Competition: World Cup 2018 Qualification – Slovenia vs England
Venue: Stožice Stadium – Tuesday, October 11 – 19:45 BST (14:45 ET)
Match Odds: Slovenia 19/4 – Draw 5/2 – England 4/6
Slovenia host England in both side’s third Group F World Cup Qualifying game on Tuesday night, with the Three Lions looking to make it three wins from three and remain top of the group.
Slovenia started their campaign with a 2-2 draw in Lithuania but followed it up with a 1-0 home win over Slovakia on Saturday and now sit joint-second with Scotland in Group F, two points behind leaders England.
Tuesday night’s game is a great chance for Slovenia to prove their credentials as they look to qualify for a major tournament for the first time since the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, in which they were drawn in the same group as England.
They have a strong home record and are tough the break down, so will be confident of getting a result against Gareth Southgate’s men here.
For England, it’s a chance to take full control of the group by keeping their 100% record intact in what is one of the campaign’s toughest away games.
The Three Lions have already won away at Slovakia in their opening Group F game and have more than enough quality in the squad to leave Slovenia with three points on Tuesday.
Southgate will have been pleased with the win over Malta but will know that he’s being judged on how he sets his side up for games like this one. A win in Ljubljana would start to change people’s minds on whether he’s the right man for the job in the long run.
This will be the fifth meeting between the two nations. England have won all four prior to this, winning home and away in qualification for Euro 2016 over the last two years.
Slovenia have been rocked by the loss of their star man Kevin Kampl, with the Bayer Leverkusen midfielder withdrawing from the squad through exhaustion. Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak will expect to be busy in goal but will back his abilities as he looks to keep a second clean sheet in a week.
England have lost Tom Heaton and Ryan Bertrand through injury, with Kieran Gibbs and Jordan Pickford coming into the squad. Wayne Rooney is expected to start the game on the bench, with Eric Dier likely to come into midfield in order to offer some solid protection in what is expected to be a tougher game than the home clash against Malta. Marcus Rashford will be hoping for a start but may have to make an impact off the bench.
Slovenia’s last five: L/D/L/D/W
England’s last five: W/D/L/W/W
Key Stat: Slovenia have only lost three of their last 13 home games, keeping clean sheets in eight of those games.
Key Player: Dele Alli – The young Tottenham midfielder scored his second England goal in the win over Malta on Saturday and will be looking to star for Southgate once again here. In what is expected to be a tight game, Alli will need to use his creativity to try and unlock a stern Slovenian defence.
Slovenia 0-1 England – This will likely be another difficult away game for England. They managed to break down Slovakia in the dying minutes and will need to be prepared to face another resilient defence here. But, given the quality in this England side, they should be able to leave Slovenia with all three points.