England vs Slovenia end in a goal less draw
England claim a point to remain unbeaten in Group F, but Gareth Southgate will not be pleased with their performance.
England were thankful to the brilliance of goalkeeper Joe Hart and large slices of good fortune as they escaped with a draw from a torrid World Cup qualifier in Slovenia.
Joe Hart kept Slovenia at bay early in the second half to deny Jasmin Kurtic and Rene Khrin, while Josip Illicic almost missed a good opportunity to go with Kurtic and Roman Bezjak’s failures in the first half.
Joe Hart twice denied Josip Ilicic when he was played in by poor backpasses from Eric Dier and captain Jordan Henderson – but the highlight was a world-class reflex save when he turned Jasmin Kurtic’s header on to the crossbar seconds after half-time.
They deserved no more as Slovenia were the more dangerous side and even the introduction of Wayne Rooney, dropped by Southgate, for the last 18 minutes could not rouse a disappointing England, who at least still top Group F.
Rooney had a shot just wide and Jesse Lingard forced a fine save from Jan Oblak late on – but an England win would have been harsh on the hosts.
Southgate justified his decision to drop Rooney by highlighting the need to add extra bite into the England midfield and that increased intensity brought about their first chance.
“The overall objective is to qualify so long term that could be an important point. Everyone can see we could be better but their chances came from our mistakes or set-pieces.”We owe our goalkeeper really for getting a point. He was fantastic”-Gareth Southgate said.