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England drift to 20/1 after an uninspiring start under Sam Allardyce

The Liverpool midfielder's last-ditch goal saves Big Sam's blushes in his first game as Manager in Slovakia

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The tedious 0-1 win ultimately saw the England lads pushed out to to lift the World Cup in Russia, a feat which even the most hard-core of supporters are conceding is way out of their grasp.

Slovakia arguably looked to be England’s toughest challenge in Group F. And whilst we don’t want to disturb Big Sam’s celebrations of a cup of Bovril and a microwaved Ginsters pasty, something must be done to ensure frustrating nights like this end soon.

 

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It was far from a sexy start for Big Sam, as England fans settled down on their sofas to be subjected to the same dire football they saw at Euro 2016.

Failing to muster a shot on target until the 65th minute, the game looked as though it was set to end goalless. A feat which would have been England’s second 0-0 draw in two months against Slovakia.

It was just as fans reached their most morbid state – or when they’d turned over to Antiques Roadshow or anything else more stimulating than the game – that Liverpool’s Adam Lallana saved the day in the 95th minute.

 

The Liverpool midfielder scored his first goal in 27 games for England as he stabbed home the shot from close range. He was 9/1 to bag the opener prior to the match.

It was no surprise that the goal should come from him. He single-handedly led the England charge in the final, dying stages of the game. Hitting the post and forcing a fine save from Matus Kozacik before snatching the winner with a low shot.

The scrappy goal, which although came from a place of determination and patience, did little other than gloss over the continued issues with the Three Lions team. It seems even Big Sam’s morale-boosting quiz nights could not turn the England lads around.

 

The first half was a mixture of pain and paint drying, with hints of Slovakia captain Martin Skrtel reminding Liverpool fans exactly what they aren’t missing. A yellow card in the first half eventually led to red at the hour mark – and it still took the Three Lions 30 minutes to break down Slovakia’s defence.

It may be down to Allardyce’s squad selection and his eagerness to stick with players that failed to perform against 34th-ranked Iceland in France.

Or it may be the way England played in Trnava on Sunday night. Slow motion, predictable and reeking of the performances seen under Roy Hodgson just a few months ago.

 

England have attempted a whopping 49 shots, including blocks, in their past two matches against Slovakia and scored only once. Harry Kane was starved of any service and was having to handle Skrtel, who seemed determined to snap his legs in half.

This left fans crying out for the likes of Jamie Vardy and Ross Barkley for a bit of attacking creativity. Even teenager Marcus Rashford, who offered some excitement for England at the Euros, and plenty more for Manchester United including a recent 92nd-minute winner against Hull.

Big Sam now has four weeks to prepare & improve before England host Malta in the next fixture on the road to the World Cup 2018.

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