Harry Kane netted an injury-time winner to send England to the 2018 World Cup with a nervy 1-0 win over Slovenia at Wembley.

England had turned in a sheepish, apologetic performance for 90 minutes and needed a brave intervention from an injured Joe Hart to prevent their visitors taking the lead late in the game, but Kane poked home from close-range to kick off belated celebrations.

The captain’s 14th goal in his last nine appearances spared England the minor embarrassment of sidling into next summer’s tournament on the back of a disappointing stalemate but questions about the Three Lions’ readiness to make a mark in Russia were underlined.

What they said

England boss Gareth Southgate said: “I always felt that we would achieve the objective. I think tonight highlighted where we are. Of course we’d have loved to have played more fluidly and scored more goals. Was it the performance we wanted and the night we wanted? No, absolutely not. But I was given the job to keep things steady a year ago. The objective was to qualify for Russia. Now, we have the opportunity to look how do we evolve the team? We had to keep winning and we have to keep giving young players the opportunity to mature, so to marry those things is difficult.”Slovenia coach Srecko Katanec said: “Congratulations to England. They maybe didn’t really deserve this victory but they scored a goal. I wish them good luck at the World Cup. We played a very good game, our goal was to win – one point would not be enough to get to the World Cup. But I think my players deserve congratulations as well and I think we played a decent game and they can be proud.”

Tweet of the match

Star man – Marcus Rashford

Kane will grab the headlines for scoring the stoppage-time winner but a word for Rashford, who was otherwise England’s only bright spark during a dreary display.

Stat attack

Kyle Walker and Harry Kane combined for the winning goalKyle Walker laid Harry Kane’s winner on a plate (Frank Augstein/AP)

Kane’s late contribution, laid on by former Tottenham defender Kyle Walker, means eight of England’s last 10 goals have been either scored or assisted by Spurs players.

Moment of the match

Harry Kane was England's heroHarry Kane nets the winner (Frank Augstein/AP)

It could easily have been a paper aeroplane gliding onto the pitch, which had brought the biggest cheer of the night, until captain Kane stole the show with his late strike. The 24-year-old now has 14 goals in his last nine matches for club and country.


England: Joe Hart: 5, Kyle Walker: 4, Gary Cahill: 5, John Stones: 5, Ryan Bertrand: 7, Jordan Henderson: 6, Eric Dier: 5, Marcus Rashford: 8, Raheem Sterling: 6, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 5, Harry Kane: 8. Substitutes: Jesse Lingard (for Oxlade-Chamberlain, 64): 6, Michael Keane (for Sterling, 85): 5. Slovenia: Jan Oblak: 7, Bostjan Cesar: 6, Rene Krhin: 6, Josip Ilicic: 8, Andraz Sporar: 4, Bojan Jokic: 5, Roman Bezjak: 4, Miha Mevlja: 7, Rajko Rotman: 5, Benjamin Verbic: 6, Aljaz Struna: 6. Substitutes: Valter Birsa (for Sporar, 54): 6, Jan Repas (for Bezjak, 72): 7, Tim Matavz (for Rotman, 79): 6.

Who’s up next

Lithuania v England (World Cup Qualifying, October 8)

Slovenia v Scotland (World Cup Qualifying, October 8)