The reverse fixture between England and Slovakia will go down in history for two reasons. It was the only match in the England career of Sam Allardyce and Adam Lallana scored for his country. For different reasons neither player will be involved at Wembley tonight, Allardyce because of his stupidity and Lallana because he is injured and they won’t be missed.
England win qualifiers of this nature at home, and usually by at least one goal. The match creates a dilemma for the visitors, win the match and move to the top of the group or pick up a point and stay in charge for the race for second place. However, the betting suggests a home win which would leave England on the verge of qualifying for the World Cup Finals in Russia next year.
England best Malta away 4-0 last Friday but the fans knew the team played abysmally. Most of the most loyal supporters in the world had left the stadium before the three late goals which were scored when Malta were spent. The gloss does not hide the fact that England’s best players could not pass and run with the ball. Belgium’s 9-0 demolition of Gibraltar was an example of how to deal with minnows.
Southgate might say Malta are a better side and it was an away fixture but doing the basics right are necessary regardless of the context and England failed miserable in this fixture. Even so they should be too strong for Slovakia at the national stadium tonight in a match which has taken Coronation Street out of the schedules.
England won all 10 matches in qualifying for Euro 2016 and were then a disgrace against Iceland. They will probably go through qualifying unbeaten this time because the opposition is not from the top draw. The betting options are England to win to nil or England -1 on the handicaps and the latter is the preferred options.