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Summary

  1. England need two points from last two games to qualify
  2. Kane named as captain for Thursday
  3. NI guaranteed a top-two finish
  4. Scotland likely to need two more wins
  5. News conferences for NI, Scotland and England this afternoon
  6. Wales play on Friday

Live Reporting

By Mike Henson and Tom Rostance

All times stated are UK

  1. See you tomorrow?

    And that's all from this live page. Join us tomorrow, and all week, as we cover the live matches in our usual comprehensive fashion.

    See you there!

  2. Scotland used to pressure

    Scotland v Slovakia (Thursday)

    Coach Gordon Strachan is sure Scotland will not be overawed as they seek two victories to keep alive hopes of a World Cup play-off place.

    Scotland must take maximum points from Slovakia at Hampden on Thursday and away to Slovenia on Sunday to guarantee second spot in Group F.

    "We've had to deal with must-win games in the last four," said Strachan.

    "Momentum is good at the moment. It's really exciting for me taking on this challenge."

  3. Post update

    England v Slovenia (Thursday)

    Gareth Southgate was giving nothing away on team news in his news conference. Who is likely to replace Dele Alli do we think?

  4. 'We hope the country is excited'

    England v Slovenia (Thursday)

    England manager Gareth Southgate: "We are a win away from Russia. It's something we are excited about and we hope the whole country is excited about. We hope to put in a performance that makes a statement."

  5. 'Players select squads, not managers'

    England v Slovenia (Thursday)

    England manager Gareth Southgate: "My job is not to keep the players happy, it's to challenge them and create an environment which allows them to be successful. We can't sit back at any point, every session we have to get something from.

    "When we get the results we want this week I hope to have a dilemma picking 23 players. I hope to have some difficult calls to make.

    "Managers don't necessarily select squads, players do by the way they perform."

  6. 'Alli will get older and wiser'

    England v Slovenia (Thursday)

    England striker and Tottenham team-mate Harry Kane: "I think Dele Alli will improve his discipline. The older and wiser he gets this stuff probably won't happen.

    "He is a fiery character, he wants to win on and off the pitch, but he is only 21 and we forget that sometimes. He will keep his head down and I'm sure everything will be fine."

  7. 'Winks is a player we like'

    England v Slovenia (Thursday)

    England manager Gareth Southgate: "Harry Winks is a player we like. With Fabian Delph leaving we needed another midfield player and we had an opportunity to look at a player for the short term or to integrate young player who can be a future England international.

    "That's what we decided to do. The more we can do that, the better. I would have liked to do that with more young players this time but injuries prevented us.

    "All of our big clubs have good young English players who they are giving opportunities to. Most of them are involved in European football this year."

  8. 'It makes me very proud'

    England v Slovenia (Thursday)

    England striker Harry Kane, reacting to being made captain: "It makes me very proud, growing up as a kid you dream of playing of your country and being captain as well. There are plenty of leaders in this team and other guys are going to have a go to see how it feels.

    "I don't think having an armband on your arm makes a difference to how you play. I will go out there to try and win and score goals. There are plenty of players on the pitch who will help each other out when the going gets tough as well."

  9. 'He won't do it again'

    England v Slovenia (Thursday)

    England manager Gareth Southgate: "Dele Alli's one-game ban is a fair outcome. I've discussed it with Dele and he recognises his responsibilities and how things will be viewed. His world is changing.

    "There is a spotlight on him. He won't do it again and he'll learn from it."

  10. Kane named as captain

    England v Slovenia (Thursday)

    Harry Kane is named as captain for Thursday's game.

    England manager Gareth Southgate: "His leadership qualities are invaluable to us as a team and he is in a good moment. I have known him for a long time and he is improving all the time.

    "I haven't' decided yet [if we will have a full-time captain.] We saw potential leaders in the group at the start. What's important is that the lads who have led the team think about integrating the squad, the moments to step forward, the moments to have a quiet word with people.

    "You are talking about leadership experience that comes over time."

  11. 'The fans are the 12th man'

    Scotland v Slovakia (Thursday)

    Christophe Berra

    Scotland defender Christophe Berra: "You want play in the big games with the big atmosphere. We’re all looking forward to it. The fans are like the 12th man.

    "We can only tell tomorrow night at 9:30pm how much improvement there has been over the past year."

  12. 'They defend with passion'

    Northern Ireland v Germany (Thursday)

    Northern Ireland

    Germany defender Mats Hummels has been speaking about his side's match in Belfast.

    "They have played very well up to now and defended strongly," he said.

    "Northern Ireland don't just just defend with passion, but the system is tactically very sound too."

    The sides met at the Euros last summer, with Germany winning 1-0.

  13. 'He's my number one'

    Scotland v Slovakia (Thursday)

    Leigh Griffiths

    Gordon Strachan on Leigh Griffiths: "He's an all round better player, at this moment he’s number one pick for the Scotland side."

  14. 'Bannan is at the forefront'

    Scotland v Slovakia (Thursday)

    Barry Bannan

    Scotland manager Gordon Strachan: "Callum McGregor has developed, he has changed position, he is comfortable on the ball. The best performance I've seen in the last three or four weeks is Barry Bannan. He's at the forefront of what we want to do.

    "Our preparation doesn't change, there is an edge to what we do. It makes it easier when you've picked up points. We believed that we could come back in the group."

  15. 'Slovakia are like a club side'

    Scotland v Slovakia (Thursday)

    Scotland manager Gordon Strachan: "They are two teams who have picked up momentum. They have good players, experienced players and they have been together a long time, like a club side.

    "The players will determine how the game goes, I haven't got a lever I can slow them down with or make the quicker. They play by instinct. We want to do more attacking than them."

  16. Let's get loud

    Northern Ireland v Germany (Thursday)

  17. Captain Kane?

    England v Slovenia (Thursday)

    Gary Flintoff

    BBC Radio 5 live reporter at Tottenham's training ground

    The media are starting to congregate for the scheduled 14:30 BST news conference...

    England
  18. A World Cup without Messi

    Lionel Messi

    A World Cup without Lionel Messi?

    It could just be...

    Argentina - two-time champions who have not missed the finals since 1970 - are currently languishing in fifth place in South American qualifying.

    With the top four qualifying, that position would send them into a two-legged play-off against New Zealand, but even that scenario is far from assured with Copa America holders Chile lurking just a point behind in sixth.

    Argentina take on Peru, who are above them in fourth on goal difference, before facing Ecuador.

  19. Not strictly World Cup qualifiers but...

    Who is that taking selfies when they should be focusing on the lecture?

    Only former Arsenal defender Lauren.

    He is in the second year of his business management course in Seville apparently...

    View more on twitter

    App users may need to click through to view Lauren's tweet.

  20. Play-offs prize

    Thierry Henry and Richard Dunne

    For those that fail to come through the groups as winners, the thrills and spills of the play-offs await.

    Eight of the nine European runners-up go into a two-legged play off for four places at next year's finals. That means the runner-up with the fewest points misses out. That unfortunate position is currently occupied by Wales, although plenty can change over the coming days.

    Fifa says teams will be seeded for the draw on 17 October, with the top four sides according to its ranking at the time in one pot and the remaining four in another.

    The teams currently in second place are Portugal (3rd in Fifa rankings), Wales (13th), Italy (17th), Slovakia (19th), Northern Ireland (20th), Iceland (22nd), Sweden (23rd), Bosnia-Herzegovina (36th) and Montenegro (37th).

    So while there are plenty of permutations, a Wales-Northern Ireland play-off is a possibility...