England qualify for 2018 World Cup in Russia


England have qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia following a 1-0 win over Slovenia at Wembley.

Captain Harry Kane’s stoppage time winner helped transform the Three Lions’ fortunes after a frustrating night.

England only needed a draw to qualify from Group F, but Tottenham star Kane diverted home Kyle Walker’s cross to give manager Gareth Southgate his seventh win of the qualifying campaign.

But the performance will have given Southgate much to ponder, with England limping to victory and largely unimpressive against a team ranked 55th in the world.

After a poor first half, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling and Kane all had efforts in quick succession during a brief spell of second half excitement.

But Slovenia also had their moments as they threatened to inflict a first qualifying defeat since 2009.

Scotland’s hopes of reaching Russia remain alive after a late winner gave them a 1-0 victory over 10-man Slovakia.

Slovakia captain Martin Skrtel turned a cross into his own net to spark pandemonium inside Hampden Park.

Gordon Strachan’s team face Slovenia in their final fixture and sit in second place, two points ahead of Slovakia.

Northern Ireland, who sit in second place in their group, remain well placed to seal a play-off spot despite a 3-1 defeat to world champions Germany.

Wales face a crunch game against Georgia on Friday as they look to consolidate their grip on second place ahead of their final game against the third-placed Republic of Ireland.

There are nine European qualifying groups for the tournament in Russia, and nations that finish at the top qualify automatically.

Eight of the nine teams that finish in second will then contest four two-legged play-offs for the right to join them.