Old foes face­off

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

a news­pa­per sting after just one match at the helm.

His four-game ten­ure has been un­der­whelm­ing so far, with a laboured 2-0 win over Malta fol­lowed by a 0-0 draw away to Slove­nia in which Eng­land were in­debted to the re­flexes of goal­keeper Joe Hart.

But Eng­land re­main top of UEFA qual­i­fy­ing Group F, two points clear of Lithua­nia and Slove­nia, and the Daily Tele­graph has reported the job will be South­gate’s bar­ring a dis­as­trous re­sult against Scot­land.

Eng­land host Spain at Wem­b­ley on Tues­day in their fi­nal game of 2016.

Eng­land and Scot­land’s first meeting, a 0-0 draw in Novem­ber 1872, was the first recog­nised fix­ture in in­ter­na­tional foot­ball and they will be fac­ing off for the 113th time.

Their ri­valry has pro­duced some iconic images, from Scot­land’s fans storm­ing the Wem­b­ley pitch after a Bri­tish Home Cham­pi­onship win in 1977 to Paul Gas­coigne’s mem­o­rable vol­ley for Eng­land at Euro 96.

This will be their first com­pet­i­tive meeting since a two-legged Euro 2000 qual­i­fy­ing play-off in Novem­ber 1999, which Eng­land won 2-1 on ag­gre­gate.

South­gate has been ed­u­cat­ing his play­ers on the his­tory of the ri­valry with the aid of video footage.

“Of course there will be tack­les fly­ing in and a lot of bat­tles and du­els, but that’s what it’s all about,” said Eng­land striker Harry Kane, who could start after seven weeks out with an­kle lig­a­ment dam­age.

“You have to keep a cool head, but still keep that pas­sion.”

Eng­land pre­vailed in their two most re­cent friendly en­coun­ters with Scot­land, winning 3-2 at Wem­b­ley in Au­gust 2013 and 3-1 at Celtic Park in Novem­ber 2014.

But Scot­land winger Robert Sn­od­grass, who plays for English side Hull City, has taunted Eng­land with claims their fans have lost in­ter­est in the na­tional team due to re­cur­rent un­der­achieve­ment.

“I speak to English peo­ple and I don’t think they want Eng­land to do well be­cause it’s the same old story all the time,” he said.

“Eng­land know their fans will turn on them if they don’t score first.”

As well as Kane, Eng­land cap­tain Wayne Rooney will hope to re­turn to the hosts’ start­ing XI after be­ing dropped for the draw against Slove­nia.

Rooney has re­turned to Manch­ester United’s start­ing line-up in their last two games and could re­place Kane’s in­jured Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur team­mate Dele Alli.

Celtic mid­fielder Scott Brown is ex­pected to over­come a dead leg and start for Gor­don Stra­chan’s Scot­land – fourth in the group – after re­vers­ing his de­ci­sion to re­tire from in­ter­na­tional foot­ball.

But Sh­effield Wed­nes­day striker Steven Fletcher is a doubt with a knee in­jury. – AFP

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