Associated Press
Tuesday October 11th, 2016

England required a series of brilliant saves from Joe Hart to salvage a 0-0 draw at Slovenia in World Cup qualifying, with the dropping of captain Wayne Rooney failing to have the desired effect on Tuesday.

The goalkeeper tipped Jasmin Kurtic's header onto the bar off a corner early in the second half and rushed from his line to keep out two one-on-one chances after sloppy England back-passes were intercepted. England's 100% start to Group F, after wins over Slovakia and Malta, ended on a night that saw Rooney begin on the bench in a big call from interim manager Gareth Southgate.

Rooney came on in the 73rd minute, with Slovenia controlling the game, and curled a shot wide with his only chance.

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It was the first time England had failed to win a qualifier for a major tournament in 15 games.

Like Rooney—who has also been dropped by Manchester United—Hart has had a tough season, losing his place at Manchester City and getting loaned out to Italian side Torino. He was also criticized for some displays during the European Championship, which England exited embarrassingly at the last-16 stage at the hands of Iceland.

But he produced probably his best display in an England jersey in Ljubljana, saving his team which struggled against high-energy, well-drilled opposition.

It was Southgate's second game in charge after replacing Sam Allardyce as coach, after a tedious home 2-0 win over Malta on Saturday.

In other matches in the group, Slovakia beat Scotland 3-0 and Lithuania best Malta 2-0.

England stayed in first place in the group, two points above Slovenia and Lithuania.

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