MX23RW : Monday, August 20 12:23:25
Oct 8, 2017 at 5pm UK at ​LFF Stadium, Vilnius

Slivka (54')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Kane (27' pen.)

Live Commentary: Lithuania 0-1 England - as it happened

Live Commentary: Lithuania 0-1 England - as it happened
© SilverHub
Relive England's narrow 1-0 victory over Lithuania as Harry Kane scores the only goal of the game in Vilnius.

England ensured that their World Cup qualification campaign ended on a winning note despite another unconvincing performance during their 1-0 victory in Lithuania this evening.

Harry Kane scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot, but England failed to build on that first-half lead despite enjoying the lion's share of possession.

Lithuania created a number of chances themselves and could have come away with a famous result had they been more clinical, but England survived every scare to emerge victorious.

Find out how all of the action unfolded courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates below.

4pmGood afternoon! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for England's final World Cup qualifier as they take on Lithuania in Vilnius!

It has been another successful qualification campaign for the Three Lions having ultimately secured their primary goal of reaching next summer's tournament in Russia, but performances along the way have left a lot to be desired. This will be England's last competitive match before they travel to Russia, and Gareth Southgate will be desperate for an improved performance from Thursday's dreary win over Slovenia.

Before we get into all of that, though, let's first check out the team news...

4.02pmLITHUANIA STARTING XI: Setkus; Andriuskevicius, Klimavicius, Girdvainis, Borovskij; Zulpa, Slivka, Verbickas, Cernych, Novikovas; Sernas

4.04pmENGLAND STARTING XI: Butland; Keane, Maguire, Stones; Trippier, Winks, Henderson, Cresswell; Alli, Rashford; Kane

4.04pmENGLAND SUBS: Smalling, Pickford, Walker, Cahill, Dier, Livermore, Defoe, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sturridge, Sterling, Lingard, Forster

4.06pmWhat can we make of those two teams, then?

Well we'll start with a brief look at the hosts, who make no fewer than six changes to the side which started and drew against Malta last time out. Girdvainis, Andriuskevicius, Novikovas, Slivka and Cernych are the only players to maintain their place in the starting XI from Thursday's match, which means that there is no room for the most experienced member of their squad Tadas Kijanskas.

4.08pmIt is a relatively inexperienced squad on the whole for Lithuania, with Kijanskas the most capped player from the current crop with 48 international appearances to his name.

Fans of Scottish football may recognise the name of Vykintas Slivka, who plies his trade for Hibernian at club level. He scored Lithuania's goal in Thursday's draw with Malta, although his Hibs teammate Deivydas Matulevicius is among the players to lose their place in the starting lineup this afternoon.

4.10pmGareth Southgate has also rung the changes for England, as expected.

Having seen his side qualify on Thursday, the England boss brings in seven new faces to his starting lineup - although Harry Kane not only starts again but will also lead his team out once more. Kane has been in incredible goalscoring form for club and country in recent weeks, netting 14 times since the start of September.

Harry Kane in action during an England training session on March 22, 2016© Getty Images

4.12pmThe latest of those Harry Kane strikes came in the 94th minute of Thursday's match against Slovenia, finally giving the fans something to cheer about following an otherwise forgettable performance at Wembley.

Interestingly, nine of Kane's 11 goals for England have now been scored in the second half of matches - that's 82% - so Lithuania will need to keep their guards up for the full 90 minutes if they are to stop the Tottenham man tonight. Lithuania boss Edgaras Jankauskas joked during the build-up that he would try to lock Kane out of the stadium in an effort to cope with a man he described as a "goalscoring machine".

4.14pmJohn Stones, Jordan Henderson and Marcus Rashford are the only other players to keep their place in the team after that win over Slovenia, with Hart, Walker, Cahill, Bertrand, Dier, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sterling all dropping out of the starting XI this afternoon.

Southgate was always expected to make changes for this match, and the hope will be that such a big overhaul of players gives a warning shot to some of those who have lost their place while also giving a chance for some fringe players to impress. There aren't too many positions nailed down for the World Cup squad yet, so good performances on occasions like these could make or break a players' World Cup hopes.

4.16pmTwo players who will be particularly keen to impress this afternoon will be Harry Maguire and Harry Winks, both of whom make their debuts at senior international level here.

Maguire has been called up to the last couple of squads but has had to wait until now for his chance, whereas Winks was only handed his first call-up for this squad following the withdrawal of Delph. Both look like bright prospects and they will be hoping to show Southgate that they are options to take to the World Cup next summer.

4.18pmDele Alli is another who comes into the side after missing the win over Slovenia due to a one-match suspension, which he incurred as a result of his middle-finger salute during the win over Slovakia.

Alli may well have been able to add more to England's toothless attack on Thursday, but Southgate claimed in the build-up to this match that Liverpool's Adam Lallana was the midfielder they have missed most recently. Even so, a front three of Alli, Rashford and Kane should have enough to break down the Lithuania defence.

4.20pmArguably the fiercest competition for places comes in goal now, which has not been the case throughout much of Hart's reign as number one. The on-loan West Ham shot-stopper appears to still be first choice, with Jack Butland is given the nod today while the likes of Pickford, Forster and the injured Heaton are all knocking on the door too.

Further forward, Keane joins Maguire and Stones in a back three, with Trippier and Cresswell operating as the wing-backs.

