Gareth Southgate’s brave new era as permanent England manager started with defeat to Germany on Wednesday night, but there were some positives to take from that 1-0 loss in Dortmund.
Southgate’s 3-4-3 was a throwback to the adventure of Terry Venables and Glenn Hoddle, and a departure from the rigid shapes seen under most of the managers since.
The front three of Dele Alli, Jamie Vardy and Adam Lallana were lively throughout, with the Liverpool man unlucky to see his first-half shot hit the foot of the post.
Debutant Michael Keane was assured at the back, and it took a Lukas Podolski thunderbolt to take the gloss of what was a solid performance against the world champions.
Next up are far less illustrious opponents, as Lithuania visit Wembley for a World Cup qualifier on Sunday.
Sitting 107th in the world rankings to England’s 14th, on paper it is a mismatch – and Southgate will be keen to avoid any complacency here.
There was no such carelessness in their only previous meetings two years ago – the Three Lions dispatched Lithuania 4-0 and 3-0 on their road to France last summer.
England have conceded just one goal in their last seven qualifiers at Wembley, and Joe Hart has kept clean sheets in each of England’s four games so far in this group.
I’d be surprised if he was worked too hard on Sunday.
England to win to nil is 8/15 with 188BET, which I advise backing.
Wayne Rooney opened the scoring after six minutes in this fixture in 2015, and the Three Lions do tend to spring out of the traps at home.
In Southgate’s three matches at Wembley, the first goal has come in the 29th, 23rd, and 9th minutes.
With Lithuania likely to sit deep and invite pressure, I think the onslaught could start early this weekend too.
I suggest selling the time of the first goal at 29 with Sporting Index, and putting your feet up for what should be a routine victory for the Three Lions.
England to win to nil - 8/15 (188BET)
Sell time of first goal - 29 (Sporting Index)