying - European - Group F
EnglandEngland1SloveniaSlovenia0

England 1-0 Slovenia

By Phil McNultyChief football writer
Harry Kane scores for England against Slovenia
Tottenham's Harry Kane captained England at Wembley

Harry Kane's injury-time winner secured England's qualification for next summer's World Cup with victory against Slovenia - but this was a display designed to dampen any sense of expectation.

Kane, England captain for the night, bundled in Kyle Walker's cross for his 11th goal in 22 international appearances to finally break down Slovenia's resistance as they looked likely to hold out for a point.

It meant manager Gareth Southgate can now start planning in earnest for Russia but could not cover up the cracks in an England performance that was lifeless, uninspired and mediocre.

Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling almost broke the deadlock before Kane made his breakthrough, the hosts were also grateful to much-criticised keeper Joe Hart for some crucial interventions.

England and Southgate have achieved their goal. It was not, however, achieved in a manner that will start alarm bells ringing for any future World Cup opposition.

Elsewhere in the group, Scotland kept their qualifying hopes alive in dramatic fashion as a late Martin Skrtel own goal gave them victory over 10-man Slovakia at Hampden Park.

Group F table
England top Group F by six points from second-placed Scotland with one match left

England through but no celebrations

England's qualification for Russia was confirmed by that late strike from Kane but Wembley was hardly awash with joyous scenes at the final whistle.

And that was because, for the large part, this was a desperately poor England performance as they struggled to find a way through a well-drilled Slovenia.

England's poor performance drew mockery and sarcasm from some sections of a dissatisfied Wembley crowd, clearly unimpressed by what they were witnessing.

Southgate said he was aware of the crowd's discontent and the unhappy mood of England's supporters meant there was an absence of the air of celebration that normally accompanies World Cup qualification.

The scale of the excitement - or lack of it - on offer was illustrated by the fact many England's fans spent most of the second half amusing themselves by hurling paper aeroplanes at each other.

It was also an atmosphere tempered by the reality of England's current standing apart from the elite of the international game.

England carry a forward threat in the shape of Kane and Rashford, who will be supplemented by Dele Alli when he is free from suspension, but the glaring lack of creativity elsewhere - especially in central midfield - must represent a real concern for Southgate.

Southgate has achieved phase one of the task presented to him when he succeeded Sam Allardyce, but on this evidence England will not travel to Russia accompanied by any serious weight of expectation.

Southgate's England strictly B-list

England, as usual, have come through qualifying in relative comfort - but they have made very heavy weather of completing the job at some stages of this campaign.

The 4-0 victory margin in Malta was hugely flattering - helped by three goals in the closing minutes against exhausted opponents - and England came from behind to beat Slovakia at Wembley.

And this was a dreadful, lifeless slog that confirmed England's strictly 'B-list' status in international football's pecking order.

The team must make a huge leap from the workmanlike and largely uninspired efforts of this campaign if they are to make even a single bead of sweat break out on the brows of any potential opponents in Russia.

And those countries who travel with serious hope of winning the World Cup will certainly have no fears should they be confronted by this England side.

How many more chances for Oxlade-Chamberlain?

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was replaced by Jesse Lingard in the 64th minute

Southgate's selection of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in Alli's absence was a real show of faith in Liverpool's £35m signing from Arsenal - and totally at odds with his poor form this season.

Sadly for Oxlade-Chamberlain, he was unable to repay England's manager and it was no surprise when he was replaced by Jesse Lingard after 64 minutes.

There was no shortage of effort from the 24-year-old but he looked a player short on confidence and self-belief, still battling to come anywhere near fulfilling the promise he showed after he burst on the England scene as a teenager.

Southgate clearly has great belief in the midfielder, also starting him in the recent qualifiers in Malta and at home to Slovakia - but his struggles have been reflected in his failure to complete both of those games, as well as this meeting with Slovenia.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is now reaching a pivotal stage of his career where he has to start delivering for club and country. He showed no signs of making that transition at Wembley on Thursday.

England 1-0 Slovenia: Harry Kane says England should be proud as a nation

Man of the match - Harry Kane (England)

Harry Kane
Kane provided the telling moment of quality for Southgate's side. While the match will be largely forgettable, Kane's goal will be a memorable moment for the striker personally having skippered England for the first time.

'We are not going to become Spain' - what they said

England manager Gareth Southgate, speaking on BBC Radio 5 live: "As a young team and having to deal with the expectation and criticism of their performances, it is tough for them.

"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."

Former England and Manchester United defender Phil Neville, speaking on BBC Radio 5 live: "England limped to qualification for the World Cup. The real work begins now.

