Competition: World Cup Qualifier Date: Sunday 4th September 2016 Venue: Stadion Antona Malatinského Kick-Off: 17:00 BST
New England boss Sam Allardyce will make three changes from the side that was defeated by Iceland at Euro 2016, with John Stones, Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana coming in to replace Chris Smalling, Dele Alli and Daniel Sturridge.
Joe Hart will keep his place in goal despite not starting a league game this season, with England’s number one completing a Deadline Day loan move to Torino in midweek.
The road to the 2018 World Cup in Russia begins for England this afternoon, with the Three Lions looking to erase the demons from another disappointing international campaign. An embarrassing defeat to Iceland at Euro 2016 cost Roy Hodgson his job, leaving former Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce preparing for his first game in charge.
Despite the change in leadership, there isn’t set to be too many changes on the field and Wayne Rooney will become England’s most-capped outfield player, overtaking David Beckham’s record of 115 appearances. The Manchester United skipper has announced he will retire after the next World Cup, with the early announcement being criticised by many.
Slovakia will take courage from the fact they drew 0-0 with England at Euro 2016 and have a strong record at home, losing just one of their last 14 international matches. However, England won all 12 of their last qualifying games for major tournaments and reached this summer’s tournament in France with a perfect record- although that didn’t help them in the tournament itself.
It’s fair to say that England face the toughest of their group opponents today, with matches against Scotland, Malta, Slovenia and Lithuania to follow. A draw here wouldn’t necessarily be a bad result but Allardyce will be looking for a perfect start.
Likely England XI
Hart, Walker, Cahill, Stones, Rose, Henderson, Dier, Sterling, Rooney, Lallana, Kane
England have won 12 matches in a row during qualification for a major international tournament- with their last defeat coming in 2009 against Ukraine.
Slovakia have lost just one of their last 14 matches at home.