England take on Slovenia at Wembley on Thursday night with a place at next year's World Cup in Russia the prize for victory. Here's the lowdown:
What’s England’s record against Slovenia?
Four wins, one draw, no losses. Slovenia provided the only highlight of a dismal 2010 World Cup when a Jermain Defoe strike was enough to earn England their only victory of the tournament. Only a series of impressive stops from Joe Hart stopped Southgate’s side from losing when the two sides drew 0-0 earlier in qualifying.
Who’s in the dugout?
Srecko Katanec. A Serie A winner and European Cup runner-up as a player, Katanec appeared in only one official match for the Slovenia national team before retiring, having previously represented Yugoslavia. He established legendary status in Slovenian football as manager of a “golden generation” that qualified for Euro 2000 and the 2002 World Cup. He returned for a second stint four years ago.
Which players will I recognise?
Familiar with Turkish, Russian or Slovenian football? Well then you might struggle to name many of the players lining up against England but one who will be familiar is Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak — one of the most miserly keepers in Europe in recent seasons.
Are they in good form?
They’ve won their last three at home — albeit only against Lithuania, Malta and Finland — but their away form has been patchy. They’ve lost their last two on the road in qualifying against direct rivals for second place; Scotland and Slovakia.
What’s riding on this game?
Defeat could officially end their qualification hopes if Slovakia also beat Scotland. Slovakia are currently ahead of both by just a single point and play bottom side Malta in their final game so Slovenia will most likely need a result from Wembley regardless.