"We will learn more when England play Germany and Brazil in friendlies in November than these types of game. There was not enough end product from players."

My England starting XI

Choose who you would pick in the England starting XI in Russia - and then share it with your friends using our team selector.

Line-ups

England

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Hart
  • 2Walker
  • 6StonesBooked at 44mins
  • 5Cahill
  • 3Bertrand
  • 8Henderson
  • 4Dier
  • 11Oxlade-ChamberlainSubstituted forLingardat 64'minutes
  • 7SterlingSubstituted forKeaneat 85'minutes
  • 10Rashford
  • 9Kane

Substitutes

  • 12Smalling
  • 13Butland
  • 14Trippier
  • 15Maguire
  • 16Keane
  • 17Cresswell
  • 18Defoe
  • 19Livermore
  • 20Sturridge
  • 21Winks
  • 22Lingard
  • 23Pickford

Slovenia

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Oblak
  • 23StrunaBooked at 86mins
  • 17MevljaBooked at 45mins
  • 5Cesar
  • 13Jokic
  • 14BezjakSubstituted forRepasat 72'minutes
  • 6KrhinBooked at 38mins
  • 18RotmanBooked at 51minsSubstituted forMatavzat 79'minutes
  • 21Verbic
  • 7Ilicic
  • 11SporarSubstituted forBirsaat 55'minutesBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 2Skubic
  • 3Viler
  • 4Sirok
  • 8Kurtic
  • 9Matavz
  • 10Birsa
  • 12Belec
  • 15Mlinar Delamea
  • 16Koprivec
  • 19Repas
  • 20Bohar
  • 22Vetrih
Referee:
Felix Zwayer
Attendance:
61,598

Match Stats

Home TeamEnglandAway TeamSlovenia
Possession
Home67%
Away33%
Shots
Home17
Away5
Shots on Target
Home5
Away1
Corners
Home10
Away4
Fouls
Home11
Away17

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, England 1, Slovenia 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, England 1, Slovenia 0.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Jesse Lingard (England).

  4. Post update

    Rene Krhin (Slovenia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Booking

    Valter Birsa (Slovenia) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  6. Post update

    Jordan Henderson (England) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Valter Birsa (Slovenia).

  8. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Tim Matavz (Slovenia) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Josip Ilicic.

  9. Goal!

    Goal! England 1, Slovenia 0. Harry Kane (England) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Kyle Walker with a cross.

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. Kyle Walker (England) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Marcus Rashford.

  11. Post update

    Ryan Bertrand (England) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Tim Matavz (Slovenia).

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jesse Lingard (England) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Marcus Rashford.

  14. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Harry Kane (England) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Joe Hart.

  15. Post update

    Offside, Slovenia. Josip Ilicic tries a through ball, but Tim Matavz is caught offside.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Gary Cahill (England).

  17. Post update

    Josip Ilicic (Slovenia) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  18. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  19. Post update

    Delay in match (England).

  20. Post update

    Attempt missed. Benjamin Verbic (Slovenia) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Valter Birsa.

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Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 5th October 2017

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1France85211551017
2Sweden85121871116
3Netherlands84131611513
4Bulgaria84041317-412
5Luxembourg8125717-105
6Belarus8125416-125

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Switzerland88001831524
2Portugal87012842421
3Hungary8314119210
4Faroe Islands8224415-118
5Andorra8116217-154
6Latvia8107318-153

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Germany99003833527
2Northern Ireland96121751219
3Czech Rep93331210212
4Norway93151616010
5Azerbaijan9315914-510
6San Marino9009246-440

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Serbia85301771018
2Wales8350125714
3R. of Ireland834196313
4Austria8233101009
5Georgia8053812-45
6Moldova8026420-162

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Poland971124121222
2Denmark96121971219
3Montenegro95131881016
4Romania9333119212
5Armenia9207925-166
6Kazakhstan9027525-202

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1England97201731423
2Scotland95221510517
3Slovakia9504147715
4Slovenia9423105514
5Lithuania9135719-126
6Malta9018322-191

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Spain87103232922
2Italy86111971219
3Albania8413109113
4Israel8305914-59
5North Macedonia82151014-47
6Liechtenstein8008134-330

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belgium87103533222
2Bos-Herze84221981114
3Greece8341115613
4Cyprus8314812-410
5Estonia8224617-118
6Gibraltar8008337-340

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Croatia8512123916
2Iceland8512117416
3Turkey8422128414
4Ukraine8422117414
5Finland8215610-47
6Kosovo8017320-171
View full World Cup Qualifying - European tables

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