2015-17 FIFA World Cup Qualifying - UEFA, Group Stage
  • Eric Dier (37')
  • Marcus Rashford (59')
  • Stanislav Lobotka (3')

Marcus Rashford inspires England to victory over Slovakia

Marcus Rashford turned from zero to hero for England as he recovered from an early mistake to score and assist as the Three Lions beat Slovakia 2-1 to move a step closer to qualifying for the World Cup.

Slovakia needed just three minutes to take the lead at Wembley, with Stanislav Lobotka dispossessing Rashford before playing a clever one-two with Adam Nemec and then slotting the ball past Joe Hart.

England went in search of the equaliser but despite plenty of possession they struggled to cause any real problems, with Rashford seeing a shot easily saved and Dele Alli's deflected strike drifting wide.

But the hosts did manage to pull level after 37 minutes when Eric Dier met Rashford's corner at the near post and fired first time past Martin Dubravka.

England nearly turned the game on its head five minutes later but Ryan Bertrand, who scored against Malta on Friday, saw his shot palmed away by Dubravka, who also saved well from Rashford at his near post just before the break.

England started the second half the better team and good work from Alli set up chances for Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who saw their respective strikes drift wide and saved.

Slovakia could have edged back ahead in the 55th minute when Nemec received the ball at the far post from Marek Hamsik, but Hart did well to turn his effort away before Martin Skrtel headed the resulting corner over.

It was England who did move in front four minutes later, with Rashford picking up the ball from Henderson before taking a touch and rifling a low strike into the far corner from the edge of the box.

Slovakia had a chance to equalise in the 64th minute through Tomas Hubocan, but he could only fire a loose ball into the ground and over, with England able to see out the remainder of the game to claim victory and move five points clear at the top of Group F with two games to go.