Captain Kane's late goal gets England World Cup spot

Captain Kane's late goal gets England World Cup spot

Captain Kane's late goal gets England World Cup spot

Captain Harry Kane grabbed an injury-time victor at Wembley to secure top spot in Group F but it was another unconvincing display from Southgate's players and the former Middlesbrough boss knows they must improve over the next eight months.

While 34-year-old Jermain Defoe makes another appearance in the England squad, Gareth Southgate has mostly called in a young group.

"John came and spoke to us a few months ago", Southgate said. But we drew 0-0 in that campaign in Finland and got killed by everybody, but that was also a critical point.

"They might not have the numbers, but when they put 16 or 17 together, they've got a right good side. But it is a work in progress". That isn't their fault. We have to give them the belief and the backing to help them achieve.

"Anyone with any knowledge in football will know how tough it's going to be [against] a team even England found hard to beat".

"We know the speed and pace of our exciting attacking players, but they limited the opportunities for that to have an effect".

"Analysis is important because it's how it's interpreted - we've presented the Germans as a formidable opponent but not an invincible opponent", he said.

An attendance of only 61,598 - just over two thirds of Wembley's capacity - reflected the depths to which England have sunk in the popularity stakes, a year on from their Euro 2016 humiliation by Iceland.

And looking ahead to the decision he will have to make when going to Russia, Southgate said: "We have several people that I think can step into that fold now - and that can only benefit us".

They hardly did it in style on a frustrating night where the home crowd resorted to throwing paper aeroplanes to amuse themselves, but Southgate wants to reflect on his side's achievement.

"We're a country that has high expectations".

"But now they have a chance to play on that stage at the World Cup".

"I'm able to rationalise it all".

"We had to keep winning and we have to keep giving young players the opportunity to mature, so to marry those things is hard".