What To Look Out For On Sunday’s World Cup Qualifiers: England Enjoy Lithuania, Mkhitaryan On His Own


The fourth October match-day for the international clashes is ahead of us. Europe will see the final rounds of groups C, E and F. Only five Manchester United players will be in action, four of them being part of the England squad.

However, with England already qualified for the World Cup, Gareth Southgate’s team will be able to play without the pressure and show the Lithuanian hosts what they could do next summer in Russia.

England Pondering About The World Cup Challenges

Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard are all part of this England squad. With the World Cup tickets secured in their pockets, Southgate might opt for different solutions. Only Marcus Rashford started on Thursday against Slovenia and now could be the time to give an opportunity to Lingard or Smalling.

Still, English players will probably be thinking about Russia. This will be their first game since securing the World Cup and their preparations for next summer start on Sunday evening. Previous qualifying cycles and previous tournaments have showed England easily reach the finals, but then struggle both at the Euros and world cups.

Southgate’s team has lacked penetration and rhythm, giving opposition enough time to defend properly. The match in Lithuania is not something you would describe as a big test, but should be a great opposition for trying new things out. With the trend of 3-4-2-1, there is no reason why Southgate should not give it a try.

Still, that is the least important thing at the moment. England need to find ways of playing more exciting, unpredictable football. Matches like the one against Slovenia will be an easy task for any of the slightly better teams at the World Cup. The match against Lithuania might be dull because of the lack of proper meaning of the game. However, it should not be dull in England’s performance.

Rashford is a player Southgate must exploit properly, and with Dele Alli and Harry Kane around him, the young Manchester United winger could have a great platform to flourish.

Armenia In Kazakhstan Thinking About Euro 2020

On the other hand, the only remaining Manchester United player in action on Sunday evening will be Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The key player of the Armenia side will be taking on Kazakhstan away from home, trying to improve the impression the has left on others during these qualifiers.

Armenia have won just six points in nine matches, winning twice and losing on seven occasions. However, these qualifiers were never going to be their chance. Drawn into group with Poland, Denmark, Montenegro and Romania, Armenians were not expected to somehow finish in second. Their biggest chance could be the Euro 2020.

Mkhitaryan and his team-mates will wait for the draw in December to see their opponents in UEFA Nations League. This new, slightly complicated competition will be played through four divisions and winner of each division will go to Euros. Armenia will play in either third or fourth division and that could be their chance. However, even if they fail through the newly formed competition, the regular qualifiers could be the possibility, with two teams going through from each group.

Armenia will have enough time to show some progress and maybe do better in years to come.

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