England vs Slovenia preview: Talking points and Predicted Lineup

Gareth Southgate's men are on the brink of reaching the World Cup in Russia, boasting a five-point cushion at the top of Group F


The Three Lions will be returning to Wembley this midweek for their next two World Cup qualification match, from where they can finally guarantee their final berth to next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia. The Three Lions can meet all requirements for the 2018 World Cup in Russia with a victory however in their direction, there will be a prepared Slovenia side who will be looking into manage the play-offs spot at least.

Here are the talking points from the match:

Sealing final birth for Russia 2018 World Cup:

England will play their last World Cup qualifier at home to Slovenia on Thursday knowing a win will be sufficient to take them to next summer’s competition, while a point could also hold sufficient if Slovakia’s match against Scotland ends in a draw or Slovakia suffer defeat. Gareth Southgate’s side now requires only two points from their last two qualifier matches to finish as Group F Champions however the English team will be looking to make it decisive in the very next match.

Captainship Issue:

Since Sam Allardyce’s sacking and Gareth Southgate’s appointment, England is yet to conclude a proper captain for the team. Wayne Rooney, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Gary Cahill all at some point in time was given the responsibility in the meantime, however, no concrete name has been affirmed. In the last two qualifier matches, Southgate had given the responsibility to Spurs striker Harry Kane and for the remaining two matches he will also be given the same. However, the England manager is yet to appoint a permanent skipper but with 13 goals in last eight matches for Spurs, the 24-year-old will be hoping to replicate his form on the international stage and will be hoping to cement his position as the skipper.

Goalkeeping Position:

England number Joe Hart is all set to make his 74th appearance against Slovenia if everything goes well and it will make him equalling previous English legendary keepers David Seaman and topping Gordon Banks’ appearances, with only Peter Shilton, with a record 125 caps, has won more among English goalkeepers. The 30-year-old conceded just three goals in last eight matches for England and delivered a wonder save in the reverse fixture in Ljubljana. However, given the form he and his team West Ham are showing domestically with only two wins from seven Premier League matches this season lastly, his place could be at risk, with Everton’s Jordan Pickford, Stoke’s Jack Butland and Fraser Foster of Southampton all are hovering over his place in the starting XI.

Potential starting XI: England: Hart; Walker, Cahill, Stones, Bertrand; Henderson, Dier, Alli; Sterling, Kane, Rashford.

Potential starting XI: Slovenia: Oblak; Cesar, Viler, Skubic, Mevlja; Kurtic, Rotman, Verbic, Repas; Ilicic, Sporar.