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2018 World Cup Russia: England 1-0 Slovenia

2018 FIFA Russia World Cup Qualifiers: England 1-0 Slovenia

Match Report
England 1-0 Slovenia
England goal: Harry Kane 90 +3:04

Superstar Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane saved England by scoring a late stoppage-time winner that sealed England’s spot in next summer’s World Cup tournament in Russia. England goalie Joe Hart gets credit for the clean sheet. Do not wait, buy England World Cup tickets securely online along with all other football tickets for 2018 FIFA Russia World Cup tickets securely online from the world’s top football ticket online marketplace – LiveFootballTickets.com! On Thursday England qualified with a game to spare for World Cup Russia following a stoppage time winner over Slovenia as Harry Kane struck in the fourth minute of time added on at Wembley Stadium. Going into the clash, England only needed two points from their final two matches but took all three at Wembley thanks to Kane's 94th-minute miracle goal.

Fans are delighted that England are heading to the World Cup securing their passage with a late goal from England captain Harry Kane after a tough and brittle match. Kane's strike, scored four minutes into second-half stoppage time did not disguise the fact that England manager Gareth Southgate's side had a hard fight to win at Wembley and will not have an easy time in Russia. England has a trip to Lithuania coming up on Sunday. To date England have not lost in their last 20 World Cup qualifiers in a run that goes back 8 years. And to boot, England have topped their World Cup qualification group for the sixth time in succession. England are now 13th in the FIFA rankings. Slovenia dominated possession in the match but struggled to create and were unable to score a single goal to the credit of the England defense. The first opportunity of the game went to the visitors, with Josip Ilicic's penalty appeal turned down after contact was made by England goalie Joe Hart. The Slovenian forward teed up Roman Bezjak as the away team threatened to cause the upset they needed to keep their World Cup hopes alive.

England's best opportunity of the first half went to Jordan Henderson but adept Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak got down well to stop the midfielder's low effort. The Slovenia stopper was not beaten until after the hour mark but Marcus Rashford's tame chip was cleared by Miha Mevlja. However the close call energised England but an amazing double block by Slovenia captain Bostjan Cesar denied Raheem Sterling. Kane’s effort went wide before smart goalkeeping by Joe Hart prevented sub Tim Matavz from scoring for the visitors. Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane reportedly is auditioning for the captaincy on a regular basis. Kane's remarkable award-winning September form is continuing into October. The calls to give him the captain's armband on a permanent basis will only grow ahead of next year's World Cup in Russia.

After the match, the managers were interviewed by the media. "We would have liked to have played more fluidly and scored more goals. We played a team that made it really difficult to create chances,” said England boss Gareth Southgate. "We are having to find a way of winning by being a bit more savvy because we are not flowing with the ball. But we do have goalscorers." "Congratulations to England, they maybe not deserved this victory but they scored a goal,” said Slovenia manager Srecko Katanec "I wish them luck at the World Cup. My players deserve congratulations as well, they played a decent game and can be proud."

Squads
England manager Gareth Southgate made two changes in his side from their 2-1 win against Slovakia in September as John Stones replaced the injured Phil Jones and Raheem Sterling came in for the suspended Dele Alli.

England
Hart; Walker, Stones, Cahill, Bertrand; Dier, Henderson; Oxlade-Chamberlain; Sterling, Rashford; Kane.
Slovenia
Oblak; Struna, Mevlja, Cesar, Jokic; Bezjak, Krhin, Rotman, Verbic; Ilicic; Sporar.
Referee: Felix Zwayer (Germany).
Man of the match: Harry Kane

Scotland also left it late to see off Slovakia and move up into second in Group F while Germany triumphed in Northern Ireland to book their Russia spot next summer. Next England conclude their World Cup Qualifying campaign away to Lithuania on Sunday. With their place at the World Cup already secure, Southgate may opt to experiment with his player options. Meanwhile, Slovenia host Scotland in what will be a crunch final qualifier with a play-off place on the line. Harry Kane’s side. Potential England captain made the news with a questionable comment by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola that was attacked by Kane’s Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Guardiola was branded 'sad' and 'very disrespectful' by Pochettino in an angry rant as he talked about Tottenham’s fury at a rival manager calling them 'the Harry Kane team' Pochettino repeatedly called Guardiola's comments about Kane 'sad'. The Spurs manager said his football players were laughing about it but his coaching staff were angry. Guardiola made the remark after Manchester City had won at Chelsea on their last outing before the international break.

