Sport

England players and fans must lift each other - Southgate

England players and fans must lift each other - Southgate

Several thousand supporters were left stranded outside Wembley for the start of England's World Cup qualifier against Slovakia.

In the last five games, England has two wins, two loss, and one draw whereas Slovakia has three wins and two loses.

England were unconvincing, with their midfield lacking invention, but they were still able to steady the ship by equalising through Eric Dier and then secure the win with a long-range Marcus Rashford effort in the second half.

"I saw someone in the England team who took responsibility, who wasn't afraid to take the ball forward, cajoling, encouraging his team-mates", said former Man United and Everton defender, as quoted on BBC 5 Live Sport's official Twitter account on Monday night.

"We have beaten big teams before and if we play at our best we can beat anyone, even England", he said. "Before the double-header against Slovenia and England, we wanted to have the situation in our own hands before the last two games and we still have the situation in our own hands".

Dier added: "We needed the win today, it gets us closer to the World Cup".

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Rashford's corner was poorly struck but Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dier showed a striker's instinct to get ahead of his marker and sweep a right-footed shot past Martin Dubravka. Having played for the first round of the qualifying stage, the English team, as expected, remains one of the favorites, being at the head of the group F. "He made the mistake for their goal, but he kept persevering".

"They are a good side with players we respect".

Southgate, who was capped 57 times but is perhaps best remembered for a missed penalty in the Euro '96 semi-final shoot-out with eventual winners Germany, said that while the fans may be disappointed with the overall performance he and the squad had got the job done.

"His work without the ball was top drawer, he really took intelligent positions, pressed them all over and his work with the ball was excellent. The referee's got a view of him walking towards him and if he's looking at that, and I'm pretty sure he says something when he gets substituted, there's a little chat going on there".

"That is the objective and to do it in the way we did [was great]". But for 40 minutes of Monday's game, Slovakia looked as though they had it within them to end that long unbeaten streak after taking a third-minute lead through Stanislav Lobotka.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kane and Alli all had chances soon after the break, but it was Rashford who eventually put England ahead.


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