Harry Kane delivered a stoppage-time winner over Slovenia to put the finishing touches on England's World Cup berth.

By 90Min
October 05, 2017

England successfully qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, as a late winner from Harry Kane put the shine on a mind-numbingly boring qualifier at Wembley.

England needed two points to secure qualification for the 2018 World Cup even without taking second-placed Slovakia's results into account. However, Slovenia, who sat in third-place, had a lot more to play for going into the game.

It would have been no surprise to Manchester United fans that Marcus Rashford quickly put himself forward as the Three Lions' best outlet. In the first five minutes, he passed the full-back down the flank twice and created attacking opportunities.

Clive Rose/GettyImages

Slovenia promptly settled into their deep defensive wall and England predictably failed to open them up. In a far more worrying turn of events, Slovenia's Ilicic was not tracked as he made a run in the penalty area and Joe Hart brought him down without touching the ball.

While Ilicic's tumble to his knees did not invite the referee to consider a penalty, the ease with which the visitors strolled into such a situation was concerning. Furthermore, Gareth Southgate had bizarrely decided to use Raheem Sterling in a number 10 role almost as if to accommodate him.

Besides a Jordan Henderson curled effort from the edge of the area which Jan Oblak comfortably saved and a speculative Harry Kane effort from distance, little was shown to enthuse the watching home fans at Wembley.

Almost as if to rub it in, Gareth Southgate then proved to everybody that the spirit of Roy Hodgson's England tenure was alive and well within him by making Kyle Walker take free kicks. 

Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

To the amazement of absolutely nobody, his effort from a position which Harry Kane, Eric Dier or Marcus Rashford (and probably anybody else in the team) would have tested Oblak from sailed high over the bar. The fans were likely pleased to hear the half time whistle when it came.

Ten minutes of the second half snailed by without anything more exciting happening than Ryan Bertrand missing a two-yard pass to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. In fact, Slovenia were beginning to grow in confidence.

At long last, England began to show more intent. First, Sterling and Rashford were involved in a two-on-two which led to Rashford inexplicably attempting to chip the keeper instead of calming placing it round him. Then, the former fired a shot which was blocked away by Bostjan Cesar. 

When Harry Kane clumped the ball wide after another Sterling effort on sixty-eight minutes, the buzz in the stadium began to rise (although possibly because of a Mexican wave). 

Sadly, another fifteen minutes of nothingness followed, and it was a frightening moment with Slovenia's Matavz running through on goal only to be denied by the onrushing Hart which provided the only fresh talking point. 

Six minutes of stoppage time remained between England and a World Cup place, especially with Scotland's goal at Hampden Park against Slovakia making it very unlikely that Slovakia would claim the win needed to put them under pressure.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. With two and a half minutes of stoppage time left, Oblak gave an errant throw of the ball straight to Walker, and the right-back supplied an inch-perfect low cross to the arriving Kane, who only had to touch the ball past the red-faced keeper.

You May Like