Germany, England Qualify For 2018 FIFA World Cup

Hart celebrates during the 2-1 win over Slovakia which saw England come from a goal down

England have progressed through to their 15th World Cup following a slender, and soulless, 1-0 victory over Slovenia, meaning they can't be caught at the summit of qualifying Group F.

Harry Kane is embraced by Gareth Southgate after England's late win.

The 23-year-old now has 17 caps for the Germany national team.

"What the team have been through over 18 months and as a young team what they're having to deal with in terms of expectation and criticism of their performances, it's tough for them", Southgate said.

"We had to keep winning and we have to keep giving young players the opportunity to mature, so to marry those things is hard".

"They are giving absolutely everything they have got".

The Derby Counter midfielder rifled in the victor four minutes after half-time in Tbilisi as Chris Coleman's side pulled to within a point of Group D leaders Serbia, who would qualify with a win in Austria later.

"It is a work in progress and when I was given the job the aim was to qualify for the World Cup". But they will give everything they've got for the shirt and they are going to improve over the next few years. That isn't their fault.

"That isn't their fault so we have to give them the belief and the backing to achieve".

Immediately after the game, the Football Association announced England will play friendlies against Brazil and world champions Germany at Wembley in November.


Southgate knows there is plenty of work to do to prevent next year's World Cup going the same way as recent major tournament displays, with the manager under no illusions of the task ahead of him.

He said: "You look at that England team and you think if every one of those players played to their best, we've got a good chance".

"We're a squad. We stay together as a squad". The talismanic Tottenham striker snatched Southgate's side the win they needed to secure qualification for Russian Federation 2018.

England were jeered at times by a crowd of 61,000 in the national stadium, who demonstrated their boredom by throwing paper aeroplanes onto the pitch, but the result ensured they qualified with a game to spare and extended their unbeaten record in qualifying to 38 matches, a run stretching back to 2009 in a game with no stakes in Ukraine.

When England travel to Russian Federation, it will be 52 years since the 1966 World Cup victory on home soil.

"No, not relief", Southgate said.

"I've seen Bobby Robson get to a World Cup semi-final and was hammered up probably until the quarter-final stage".

"I'm able to rationalise it all".

Slovenia coach Srecko Katanec revealed he will step down after his side's final game at home to Scotland.

"In the end, it's crucial for English football to be at the World Cup". "I don't think you can describe the feeling".

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