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England national football team
European Championship | Group Stage
Jun 25, 2024 at 8pm UK
Slovenia national football team

0 - 0

Trippier (17'), Guehi (68'), Foden (77')

Janza (22'), Bijol (72')

Preview: England vs. Slovenia - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's European Championship clash between England and Slovenia, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.


England's Bukayo Saka and Slovenia's Jaka Bijol in action on June 25, 2024 [IMAGO]© Imago

It is all square at the break between England and Slovenia at the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne, with neither side posing a real threat in the final third.

England made a nervy start to the contest are carried on from where they left off against Denmark. Gareth Southgate's men were sloppy in possession and found it difficult to break down a solid and well-organised four-man Slovenian defence.

A tame header inside the opening five minutes from Benjamin Sesko was Slovenia's only attempt on target in the first half, while Bukayo Saka had a goal disallowed for an offside in the build-up following a superb free-flowing Three Lions move.

Phil Foden, a bright spark in the first 45, came close with a 25-yard free kick that was kept out by Jan Oblak, before an inviting cross from Kieran Trippier evaded both Harry Kane and Conor Gallagher at the back post towards the end of the half.

Both sides will seek to make improvements in this tight affair; Slovenia realistically need to win to boost their hopes of reaching the last 16, while England can guarantee top spot in Group C with a victory.


Already through to the last 16 of Euro 2024, England conclude their Group C campaign on Tuesday night, pitting their wits against Slovenia at the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne.

While Gareth Southgate's squad have accrued four points from a possible six - albeit while failing to dazzle and delight - their upcoming opponents are still waiting for that elusive maiden success at a Euros finals.

Match preview

England manager Gareth Southgate pictured in June 2024 [IMAGO]© Imago

There was one striking difference between England's opening Group C contest with Serbia and their battle with Denmark on June 20. The Three Lions were not punished for sitting back after taking the lead against the former, but they would not get away with such pitiful play a second time around.

Under the closed roof of the Deutsche Bank Park in Frankfurt - where the pitch left a lot to be desired - Harry Kane netted in his fourth successive major tournament for his country, but a disjointed England side were subsequently undone by a 25-yard Morten Hjulmand rocket later on in the first half.

As was the case in the narrow success over Serbia, only the woodwork denied England a precious second - or Phil Foden to be more exact - but the performance of Southgate's troops was lethargic, lackadaisical and indicative of that of a side who are not fully sure of their roles in the XI.

Even captain Kane admitted that he and his teammates are often scratching their heads when it comes to pressing the opposition - leading to a familiar sense of pessimism emanating from the nation - but the overall picture is more pleasant; the Three Lions are already through to the last 16.

Results going their way on Monday evening assured England of their ticket to the knockout rounds, as Albania's 1-0 loss to Spain in Group B ensured that at the very worst, Southgate's men will progress as one of the four best teams to finish third in their group.

Victory by any scoreline or Denmark failing to beat Serbia will guarantee a first-placed finish - preventing a possible meeting with Germany in the first knockout round - and even if disaster strikes, the Three Lions will have the safety net of a high third-placed points total to fall back on.

As a little extra, England could also go through a European Championships group stage unbeaten for the fourth time in a row, and not since Euro 2000 - when they were bested 3-2 by Romania - have the Three Lions lost their final pre-knockout contest at the tournament.

Slovenia manager Matjaz Kek pictured in June 2024© Reuters

However, England's paltry tally of two wins from seven matches should have the Slovenians adopting a glass-half-full approach for Tuesday's crunch match, where the former Yugoslavia nation seek to finally register their first Euros finals at the sixth attempt.

Matjaz Kek's side were mere moments away from achieving that feat during their matchday two scrap with Serbia, where right-back Zan Karnicnik arrived at the back stick to tap home in front of an elated wall of white, only for the head of Luka Jovic to break Slovenia hearts in the fifth minute of added time.

Having been given a taste of their own medicine - Kek's men left it late to hit back in a 1-1 draw with Denmark in their opening battle - Slovenia currently occupy third place in the standings and cannot be separated from the Danes whatsoever in head-to-head or goals metrics, but victory in Cologne will see them through.

