A cracking friendly win set the 3 lions up with a 4-2 win against Serbia, 2 goals for Daniel Sturridge and 1 each for Raheem Stirling and Leighton Baines sent the fans home full of hope for the qualifying match in a few days time.
This was England's 6th game without tasting defeat, could they march to the top of the table with a 7th?
And a 7th match without defeat it was and another great home display when it mattered, 3-0 this time. Goals from Leighton Baines (4 goals and 4 assists in 6 qualifying games), Wayned Rooney (2 goals in 2 qualifying games) and Harry Kane (4 goals and 1 assist in 6 qualifying games) were the scorers.
England were now 3 points clear of 3rd placed Slovenia with Switzerland moving into 2nd place, up next for England were 2 away games in Estonia and Lithuania.
World Cup Qualifying Section Draw time was upon us with England in pot 2 meaning they would miss the following teams: Armenia, Denmark, Greece, Slovenia, Ukraine, Croatia, Romania and Turkey. BUT pot 1 would mean England would face one of: Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, France, Holland, Portugal or Sweden....looking at the teams Switzerland would be nice to play again, but knowing our look it would be Germany or Italy.
With just pot 1 to be drawn, England's group was group 5, and currently we were to play: Serbia, Georgia, FYR Macedonia and Austria, all in all a fairly steady away group.
Pot 1 countries came out:
Group 1 had, Italy, phew...one of the top seeds out of the way.
Group 2 had, Switzerland, feck, that was the easy team out of the hat.
Group 3 had, Holland, who were on fire with a 100% record in Euro qualifying.
Group 4 had, Germany....better to beat them in the finals!!!
Here we go....Group 5 and we were to play.....Sweden.....GET IN......
Looking at the group, we should, should qualify for Russia 2018
And the latest squad is........some new faces, in fact a lot of new faces, and at a very important stage of qualifying....would this be a mistake?
The squad was full of surprises, with the biggest being the call up of 40 year old Hull stopper Steve Harper and the then there was the dropping of Leighton Baines and Gareth Barry.
It's a new Premiership season, and the players who has started brightly have seen the full benefit of the early squad announcement.
Joe Hart, Ryan Shawcross and Phil Jones have all been recalled, whilst Troy Deeney, Will Hughes, Ben Watson and Steve Cook could all get their first caps.
A pretty much new look squad, and one the papers are already saying is a mistake.
0-0 away from home was a shocking start to this away double header, plenty of shots on goal but the new look side couldn't break the home side down and had to settle for a point to stay top of the group. The papers, fans, cats, dogs, milkman, everyone slated the team. 0-0 against Estonia....o dear, the only positive was a clean sheet with 10 men after Jordan Henderson walked with 2 yellow cards in the space of 2 minutes.
But then the milkman, cats, fans, newspapers, dogs were happy with the team as they clicked in a 4-0 win over Lithuania. Troy Deeney, Phil Jones (2) and Callum Wilson were the goalscorers to keep the 3 lions top of the group and 3 points from dropping out of the auto spots.
Switzerland at home and San Marino away were the final 2 games, and England should be confident of keeping thier 9 match unbeaten run going.
Hopefully some of the bigger names will have got their act together over the next 21 days, ready for the next squad.
More Premiership games meant more players back to form.
Steve Harper continues his great club form and is once again included in the squad, Adam Forshaw could make his debut whilst Jordan Henderson is dropped. Raheem Stirling and Harry Kane are brought back into the squad.
In total 5 players have been brought back into the squad, Danny Welbeck, Harry Kane, Raheem Stirling, Gareth Barry and Calum Chambers could all be part of the squad that finishes the qualification push off.
Switzerland at home was up first and a 2-2 draw keeping England top of the group, Leighton Naines and Harry Kane putting England in front a couple of times which disappointed the fans. What was most disappointing was the fact England played against 10 men for half an hour.
So apart from disaster in San Marino, England will qualify top of the table.
11 games unbeaten as San Marino were pushed aside 6-1, Tom Huddlestone, Troy Deeney, Harry Kane (2), Adam Lallana, and Will Hughes.
Could we make it 12 with an away friendly in France.
Come on Engerland!!!!!
Up the lions! Seems picking for form rather than stats is doing well!
Arrrggghhhhhhh I didn't save it after the final games and the cup draw.
End of story lol, at least we know, form over ability gets you wins :-)