'It was funny when I heard him because I know Pep very well,' said Pochettino, who previously worked in Barcelona for years as a player and manager of Espanyol. 'He was excited after an amazing victory against Chelsea and sometimes he struggles to keep his position and be a gentleman. I take that situation and it didn’t affect me but in reality, it was very disrespectful for many people. And it is difficult to understand because Pep was part of the big success at Barcelona when it was Messi at his best. 'I never said it was the Messi team. I always said it was Barcelona and with respect to Guardiola,” added Pochettino. 'Everyone deserves to be recognised as being part of the success of the team. Many people took those words as very sad and disrespectful to the club and many players who are here thought it was a strange situation. I didn’t take it badly, it was not disrespectful to me but, for a lot of people, it was unnecessary to say that.'

Kane has been in brilliant goal form for the Spurs and for England scoring 15 goals in his last 10 games for club and country. 'Harry Kane is one of the best strikers in the world,' said Pochettino. 'Of course, he is an important part of the success of Tottenham. But it is a collective sport and everyone needs to do their job. Sometimes it’s difficult, sometimes the temptation is to be recognise some players. You can remember Mario Kempes in 1978, and Diego Maradona in 1986, and the Dream Team with Johan Cruyff, and the Messi Team, the best team in the world.'

There may be bad blood developing between giant club manager Guardiola and Pochettino who said he expected a call from Guardiola to apologise for the Kane remarks during the international break, to explain his mistake, but none came. 'I was sure he would call me,' said the Spurs boss. 'We have a lot of mutual friends, and some people on his staff are very good friends of mine but he didn’t call me yet. 'It is a sad comment. He’s a great manager, one of the best in the world, why make that comment, it doesn’t help him. It’s good for no-one,” said Pochettino. 'You’re a manager you must show more. Be above this type of comment.I respect his opinion but it’s sad, a sad comment and it’s not right in football when we want to show fair play and respect. Our responsibility is massive. The players were laughing about it.'

As professional football players Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino both competed in Barcelona - Guardiola at Nou Camp, Pochettino at city rivals Espanyol. Both started their managerial careers at the same clubs. Guardiola led Lionel Messi and Barca to Champions League glory. Meanwhile, Pochettino helped Espanyol escape relegation. Pochettino became the first Espanyol manager to win a Barcelona Derby at the Nou Camp in 27 years when his side earned a 2-1 victory in February 2009. That defeat by Pochettino’s Espanyol side was also Guardiola’s first home defeat as Barcelona manager. Pochettino later delivered Guardiola's first defeat in England, a 2-0 loss last October that derailed Manchester City who then appeared destined to power to the Premier League title. “Both managers are champions of possession-based, attacking football coupled with an intense high-pressing game.”

'I don’t just think he’s one of the best managers in England, he’s one of the best football managers in the world,' said the Manchester City boss Guardiola after joining his rival in England football last year. ‘I enjoy watching Tottenham. What he’s doing is an amazing job. If I had not been a coach, I would be just a fan, or if I was a young coach who wanted to become a coach, and I would see Tottenham and say “I would like to play that way”.’ Pochettino was less cordial last September when he said that Guardiola got more attention than him, despite their similar managerial styles. The Argentine said that he had risen up ‘the hard way. ‘Guardiola is the face of a new managerial era, in which the vision of romantic football was mixed with new technology,' said Pochettino. ‘He is the face but it’s not only Guardiola. I have been involved and so have different managers like Luis Enrique and Diego Simeone. We are the same age and in the same level. Guardiola was the face because good results always put you at the top. I think always you can see better when you have Messi in your team.

‘Yes, I have done it the hard way. I was a player at Espanyol and I had the possibility to work [as the manager] at a difficult moment, a difficult period for Espanyol,’ continued Pochettino. 'He is the best manager in the world, he showed quality at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.' Pochettino talked about the way he is viewed back in his home country compared with Guardiola, a Spaniard, saying: 'In Argentina they say it’s “Erik Lamela’s Spurs”, not Pochettino's. 'But notice that in Argentina "Guardiola begins to think about retirement" versus “Pochettino ends Antonio Conte’s unbeaten run”. 'I get it. I played for Newell’s. I was on the national team, but I wasn’t a great player. I understand that I have to do many more things to have the attention of the Argentine media and for that to get me closer to the people.'

'It's in September, so Chelsea won 15 games in a row last season, were unbeatable and won the league, not easy, but they won it in advance,’ said Guardiola. 'Of course this season has a little more problems because they Chelsea play every three days, that's always more complicated for all the teams. But we also have United, we saw again the Harry Kane team scores every day two or three goals.'  Pep Guardiola picked up his own manager of the month award along with his backroom team.