England left for Estadio Nacional d’Andora on Saturday night as they are just eight points away from securing their participation in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar as manager Gareth Southgate is celebrating five years in office.
Southgate have now joined a famous team of former England managers Walter Winterbottom, Sir Alf Ramsey, Bobby Robson and Soven-Goran Erickson to spend five years in the job.
It was on Friday five years ago that Southgate took charge of its first game, an ominous 2-0 home win against Malta, and it has been a line of steady progress ever since.
‘It’s nothing more than progress’
“It’s worth remembering the circumstances in which Southgate took charge,” he said Sky Sports News Reporter Rob Dorsett
“England were in turmoil: Sam Allardyce was in charge of just one game before his humiliating departure and a few months before that, England humiliatingly knocked Iceland out of the Euros – one of the worst days in England’s football history, you have to say.
“Since then, it’s been nothing more than progress. Yes, his protesters will still say he was very defensive at times, but you can’t deny he changed sides.
“Only four members of the current squad have played against Malta – Kyle Walker, John Stones, Jordan Henderson and Jesse Lingard – and the statistics prove that this is the most successful time in England since Sir Alf Ramsey won the World Cup.
“And perhaps some critics have an answer in the statistics: England have averaged more than two in a game – more productive than under Ericsson, Robson, Greenwood – and of course, England have reached a semi-final of the World Cup and a final of the European Championship in the last few years.
“Real, real progress has been made – and perhaps the biggest achievement is how Southgate has made this team so desirable.”
Southgate’s offensive dilemma
Much of the pre-match discussion centers on who will start next and how Southgate can fit the Man City trio of Phil Foden, Jack Grillish and Rahim Sterling into its three-member forward line.
“Faden is Man City’s best player so far this season, simple and straightforward, and it looks like he recovered completely from his foot injury at the start of the season,” Dorsett said.
“Meanwhile, Grillish have started each of City’s seven Premier League games this season – one goal and one assist.
“Pep Guardiola has used Foden and Grealish – and Gabriel Jesus – as part of a very fluid front three and they all change roles, both Grealish and Foden sometimes play as lie No. 9, which makes it very difficult to defend against the bar.
“Don’t expect Southgate to have one of the top 9 in the world, and it’s very difficult to try to get Foden, Grillish and Rahim Sterling on the field at the same time.
“Sterling has had less playing time at City this season, being on the bench five times out of seven, but he has been outstanding for England – 70 caps, 18 goals, 23 assists and he is still 26 years old.”
Another center of pre-match controversy over Harry Kane and whether the England captain will retain his place in the attack after a slow start to the season with Tottenham.
“Southgate could see two ways for this match,” Dorset said. “Will he start with his strongest XI in the hope that they will score a few goals up front and then he can rest some players for a more difficult game to come to Hungary on Tuesday night?
“Or will he give the second string something more of a runout, like Connor Cody and Tyrone Mings?”
“Why an interesting reason he hasn’t scored a Premier League goal yet and we know he had this ankle problem, got two injuries before and the 3G surface here isn’t the best.”
When can England qualify for the World Cup?
England need just three more wins to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar
Gareth Southgate’s side are currently four points behind second-placed Albania after six matches, with just four matches left in the first leg.
England travel to Andorra on Saturday evening, then host Hungary in fourth place at Wembley on Tuesday night এবং and they end their qualifying campaign by entertaining Albania on 12 November, three days later before a trip to San Marino under the table.
A win in England’s next three matches would give them an irresistible lead at the top of their group, although if Albania drops points in their next two matches, at Budapest and Poland’s home, Southgate can secure their next win if they match Andorra and Hungary. .
Team News: England captain Tripper
Kieran Trippier will captain England against Andorra on Saturday night. Sky Sports News Understands.
This will be the second time Atletico Madrid fullbacks have captained their country since leading them against Wales 12 months ago.
And that decision indicates why or why not Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson start on Saturday.
Ref Watch – The names of all the women’s office teams for Saturday’s qualifiers
An all-female refereeing team will take charge of England’s World Cup qualifiers in Andorra on Saturday.
Katrina Manzul has been named as the referee, along with Ukraine’s assistant referees Marina Stryletska and Svitlana Grushko.
The VAR is Stephanie Frapart of France, but the fourth official and assistant VAR are both men – Dennis Schuermann and Victor Mattash, respectively.
The historic moment is the first time a female has been referred to a senior men’s game in England.
Sterling wants to make history with England
In an exclusive interview, Manchester City forward Rahim Sterling reflects on his England career, which has already spanned nine years since his debut for the national team at the age of 17 …
- England have won all five of their matches against Andorra, scoring 20 goals and conceding none, all of which are qualifiers for the Euros or the World Cup.
- Andorra are the only nation to face England without scoring a single goal. They managed just one shot after losing 4-0 at Wembley in September.
- England drew 1-1 with Poland in their last World Cup qualifier, in the 30th minute. After losing to Russia and Croatia in November 200, they did not qualify for the two major tournaments in a row, eliminating the Three Lions from the competition at the 200 L Euro.
- After a run where they conceded 14 goals in four home matches – all defeats – Andorra are unbeaten in their last two home matches, a goalless draw against Gibraltar and a 2-0 win against San Marino.
- England were just minutes and 53 seconds behind in their last 1 international, all of which came against Denmark in the Euro 2020 semifinals. They have fallen behind in just two of their last two World Cup qualifiers, against Scotland in June 2017 (2-2 draw) and Slovakia (2-1 win) in September 2011.
- Andorra’s Max Lolovera has the most passes for his country to qualify for the 2022 World Cup (822 in five matches), although he managed just one of their 0-0 passes at Wembley. By comparison, three England players – Jordan Henderson (108), Connor Cody (105) and Tyrone Mings (100) – have all done more with a win against Andorns in September.
- Harry Kane’s England have scored one of England’s most competitive goals in a competitive international match – the only one in England’s history to have scored more goals in a competitive game than Wayne Rooney (). Rooney scored one goal every 154 minutes in a competitive game, and Ken scored an average of one goal every 11 minutes.
- Harry Kane has scored nine goals in 11 matches for England in 2021 – if he scores again, he will be the second player to score 10+ goals in multiple calendar years for the Three Lions, scoring 12 goals in 2019-2019; The other was Vivian Woodward, who scored 10 in 1908 and 11 in 1909.
How to follow England’s World Cup qualifiers
Follow Andorra vs England on Saturday, October 9 (7.45pm) via our live blog and watch free match highlights on the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel and app on the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel from 11pm.
England will then face Hungary on Tuesday, October 12 (kick-off 7.45pm), with free match highlights also available from 11am.