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Slovakia vs England Preview: Prediction and Team News

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Sam Allardyce will take charge of his first match as England manager on Sunday evening, when his side face Slovakia in their opening 2018 World Cup qualifier.

England have won their last 12 qualifying matches for tournaments, including all 10 games on the road to Euro 2016. Slovakia have won just two of their last eight competitive internationals.

Team News

England players will be keen to redeem themselves and impress their new coach after their disastrous end to their Euro campaign. Allardyce has made three changes to the England team that lost 2-1 to Iceland at Euro 2016 with starts for John Stones, Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana. New Torino goalkeeper Joe Hart retains his place in goal for the opener after an arm injury to preferred Southampton's Fraser Foster.

England team to face Slovakia: Hart; Walker, Cahill, Stones, Rose; Dier, Henderson; Lallana, Rooney, Sterling; Kane

Slovakia only managed 4 shots on goal compared to 29 for Engloand during their goaless clash at the Euros. Slovakia Coach Jan Kozak has made some big changes for this matchup dropping team veterans Vladimir Weiss, Miroslav Stoch, Jan Mucha, and Stanislav Sestak. Napoli's Marek Hamsik makes a return as does captain and talisman Martin Skrtel with call ups for unknown quantities Jakub Holubek and Jackub Povazanec.

Prediction

In the two teams last encounter, the Slovaks sat back and played ultra-defensive football as only 1 point was required for the team to advance to the next round in the Euros. Their objective will be much different for this game so expect a more open match. Slovakia have picked up a number of injuries in midfield and upfront leaving Kozak with only defensive midfielders as options, however they will still be looking to play more attacking football, particularly on the break while staying compact at the back. Kozak will not be happy with a goalless draw here.

The likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli will likely be keen to impress their new national coach after underwhelming Euro 2016 performances, while Antonio will be desperate to show Allardyce what he can do after his first call-up. In comparison to England, Slovakia lack options and talent, but they will be hard to break down. Expect a hard fought England win with Slovakia to nick one on the break.

Predicted Score: Slovakia 1 - England 2

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