Meetings between the Auld Enemies have mostly been close-run things in recent times. However, last night’s was anything but, as England chalked up a commanding 3-0 victory to maintain their two-point cushion at the top of Group F.
However, while the focus will have been on getting the three points and avoiding an upset, there was more than just a win for England fans to savour, with several huge positives in the performance.
Winning in the air
While England outpassed and outclassed the opponents on the ground for much of yesterday’s game, it was in the air where the hosts really made the difference at Wembley.
All three of the home side’s goals came from headers, with Daniel Sturridge’s instinctive flick, Adam Lallana’s angled nod and Gary Cahill’s towering clincher showing the intelligent movement, and varied threat this England side have in the air.
That could be a similarly powerful weapon against a Spain side who fielded a number of talented but diminutive players in their last outing, against Albania.
Scottish forwards Hart-broken
The strikers of Serie A have struggled to find a way past Joe Hart since his summer move to Torino, but last night it was Scotland’s finest who were frustrated by the Manchester City loanee.
An impressive stop with his legs from Robert Snodgrass’ first-half attempt was the best of the bunch from the England skipper, but he looked confident and convincing throughout the game, leading Southgate’s side to their fourth consecutive clean sheet.
Speaking of which…
Defensive solidity a key factor
Gareth Southgate’s sides have typically been difficult to break down, with a strong defensive core – and he’s continued to trust the quartet of Danny Rose, Gary Cahill, John Stones and Kyle Walker to build an increasingly solid unit.
That foursome have featured in three of England’s four World Cup 2018 qualifying, with the latter three playing every minute of the campaign so far.
With an excellent blend of technical skill and toughness, they’re one of only three sides yet to concede in qualifying.
Up next for Southgate’s men is a meeting with Spain at Wembley on Tuesday, and on present form, the hosts look great value for victory at 19/10.
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