EURO 2024 PREVIEW | England v Slovenia

England will aim to confirm their knockout berth in the final matchday of the Euros group stages with a win when they face Slovenia on Tuesday night in Cologne.

England have managed to accrue four points from a possible six from the first two matchdays as they have been an example of a lacklustre side despite having adequate firepower within their ranks. Criticism has been directed towards coach Gareth Southgate who has not been able to use his squad in their preferred roles.

The Three Lions have been called out by the media and their supporters for sitting back too much for the majority of the game as the team have appeared to be out of ideas at several moments. While they got away thanks to Jude Bellingham’s header in the tournament opener versus Serbia, England were held back against Denmark, who exploited Southgate’s tactics quite comfortably. Harry Kane executed an effortless close-range finish in the 18th minute but Morten Hjulman’s long-range banger struck parity on the scoreline.

England have found it hard to press the opposition and the lack of game time for players like Kobbie Mainoo, Conor Gallagher and Cole Palmer is raising eyebrows.

Courtesy of their win over Serbia, the Three Lions can top their group with a victory on Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, Slovenia will hope to mirror Denmark’s gameplan and produce an upset by beating England. The former Yugoslavia nation are yet to taste victory in the Euros finals and they will have to fight tooth and nail if they want to win against the group leaders.

Matjaz Kek’s men had the momentum on their side in the first two matchdays but came away with 1-1 draws in both outings. Interestingly, they bring an eight-match unbeaten streak to this game and they can still qualify for the Round of 16 by getting a positive result or a draw against England. Although they have to rely on the result between Denmark and Serbia if the latter happens.

Slovenia were on course to grab the win against Serbia but Luka Jovic’s added time strike broke their hearts and they had to settle for a point. The Slovenians are flying high this year and anything outcome is possible for them.

Results from their last five matches across all competitions

England: D W L W D

Slovenia: D D D W W

Team News

Gareth Southgate has a tough job on his hands to select the starting line-up for the match. A renewed look at formations might be explored as Trent Alexander-Arnold has failed to impress playing in midfield.

Conor Gallagher might get the nod. Eberechi Eze might be introduced to support from the left. Jude Bellingham looked fatigued in the last match and it is likely for him to start from the bench.

As for Slovenia, Benjamin Sesko is fully fit to start the match after injury scares loomed following his mid-match withdrawal from the match against Serbia.

Star goalkeeper Jan Oblak missed Saturday’s training due to undisclosed reasons but he still may start. Jon Gorenc Stankovic might feature in midfield, benching Timi Max Elsnik, who is not expected to be 100% fit.

Predicted XIs

England (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Walker, Stones, Guehi, Trippier; Bellingham, Rice; Saka, Foden, Eze; Kane.

Slovenia (4-4-2): Oblak; Karnicnik, Brekalo, Bijol, Janza; Mlakar, Gorenc Stankovic, Cerin, Stojanovic; Sporar, Sesko.

Trambak Bhattacherjee | Get Football

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