Kane’s last gap winner sends below par England to the World Cup Finals
06 October, 2017
WORLD CUP QUALIFYING
ENGLAND 1 (Kane 94 )
PAPER planes, a boring game, a pitch invader and Harry Kane.
The Spurs and England goal king, celebrated his captaincy for the night, with the injury time winner, that ensured England’s qualification for next Summers’ World Cup in Russia.
But In the end, this bizarre international match will be best remembered for a boringly poor England performance and the slow trajectory of hand- made paper aereoplanes.
Against weak opposition England struggled and failed to entertain. Against far better opposition next Summer, the Three Lions’ usual tournament misery could well be set to continue.
“Are we going to be like Spain, in eight months? No”, said a candid Gareth Southgate, after the match.
But, the England coach also paid tribute to his captain: “It was great that the captain (Kane) kept scoring. A little bit of leadership is also starting to emerge,” said Southgate.
Despite Kane’s matchwinner, Southgate was still mindful of the team’s performance:
“There is frustration. But, we stuck at it. We have to be a team that scores late goals, and not concede them.”
The first half was arguably one of the dullest and poorest from an England side in quite some time, with only long range efforts from Kane and Jordan Henderson to show for 45 minutes work.
By the hour mark, and with the crowd and game drifting to sleep, the noise levels had finally livened up, but only because of the roars from the crowd that greeted the long-range paper darts that managed to touchdown on the Wembley pitch.
“I was aware of everything, but was focused on the game, ” said Southgate, when asked about the planes versus drab footballing entertainment.
On the pitch, England continued to lack belief.
On 63 minutes, Sterling and Rashford found themselves clean through on goal.
Sterling didn’t have the confidence to go on himself, but instead left it to Rashford who chipped the ball when he should have smashed it.
Rashford’s weak effort was cleared off the line by Miha Mevlja.
It could have got even more embarrassing for England on 83 minutes when Tim Matavz was put through on goal, but Joe Hart spared England’s blushes twice when he saved smartly and then blocked the rebound from Aljaz Struna.
“It was a great save from Joe Hart,’ said Southgate.
With the game still scoreless, and a brief interruption from a pitch invader, England were still heading to Russia anyway, due to results elsewhere in the group.
But, deep into six minutes of injury time, the otherwise dreadful Kyle Walker found his best cross of the night, and there was Kane to toe poke home past Slovenian keeper Jan Obiak.
The Atletico Madrid shot stopper beat the turf with the palm of his hand in frustration, and England had somehow sneaked the win they didn’t deserve.
ENGLAND: Hart; Walker, Cahill, Stones, Bertrand; Henderson, Dier, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Lingard 63) Sterling (Keane 84) Rashford; Kane SUBS: Butland, Pickford, Trippier, Smalling, Maguire, Livermore, Defoe, Sturridge, Winks
SLOVENIA: Starting X1 : Oblak, Cesar, Struna, Jokic, Mevlja; Rotman, Krhin, Bezjak, Ilicic, Verbic, Sporar