Many TV pundits – even the England manager – have used the phrase the Three Lions are ‘on the cusp’ of World Cup qualification.
We got out of jail against Malta with those three late goals. England cannot afford to take any chances against second-placed Slovakia.
Victory will put us in a healthy place. But it’s not a given. Slovakia are good. No mistake.
Southgate knows that tonight’s opponents are not to be taken lightly. This latest challenge will not be easy.
England lead Group F by two points and a win over second-placed Slovakia will nudge them closer to qualification.
England’s record at the new Wembley is phenomenal – just one defeat – but nothing can be taken for granted.
I’m sure England will qualify for the finals in Russia, but we need to start showing a bit more style…
…and give us the belief we can win a major tournament for the first time since that magical, unforgettable moment back in ’66.
Southgate thinks he’s got a group of players who can take the national team forward. Now’s the time to prove it.
That’s the message from the boss who says: “We have some exciting players and we want to show that.”
As quoted on the BBC Sport website – http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/41070207 – Southgate spoke of the need to get the ‘Wembley crowd on their feet’.
The England manager added: “Everywhere we go in the world the home crowd give the team a lift. It will be great if we can get the level of support that stadium can bring.
“The whole country wants to be at the World Cup. It is a great opportunity for us.”