Gareth Southgate’s England takes on Edgaras Jankauskas’ Lithuania for a place in Word Cup at Wembley Stadium. England reside at the top of Group F with 10 points, and Lithuania sits at 4th with 5 points.
England haven’t lost a qualification match since October 2009 at Ukraine, and will look to maintain that statistic, with a 25 wins, 8 draws, and 0 loses. Beside this, England’s last defeat at home came in 2016, against the Netherlands (losing 1-2), posting 14 wins, 1 draw, and 1 loss in their previous 16 matches.
England and Lithuana have played twice in 2015 in the Euro 2016 quallifiers, with England previaling on both accounts – defeating Lithuania 4-0 at home, and 3-0 away.
Gareth Southgate is expected by many to keep with the defensive formation which served his team against Germany on Wednesday night: 3-4-3, but the 46- year old Southgate has stated that he wants his players to adapt, rather than continue the same style of play:
“It’s not certain we will play the same way. It depends on the opposition and how we think we can hurt them,”
“We have got the flexibility to play a number of different ways and it’s important our players feel able to do that.
“We have to be adaptable as we go through the next 18 months. We need to be able to change quickly within games as well as at the start of games. It’s a key skill for us to develop.”
There will be a minute’s silence and a wreath laying ceremony for the victims of the attack on Westminster on Wednesday, while Wembley stadium’s arch will be lit up in red and white, with England wearing black armbands. There will also be tributes to Graham Taylor, the former England manager who passed away in January.
Joe Hart named as England captain:
Joe Hart will captain Southgate’s England starting XI, for only the second time in his career. His last role as captain saw Roy Hodgeson’s England lose 2-0 to Spain. The current England boss, however, has defended his choice of captain:
“Joe has shown great maturity in the way he has recovered from his own disappointment last summer.
“He’s playing well for his club, his performances have been excellent, and he’s respected in the group. Some people question having a goalkeeper as captain but I had Jack Butland in the Under-21s, and you’re looking for professionalism throughout the week, not just on matchday.”
Lithuania hoping to replicate Iceland:
Former striker and current manager Jankauskas has mentioned that he would like his team to replicate Iceland’s success in the Euro 2016 against England which saw Roy Hodgeson resign as manager, due to England suffering a humiliating defeat.
“Iceland would be a great example to follow, but it will be an extremely tough game for us,”
“There are many examples where not necessarily the favourites win the game. We know we play against top, top players, representing the best league in the world.”
All of Southgate’s England squad are available for the match, which starts at 5:00pm BST.