Remarkably, all four finishes are still possible for Tuesday's underdogs, who are not to be taken lightly whatsoever if an eight-match unbeaten run - the last three of which have all ended 1-1 - is anything to go by, and it has been over a year since they last failed to score in any setting.

Not since a 2-0 loss to Finland 14 games ago have Kek's men drawn a blank in front of goal, but from their six previous contests with England, five have ended in defeat, including a 1-0 loss at the 2010 World Cup which secured the Three Lions place in the last 16 - a promising omen for Southgate's weary charges.

Furthermore, Slovenia now hold the unwanted record for playing the most matches at the European Championships without managing a single victory, playing out four draws and suffering one loss - to Tuesday's foes - in that unsuccssful streak.

England European Championship form:

England form (all competitions):

Slovenia European Championship form:

Slovenia form (all competitions):

Team News

Luke Shaw of England during the UEFA European Championships match at Arena Aufschalke on June 18, 2024© Imago

Southgate largely managed to avoid scathing criticism of his squad selection for the Euros - at least compared to previous international windows - but the 53-year-old's decision to call up an injured Luke Shaw, who is still absent, has well and truly backfired.

The Manchester United man has returned to full training but is still not ready for a competitive return, although he should be the only enforced absentee for the Three Lions, whose fans are urging Southgate to tinker with his XI - pleas which should not fall on deaf ears this time around.

The Trent Alexander-Arnold midfield experiment has not gone as planned, so Conor Gallagher - one booking away from a ban - will reportedly be reintroduced to the XI. Alternatively, Jude Bellingham could drop into a deeper role alongside Declan Rice, allowing Phil Foden to operate centrally and either Anthony Gordon or Eberechi Eze to strut their stuff on the left.

Kieran Trippier has also shaken off a calf concern, while Jordan Pickford appeared to hurt his shoulder in training on Monday but is expected to be fine to guard the posts too.

As for the Slovenians, Kek was handed a slight scare over the fitness of star attacker Benjamin Sesko - who failed to complete the full 90 against Serbia due to muscle cramps - but he has been training normally in recent days and should be fine to spearhead the charge.

However, revered goalkeeper Jan Oblak missed training on Saturday for unexplained reasons, while midfield duo Timi Max Elsnik and Adam Gnezda Cerin have also not been 100% operational since matchday two, leaving their participations slightly up in the air.

It would be a shock not to see Oblak - who made some pivotal stops against Serbia - guarding the posts, though, while Jon Gorenc Stankovic is an alternative in midfield if neither Elsnik nor Cerin are given the green light to startl the latter two have since returned to full practice.

England possible starting lineup:
Pickford; Walker, Stones, Guehi, Trippier; Gallagher, Rice; Saka, Bellingham, Foden; Kane

Slovenia possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Karnicnik, Brekalo, Bijol, Janza; Mlakar, Elsnik, Cerin, Stojanovic; Sporar, Sesko

SM words green background

We say: England 1-0 Slovenia

The form book undeniably favours Slovenia over England for Tuesday's critical clash - words that we did not anticipate muttering before the tournament - and breaking down the Oblak-marshalled defence should prove to be a tall order for Southgate's exhausted crop.

However, as was the case in South Africa 14 years ago, a solitary strike should be enough to propel the tepid Three Lions into the last 16 as group winners, albeit while inspiring little confidence for the games ahead.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford pictured in June 2024
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Group A

Q Germany Germany32107
Q Switzerland Switzerland31205
3 Hungary Hungary31023
4 Scotland flag Scotland30121

Group B

Q Spain Spain33009
Q Italy Italy31114
3 Croatia Croatia30212
4 Albania national flag Albania30121

Group C

Q England flag England31205
Q Denmark Denmark30303
Q Slovenia Slovenia30303
4 Serbia Serbia30212

Group D

Q Austria Austria32016
Q France France31205
Q Netherlands Netherlands31114
4 Poland Poland30121

Group E

Q Romania Romania31114
Q Belgium Belgium31114
Q Slovakia Slovakia31114
4 Ukraine Ukraine31114

Group F

Q Portugal Portugal32016
Q Turkey Turkey32016
Q Georgia Georgia31114
4 Czech Republic Czech Republic30121

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