Harry Kane sends England to Russia World Cup with stoppage-time winner
World Cup Qualifier, Wembley – England 1 (Harry Kane 94’) Slovenia 0
Harry Kane struck at the death as England booked their place at the 2018 World Cup finals despite an underwhelming display in a 1-0 win over Slovenia at Wembley.
Gareth Southgate's side knew their fate was in their own hands, but laboured for long spells until Kane pounced in stoppage time to claim his 14th goal in his last nine matches for club and country.
Harry Kane sichert England den Sieg gegen SlowenienGetty Images
Scotland's victory over Slovakia meant a point would have been enough in the end, but this England side's habit for scoring late on resurfaced at just the right time to ensure they rounded off their Wembley campaign on a positive note.
The result means the Three Lions are six points clear of second-placed Scotland, with just one game to play in Group F.
England will now look to remain unbeaten in qualifying when they visit Lithuania on Sunday.
Mission accomplished in underwhelming fashion for Southgate, but the big test is yet to come. Overall, it's been a qualifying campaign littered with average performances and a hint of controversy - but at the end of it all it is a case of job done. Southgate answered the SOS call following Sam Allardyce's ever so brief reign and has steered his side through a group they were always expected to top. Of course, England sides of recent years have been fine in qualifying, but it's at the major tournaments where they come up way short. Clocking up so many qualifying matches without a loss is no mean feat, but there's no doubt England will have to improve if they are to make any sort of significant impression when faced with sterner tests in Russia next summer. Expectations will remain low based on this evidence.
England's manager Gareth Southgate (L) stands on the touchline during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualification football match between England and Slovenia at Wembley Stadium in London on October 5, 2017.Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH
Marcus Rashford (England). The Manchester United starlet is the go-to man when it come to looking for a spark in this England side. Could and perhaps should have scored in the second half, but most of England's good moments came through him on the left until Kane stole the headlines in the 94th minute. Rashford turns 20 later this month and seems a shoe-in for a starting berth in Russia next summer.
Marcus Rashford of England takes on Aljaz Struna of Slovenia during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Group F Qualifier between England and Slovenia at Wembley Stadium on October 5, 2017 in London, England.Getty Images
9' - PENALTY SHOUT! Josip Ilicic makes a clever dart to the right of the penalty area and is rewarded with a corner as Hart came to block. The Slovenian looks at the referee quizzically. Replays show the keeper didn't get the ball and appeared to catch the forward's heel. Let off for England?
45+1' - ENGLAND CHANCE. Rashford tries to catch Oblak out with a low free kick towards the near post, but the keeper is alert to the danger and pushes it wide.
63' - ENGLAND CHANCE. England break from a Slovenia corner. Sterling leads the charge and lays it into the path of Rashford who goes for the lob over the advancing keeper but sees it hacked clear inside the six-yard box.
69' - ENGLAND CHANCE. Rashford causes problems on the left once more. He finds Sterling, who sees his shot blocked before Kane flashes the follow-up just past the far post.
Marcus Rashford of England and Andraz Struna of Slovenia during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Group F Qualifier between England and Slovenia at Wembley Stadium on October 5, 2017 in London, England.Getty Images
85' - SLOVENIA CHANCE. Hart comes out to bravely save at the feet of Tim Matavz after the Slovenia striker was sent clear. The keeper then saves the follow-up. Replays showing it should have been flagged offside - but Hart didn't know that.
90+4' - GOAL! ENGLAND 1-0 SLOVENIA. Kane lifts the mood inside Wembley as he slides home Walker's cross after the full back had seized upon Oblak's over-anxious early throw out. England are heading to Russia!
England have lost just one of their last 19 matches at home, and none in the last eight, winning eight and drawing one.
England qualify for World Cup for 6th successive time, equalling their record. They also participated in six in a row from 1950 to 1970.
Kane's previous international home goal was on 22 May 2016, in England's 2-1 friendly win against Turkey at Etihad Stadium.