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Rashford strike puts England on brink of World Cup qualification

Rashford strike puts England on brink of World Cup qualification

Tuesday 05 September 2017

Rashford strike puts England on brink of World Cup qualification

Gareth Southgate’s men fight back from conceding an early to secure a 2-1 victory against Slovakia.

Marcus Rashford went from sinner to match-winner as England took control of their World Cup destiny with a tense 2-1 win over Slovakia at Wembley.

Rashford’s ill-conceived run from defence gifted the visitors the chance they needed to take a shock third-minute lead through Stanislav Lobotka but as England were flirting with calamity the 19-year-old embraced the opportunity to make amends.

He delivered the corner for Eric Dier’s near-post equaliser before half-time and won it for the Three Lions with a dipping 20-yard strike with the hour mark approaching, interventions which handed England a five-point lead in Group F with two games remaining.

What they said

England manager Gareth Soughgate speaking about Rashford: “He’s still a work in progress, as we saw at the beginning of the game, but he’s still getting stronger and his impact in taking people on, in getting us up the pitch in counter-attacks, was not only huge for the team but the crowd as well. He had a huge impact on the game.”Slovakia manager Jan Kozak: “All in all, we did well, but England controlled the game. They were better than us, especially in the second half.”

Tweet of the match

Star man – Marcus Rashford

After such a poor start to the game for the teenager, his response belied his formative years as he became England’s brightest attacker. His pace caused issues in the Slovakia defence for most of the evening and his goal proves he can get his side out of a hole if needed. This was more proof that the Manchester United man can be a big player for both club and country for years to come.

In with the crowd

Empty seats at Wembley (Mike Egerton/PA)

Parts of Wembley were completely closed off after slow ticket sales and an official attendance of 67,823 was given during the second half. The visiting Slovakian support made plenty of noise during the first half as England were slow and steady. The home supporters were quiet for large periods of the game and there were a smattering of jeers for Liverpool new-boy Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as well as his replacement Raheem Sterling.

Data point

Stanislav Lobotka
Stanislav Lobotka is mobbed by his Slovakia team-mates (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)

Lobotka’s strike was the first goal England have conceded in a competitive game at Wembley since a 3-1 win over Slovenia in November 14 – a run of seven matches.


Eric Dier and Marcus Rashford
Eric Dier (right) embraces Marcus Rashford after equalising against Slovakia (Nick Potts/PA)

England: Joe Hart 6, Kyle Walker 6, Gary Cahill 6, Phil Jones 7, Ryan Bertrand 5, Jordan Henderson 6, Eric Dier 7, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 5, Dele Alli 7, Marcus Rashford 7, Harry Kane 7. Substitutes: Raheem Sterling (for Oxlade-Chamberlain, 83) 6, Danny Welbeck (for Rashford, 84) 6, Jake Livermore (for Alli, 90) n/aSlovakia: Martin Dubravka 6, Peter Pekarik 6, Martin Skrtel 7, Jan Durica 6, Tomas Hubocan 7, Milan Skriniar 7, Stanislav Lobotka 7, Vladimir Weiss 7, Marek Hamsik 7, Robert Mak 6, Adam Nemec 7. Substitutes: Albert Rusnak (for Weiss, 67) 6, Michal Duris (for Nemec, 67) 6, Ondrej Duda (for Hamsik, 78) 6.

Who’s up next?

England v Slovenia (World Cup qualifier, October 5)

Scotland v Slovakia (World Cup qualifier, October 5)

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