England must be one of the strangest international teams in the world. They rarely struggle to qualify for the World Cup or European Championships and in recent years, they have found their path through to finals very straight forward.
World Cup Qualifiers – Monday 4th September – 19:45 UK Time
Best Odd of: 2/5 at Ladbrokes
Best Odd of: 7/2 at Betway
Best Odd of: 10 at UniBet
However, when it comes to playing in the tournament it’s a different matter and England have found life tough. At the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, England were eliminated at the group stage and despite progressing from their group in the European Championships, England were embarrassed by Iceland in the Round of 16.
Slovakia, England’s opposition in this match, qualified from the same group as them in Euro 2016 but also fell at the Round of 16 stage. They last qualified for the World Cup in 2010 and were eliminated at the same stage of that competition.
England come into this match sitting top of World Cup qualifying Group F with 17 points from their 7 matches played.
They are yet to taste defeat having won 5 and drawn 2 of their group games and defeated Malta 4-0 away from home in their previous match. It wasn’t a great performance by any means but Gareth Southgate’s men got the job done.
England have kept 6 clean sheets in their 7 games and only Scotland have been able to break them down during this campaign. England have won their last 7 home World Cup qualifying games and conceded only 1 goal in the process.
Slovakia start this match in second place in the group with 15 points from their 7 games. While England have remained undefeated, Slovakia have lost 2 matches, one of which was a 1-0 defeat at home to England and the other a 1-0 loss in Slovenia.
With Scotland playing at home to Malta, a defeat in this match for Slovakia and a win for Scotland would make things very tight at the top of the group going into the final two games.
Slovakia have won their last 3 World Cup qualifying matches, defeating Malta and Lithuania away and Slovenia at home. Away from home, Slovakia have proved themselves tough to beat in previous World Cup qualifying campaigns and have lost just 2 of their last 12 away matches.
However, keeping a clean sheet has been a problem and Slovakia have kept just one in their last 8 away World Cup qualifying games.
England are unlikely to make many changes from the team which defeated Malta. Joe Hart is set to keep his place in goal and despite scoring off the bench, Danny Welbeck is not going to push Harry Kane out of the starting XI.
Slovakia have no injury or suspension concerns and can welcome back the experienced duo of Jan Durica and Martin Skrtel who were both suspended for the Slovenia match.
Top Betting Tips
Given their record in World Cup and European Championship qualifying games, especially at home, England must start this match as favourites to win and can be backed at 2/5 with Ladbrokes.
Slovakia have proven tough to beat in away matches but they have rarely come up against a team with such a strong record as England. The English are very tough to break down, especially on home soil and you can get 23/20 with William Hill for England to win the match to nil.
However, don’t expect to see England run away with this match and it would be a surprise if we saw over 2.5 goals. Under 2.5 goals is 17/20 with Ladbrokes.