Wembley Stadium - World Cup qualifying
With three group games to go England have a two-point advantage over Slovakia and a win gives them one foot in World Cup 2018. A defeat could leave Gareth Southgate’s side staring at the play-offs.
Sam Allardyce will remember the last meeting better than anyone else, even last minute match-winner Adam Lallana. The 1-0 win exactly a year ago was Big Sam’s solitary match in charge of the national side. A 0-0 draw last year in France is the only time England have failed to beat Slovakia in five meetings. The one Wembley meeting saw England’s biggest victory, 4-0 in 2009.
Former Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel is available after suspension, as is Jan Durica. The Slovaks though cannot call upon back injury victim Matus Kozacik in goal.
England suddenly have strength and weakness in goal. Joe Hart has the experience but apparently not the confidence although Southgate seems set to keep faith with him ahead of Jack Butland and Tom Heaton, Jordan Pickford having withdrawn through injury. The home side have also lost defender Kieran Trippier through injury.
England v Slovakia Preview and Predictions
Slovakia need a win to change things around in Group F and they are in the winning habit after coming out on top in their last three games. On the other hand, those wins came against modest opposition in Malta and Lithuania before they laboured to a 1-0 home victory over Slovenia on Friday. In January they were hammered 6-0 in a friendly by Sweden so they can be very fragile.
Harry Kane rewarded all those who had bet on him as first scorer in Malta and is 3/1 to open the scoring again at what his now his home club ground of Wembley. Kane getting on the scoresheet at the stadium would be good news for Spurs as well as England.
Kane is a shoe-in to start making his odds as first scorer more attractive than the likes of Jamie Vardy, Daniel Sturridge and Jermain Defoe, who will probably start on the bench.
Dele Alli always fancies himself to score and is capable of doing so. He's 5/1 to score the first goal.
Slovakia’s Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik is their most dangerous attacker and is an attractive 14/1 to open the scoring.
Both teams to score at 69/50
England have plenty of fire-power but might struggle to keep a clean-sheet with a goalkeeper seeming to lack confidence against a side who will try to win.
England to win 3-1 at 14/1
England are capable of winning comfortably but the defence isn’t at its best and may well concede, so 14/1 seems an attractive price for a likely score-line.