Sunday World Cup Qualification Preview – Slovakia vs England

September 04, 2016 18:00pm – Stadion Antona Malatinskeho

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Slovakia: LDWLD

England: LDWDW

England will play their first competitive game under new boss Sam Allardyce when they travel to Slovakia for the opening game of their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign on Sunday evening. But will it be the same old England that shows up or can the new coach inspire his squad to reach a level that they failed to achieve under the guidance of previous incumbent Roy Hodgson?

Of course, qualifying for major tournaments has not been a problem for the Three Lions in recent years, so winning Group F with ease will be a minimum requirement for Allardyce. The main question will be whether there are any signs of improvement in the overall performances and whether that can be translated to tournament level. As a result, we may have to wait until the World Cup before passing ultimate judgment – barring a qualifying disaster of course.

England’s Group F opponents will be Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia and Scotland. And they will kick off their campaign with perhaps the hardest game of the whole campaign – an away trip to Slovakia.

The teams last met just over two months ago in the Group Stage of the 2016 European Championships in France. That game ended in 0-0 draw, a result that saw both nations progress to the knockout stage of the tournament.

Allardyce avoided any radical changes when he announced his first squad last week, with Wayne Rooney retaining his captaincy and Luke Shaw, Phil Jagielka, Danny Drinkwater and Theo Walcott all earning recalls. The only new face was West Ham winger Michail Antonio, while Ross Barkley and Jack Wilshere were both left out.


Slovakia showed in France that they are no pushover and England will not find it easy facing them in their own backyard. With 10 wins in their last 14 home games, including a Euro qualifying win over Spain, the hosts will fancy their chances of grabbing at least a draw.

You can back the Draw at 23/10 with Betfair.

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