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England vs Slovakia- What have we learned?

5th September 2017

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A brilliant strike from Marcus Rashford ensured that England beat Slovakia 2-1 at Wembley, moving the Three Lions within one win from their last two remaining games to qualify for the World Cup.

Despite the slow start, England held onto the win after a few days where the team have received criticism from fans regarding the team's overall play, and those within the squad.

However, for the first half England were flat and uninspiring, getting caught at the back within the first five minutes.  

Stanislav Lobotka took advantage of some sloppy England defending and in particular some sloppy play from Marcus Rashford to put Slovakia ahead within three minutes. The goal from Slovakia also drew criticism of Joe Hart, with fans recently questioning his place in the side.

Despite these opinions, manager Gareth Southgate insists he is the best goalkeeper England have. There are other goalkeepers in the England set up, although these options have not had the game time needed for Southgate to make a final decision on his number one before the World Cup - should England secure qualification - next summer. 

Eric Dier equalised from a clever near post corner from Rashford eight minutes before half time and the Manchester United player wrapped up all three points for The Three Lions with a superb strike from 20 yards out in the 59th minute.

England are top of their group having played eight games and notched up 20 points.

Points to consider

The thing England now need to work on is to produce something on the big stage. Too many times have England gone through a comfortable qualifying campaign and have failed in the main tournaments.

These last two games may have looked straight forward but against the top tier sides England will tend to struggle due to the quality of opposition they are against.

England hasn't come under serious pressure in their qualifying campaign and yet they have still looked unconvincing against inferior teams.

As a side, they do need to improve on the recent performances on the big stage, where we have been knocked out in the group stages or embarrassed by Iceland.

One thing to pick out from these past two games is how slow England have been at times, leading fans to voice their frustration.  This could be pointed down to a lack of a pure creative midfielder in the middle of the park. 

This could be pointed down to a lack of a pure creative midfielder in the middle of the park. The likes of Henderson, Dier and Livermore have not delivered as a group, despite their individual qualities, and the play breaks down more than often.

Man of the Match

Marcus Rashford was the man of the match and for a young man he showed great professionalism after Slovakia's goal. Rashford was at fault for the goal but

Rashford was at fault for the early Slovakia goal but afterwards he showed his talent, constantly running at the Slovakia defence, forcing them back at will. Rashford capped off his performance with a goal which gave England the vital win.

Image Credit - Wikipedia Commons. Flickr Commons, Steve Calcott

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