West Ham goalkeeper Joe Hart told to show more "nastiness"

08 October, 2017, 00:33 | Author: Douglas Reid
  • Hart celebrates during the 2-1 win over Slovakia which saw England come from a goal down

Harry Kane scored late against Slovenia and Germany dominated Northern Ireland on Thursday as the two traditional powerhouses secured qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation.

England players celebrate after the game after qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

But which players does Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson believe should be on the plane to Russian Federation? We lost a goal early to a phenomenal strike, and the game plan we had in mind went out of the window after a minute and 20 seconds. "We've got other good goalkeepers", Southgate said.

England haven't been a major force in football for 50 years; the only time they've reached a final of a major tournament was when the World Cup was held in its own back yard in 1966.

But Cahill insisted: "Those are things we can learn".

The likes of Portugal, Holland and Italy might cast an envious eye at the Three Lions' qualification with a trip to Lithuania still to go but Thursday's arduous Wembley win over Slovenia - a grind on the pitch and a trial in the stands - felt anything but celebratory. "That was why it was imperative we got there".

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In many ways it makes sense: it's a system deployed by numerous country's finest sides, and which plays to the strengths of England's flying full-backs in particular.

"When you've got someone scoring goals it helps and hopefully I can continue that from now until then, we'll see what happens". You can't boil Spain's 2010 World Cup victory and Germany's 2014 triumph down to a single factor, but it's impossible to ignore the fact that both depended upon the core of a cohesive, intelligent club side (Barcelona and Bayern Munich, respectively).

"Yes, he didn't have a good Euros, but nor did quite a number of that England team so I think it's quite harsh if we just point the finger at Joe Hart".

Still, the big question is whether Southgate can succeed where Roy Hodgson and all of his recent predecessors failed by ensuring that England at least look and feel the part when they turn up in Russian Federation.

True, they are, England's sixth World Cup in a row, and perhaps the problem has always been the unrealistic expectations held by many in England, from the fans to the media. I'm delighted, the team are delighted. During its run England has had five different managers, but from the debris of the debacle at Euro 2016, when Roy Hodgson's team was sent home after losing to Iceland, England has barely improved.

Slovenia had chances themselves and could even have won the game had Joe Hart not made a courageous double save late on.

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