Slovakia vs England
European Qualifiers – 2018 World Cup
Date: Sunday; 4-September-2016
Kick-off: 17:00 UK
Venue: Stadion Antona Malatinskeho (Trnava).
England national football team start their life under new manager Sam Allardyce as they kick-off their World Cup qualification campaign with a trip to face Slovakia on Sunday evening.
The Three Lions want to put behind their poor showing at the Euro 2016 final tournament in France as soon as possible. With a hostile home media on their back all the time, this is going to an extremely difficult task for the new head-coach Sam Allardyce and the players alike. Coming back to the qualifiers, England maintained a 100% win record during the Euro 2016 qualification phase. Also they were unbeaten during the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers with 6 wins and 4 draws. So the team is capable of doing a clean job during the qualifiers.
Slovakia had a decent tournament in France until they were knocked out by Germany in the round of 16. They were grouped together with England and managed to earn a goal-less draw during that time. The positives for Slovakia is that the core of their squad hasn’t changed at all and Jan Kozak will have the luxury of working with familiar players. They failed to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and their only appearance at the inter-continental tournament came during the 2010 edition in South Africa, where they made it to the round of 16.
Slovakia: Team News
There are no surprises in Jan Kozak’s 23-man squad to face England on Sunday. Markek Hamsik remains the key player to watch out for, while the likes of Miroslav Stoch and Robert Mak has plenty of pace and skill the English defense.
Slovakia: Expected Starting Line-up vs England (4-2-3-1)
Kozacik – Hubocan, Durica, Skrtel, Pekarik – Kucka, Pecovsky – Weiss, Mak, Hamsik – Duda.
England: Team News
From the first impression, it seems like Sam Allardyce has got it right in his team selection for the World Cup qualifier against Slovakia. Jack Wilshere is rightly dropped from the squad together with Ross Barkley and Ryan Bertrand.
The exciting versatile winger from West Ham, Michail Antonio has earned up his first call, while Danny Drinkwater and Theo Walcott has been recalled to the squad after missing out on the Euros.
It is almost certain that Joe Hart will keep his place between the posts with Southampton goal-keeper Fraser Foster suffering an injury.
England: Expected Starting Line-up vs Slovakia (4-2-3-1)
Hart – Walker, Cahill, Smalling, Rose – Dier, Henderson – Alli, Sterling, Rooney – Kane.
Slovakia vs England: Head-to-Head
The latest meeting between the two sides was during the final match day of the group stages at the Euro 2016, where they settled for a 0-0 stalemate.
England are unbeaten in the four meetings against Slovakia with 3 wins and a draw.
Their previous two legged meeting was for at the 2004 Euro qualifiers where England won both and away leg by 2-1 margin.
Slovakia vs England: Prediction
England will be looking for a positive start after disappointing Euros and Sam Allardyce has the luxury of a fully fit squad. However, it remained to be seen how quickly the players adjust to the new manager.
While Slovakia have a good home record and lost only once in the last 14 games played in front of their home fans. At the same time, they haven’t defeated England in the four meetings so far and conceded 8 goals from the three meetings before the Euro 2016.
So England will go in as slight favourites and the defensive vulnerabilities of both sides increase the probability of over 2.5 goals. I will be also backing a 2-1 win in favour of England.
Slovakia vs England: Betting Tips
Both Teams to Score and England to win at 4/1 (5.00)
Over 2.5 goals at 7/5 (2.40).