Eng­land win vs Scot­land could de­ter­mine future of 2 coaches

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Gareth South­gate edged closer to be­ing ap­pointed Eng­land’s per­ma­nent manager with a vic­tory that weak­ened Gor­don Strachan’s grip on the Scot­land job.

A trio of head­ers from Daniel Stur­ridge, Adam Lal­lana and Gary Cahill en­sured a 3-0 vic­tory on Fri­day that ap­peared far more con­vinc­ing on the score­board than the ac­tual per­for­mance by Eng­land in the 113th meet­ing of in­ter­na­tional foot­ball’s old­est ri­vals. It gave South­gate seven points from the three com­pet­i­tive matches of his in­terim spell in charge of Eng­land fol­low­ing Sam Al­lardyce’s abrupt de­par­ture af­ter one match in charge over un­guarded com­ments to un­der­cover re­porters.

Whether South­gate is handed the job per­ma­nently will be de­ter­mined af­ter Eng­land hosts Spain in a friendly on Tues­day. While the dis­plays un­der South­gate have lacked the dy­namism ex­pected by fans of a team of Premier League stars, they weren’t any bet­ter in re­cent years ei­ther. Eng­land was em­bar­rassed at the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship in June, with Roy Hodg­son quit­ting af­ter a last-16 loss to Ice­land.

“What I’m re­ally pleased about is that I was given the task of pick­ing the job up in a very dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion for ev­ery­body and I feel like we’ve pre­pared the team re­ally well,” South­gate said. “The rest is out of my hands. I’ve loved it. I’ve re­ally en­joyed the role. I’ve en­joyed the re­spon­si­bil­ity.

I’ve en­joyed the chal­lenge of ev­ery part of it.” If South­gate is handed a con­tract, rather than re­turn­ing to the un­der-21s team, he might not be fac­ing Strachan in the op­po­site dugout when Eng­land trav­els to Scot­land in June. The spir­ited Scots did make the hosts un­com­fort­able at times at Wem­b­ley Stadium but had noth­ing to show for it. Strachan’s side slumped to fifth place, six points be­hind un­beaten Eng­land, and the manager will face fur­ther scru­tiny over his future as Scot­land’s hopes of mak­ing its first tour­na­ment since the 1998 World Cup fade. Strachan said he was only think­ing about the impact of the “cruel” result of his play­ers, “If any­one thinks at this mo­ment in time I’m think­ing about my­self you are wrong,” Strachan told re­porters.

“Prob­a­bly when I’m just about to die, I’ll think, ‘How did you get on Gor­don?’ Not a bad life,” Strachan added. “At the mo­ment in time ... it’s noth­ing to do with me.”

Slove­nia is sec­ond af­ter Ben­jamin Ver­bic clinched a 1-0 at bot­tom-placed Malta. Slo­vakia is third af­ter beat­ing Lithua­nia 4-0 through Adam Ne­mec’s header be­fore strikes from Ju­raj Kucka, Martin Skr­tel and Marek Ham­sik. Only the group win­ners au­to­mat­i­cally qual­ify for the 2018 fi­nals in Rus­sia. Un­sur­pris­ingly, the an­thems were sung against a cho­rus of boos from ri­val fans 144 years af­ter this derby was first played. But the cross-bor­der ri­vals were united in the buildup to the game by a two-week pub­lic spat

with FIFA over their de­sire to mark Ar­mistice Day by wear­ing pop­pies which com­mem­o­rate Bri­tish Com­mon­wealth forces who have died on duty since World WarI. Eng­land and Scot­land are set to be fined by FIFA for breach­ing rules ban­ning political, re­li­gious, per­sonal or com­mer­cial mes­sages on of­fi­cial uni­forms and equip­ment. Af­ter a pre-match minute of silence, the Scots pressed with pur­pose from kick­off but they couldn’t keep it up and fell be­hind in the 24th minute. Ra­heem Ster­ling’s ini­tial shot de­flected to the right flank and Kyle Walker re­turned the ball into the penalty area where an un­marked Stur­ridge an­gled a low header past goal­keeper Craig Gor­don. It was a rare bright mo­ment for the Liver­pool striker, who has dropped in the peck­ing or­der at An­field and has scored no goals in the league this sea­son.

“It wasn’t as com­fort­able as we would have liked,” Lal­lana said. “We started the game very slop­pily. We said a few things to each other at half­time and the manager did.” Scot­land missed op­por­tu­ni­ties to equal­ize at the start of the sec­ond half and Eng­land pun­ished the vis­i­tors af­ter five min­utes with Lal­lana latch­ing onto Rose’s cross with a header. Cahill com­pleted a mis­er­able trip south of the bor­der for Scot­land in the 61st minute when he was left un­marked to connect with cap­tain Wayne Rooney’s cor­ner.

“I don’t know if we can work any harder than we do,” Strachan said.— AP

LONDON: Eng­land’s striker Wayne Rooney (C) col­lides with Scot­land’s de­fender Christophe Berra (L) dur­ing a World Cup 2018 qual­i­fi­ca­tion match be­tween Eng­land and Scot­land at Wem­b­ley stadium in London on Fri­day. —AFP

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