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AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR PREVIEW: Lithuania v England

[dropcap]E[/dropcap]ngland hold an aggregate 9-0 lead over Lithuania in three games and there is a school of thought that now top spot in the Group is secure we might at last see England unleashed into a more exciting style of football.

Or will it be another 90th minute late 1-0 winner for England?

It might well have just been about the results up until now but Gareth Southgate’s men have got to move away from the usual borefest and show some sparkle to make us all think that the hard earned trip to Russia won’t be in vein.

Qualifiers are qualifiers but deep in recent memory is etched England’s failure to get out off their Group in World Cup 2014 and being frozen out by Iceland in Euro 2016.

The points are on the board and the jury (well at least me) is out on the brand of football that England are currently displaying.

England’s late winner against Slovenia midweek did little to disguise what a dire match it was – acknowledged by Southgate who said: “Everyone was disappointed with the performance, none more so than me. We want to learn things from the game and don’t want to waste that opportunity.

“We’ll make changes but want to get the balance right. It is a results business – but the way I want to play is to entertain as well.

“We were very clear in our mind how we wanted to evolve and we’ve got an extra game to do that now, which is a great opportunity to look at a couple of things.”

Dele Alli is back from suspension and frankly they should be putting several goals past Lithuania who could only draw 1-1 with Malta last time out.

Joe Hart is replaced by Jack Butland in goal and with Hart still dropping the occasional (you know what) he gets his chance to really show what he can do.

Southgate said: “He has been patient, his form has been good. It’s a good opportunity for Jack.”

Lithuania v England
FIFA World Cup 2018 Qualifier
17:00 ITV

HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches)
Mar 2017 WORLD CUP England 2-0 Lithuania
Oct 2015 EURO CHAMPIONSHIPS Lithuania 0-3 England
Mar 2015 EURO CHAMPIONSHIPS England 4-0 Lithuania

Southgate has called for supporters to get more behind their national side but that’s a two-way street. Let’s have something more to take to Russia with, otherwise it will be a vodka and a prayer.

England / England at 5/6 makes appeal on the HT/FT market. And if it’s 0-0 at half-time I really will turn to the vodka.


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