England can officially confirm their spot at Russia 2018 with a victory over Slovenia at Wembley on Thursday night.
England have enjoyed another relatively comfortable World Cup qualifying campaign so far. Gareth Southgate’s teams only slip-ups have come away from home in draws against Slovenia and Scotland. The draw against Thursday’s opponents was the first time Slovenia have pick-up anything other than a defeat in five competitive matches.
England have a formidable record in World Cup qualifying, as they have suffered just one defeat in their last 30 qualifiers. At Wembley the Three Lions World Cup qualifying record is nearly as good, as they are currently on a run of 22 games unbeaten in qualifying, winning 20 times in that run of games.
In fact, England suffered just two home defeats in World Cup qualifying ever, which were inflicted by European heavyweights Italy and Germany. It is fair to say a Slovenia win would be a massive upset in this clash.
Slovenia are still mathematically in with a chance of catching the home side. However, a more realistic goal for the visitors is runners-up spot in the group. That is not an unrealistic prospect for Srecko Katanec’s side.
They are currently just one point behind second place Slovakia, although their rivals do look to have a more comfortable trip to Hampden to face Scotland, than Slovenia’s trip to Wembley.
Their form has been inconsistent of late, as the visitors have won two and lost two of their last four qualifiers. Last time out in qualifying they kept pace with Slovakia by recording a 4-0 home win over Lithuania.
The win just about kept the visitors in the race for qualification. However, a defeat in this clash and a win for Slovakia in Scotland would end their hopes of qualification.
It is quite simple England usually win their home games in qualifying and I am expecting nothing different from this clash. Also expect goals, as if England score early the floodgates may just open.