4.22pmIt is a much-changed England team, then, and not one you'd expect to be very similar to the one which will kick off their opening World Cup game in Russia next summer.

However, it is often the case that bringing new players into the fold can increase the energy and hunger of the team, which was seriously lacking on Thursday. There should still be enough quality in that England team to see off Lithuania, though, who would be content with anything but a heavy defeat this afternoon.

4.24pmLithuania are currently placed 120th in the FIFA world rankings, below the likes of Lebanon, Rwanda and Bahrain, so if England struggle against their hosts here then even more questions will be raised of Southgate's side.

Considering their lowly ranking, though, they can be fairly happy with their performance in this World Cup qualifying campaign so far. They have picked up six points from their nine games, winning one and drawing three to ensure that they will finish fifth above Malta regardless of what happens here.

4.26pmFive of those points came during an impressive start to the campaign, though, with Lithuania winning one and drawing two of their opening three qualifying games in Group F.

There would have never been any realistic hopes of them challenging the likes of Slovakia, Scotland and Slovenia for second place, but having made such a promising start it would have been even more disappointing to have picked up only one point from the last 18 on offer.

4.28pmIndeed, across all competitions Lithuania are winless in their last seven outings, which included a run of six consecutive defeats without scoring a single goal.

Both of those unenviable streaks came to an end on Thursday when Lithuania drew 1-1 with the previously-pointless Malta, although their winless run does still continue and now stretches back almost a year back to their 2-0 win over Malta earlier in this qualifying campaign.

4.30pmThat 2-0 victory was also the last time before Thursday that Lithuania had scored a goal, and even now they have only managed one in their last 630 minutes of action. Before the draw with Malta, Lithuania had conceded 19 goals without reply since last finding the back of the net themselves.

Having finally now broken that duck, though, Lithuania will be hopeful of building on that this afternoon in what is likely to be difficult conditions for England due to the artificial pitch here at the LFF Stadium.

4.32pmThe stats suggest that the pitch certainly has an impact on Lithuania's results. The minnows have won as many games as they have lost in their last 15 outings in front of their own fans, compared to no wins from their last 17 matches away from home.

Tonight's hosts have, however, been beaten in their last two matches in Vilnius - against Slovakia and Scotland - and another defeat would see them fall to three in a row for the first time since August 2001, quite a record for a team of their modest stature.

4.34pmFour of the six points Lithuania have amassed during the current qualifying campaign have come at home, drawing with Slovenia and beating Malta last year.

Indeed, stretching even further back in competitive matches, Lithuania have a better home record than their ranking as the world's 120th best team would suggest. Over the past three World Cup qualifying campaigns they have won six, lost six and drawn two, compared to two wins, 10 defeats and three draws on the road.

4.36pmThings may not be entirely straightforward for England tonight, although even with the plastic pitch they will be expected to emerge victorious with minimum fuss.

Gareth Southgate and the England fans will be demanding an improved performance, though. The Three Lions have not put in a truly exciting display since the 3-2 win in Germany in March 2016, and Thursday's 1-0 win over Slovenia was arguably the worst of the lot since Southgate took over.

4.38pmIn all honesty, England matches have not been associated with excitement for some time now, but the win over Slovenia saw that reputation sink to new depths.

Harry Kane did manage to salvage something with his late goal, and ultimately England got the result they were after to reach next summer's World Cup, but a similar display in the tournament itself will not get England very far at all. The fans will not be happy to entertain themselves with paper aeroplanes if they have spent a lot of money to get out and follow the team in Russia.

4.40pmScraping past the likes of Slovenia certainly does not bode well for England's chances at the World Cup, but there is a counter-argument to be made that the players at Southgate's disposal are more likely to shine against better opposition.

Thursday's performance certainly highlighted some weaknesses England still have, but the friendlies against Germany and Brazil next month should give a better indication of where England are than qualifiers against the likes of Lithuania. The better the opposition, the more space England exciting attackers will have to perform themselves, which should hopefully bring a little more entertainment.

4.42pmIt is worth mentioning that England have already been beaten by Germany and France this calendar year, though, so there is undoubtedly still a lot of work to do before they can count themselves among the big boys of world football once again.

The Three Lions have at least returned to winning ways following a run of just one victory in five matches, though, triumphing in their last three outings. Another this afternoon would make it four on the bounce for the first time since October 2015.

4.44pmThe qualifying statistics also look good for England, even though their performances at the tournaments themselves have been so woeful in recent years.

England come into this match unbeaten in their last 38 qualifying games of any kind, winning 29 of those in a run which stretches back to a defeat to Ukraine in October 2009. Should, as expected, they avoid defeat here they it would be a fourth consecutive unbeaten qualifying campaign for England, which is a record worthy of praise regardless of their failures at the major tournaments.

4.46pmEngland have won their final match of qualifying on four of the last five occasions, with the only exception since their defeat to Croatia that saw them miss out on a place at Euro 2008 seeing them held to a draw. They have also won the last three of those without conceding - including a 3-0 triumph in Lithuania in October 2015.

That result is one of 13 wins England have managed in an 18-match unbeaten streak in away qualifiers of any kind, although they haven't won back-to-back away games since that triumph over Lithuania almost two years ago.

4.48pmIndeed, England have only won one of their five away matches under Gareth Southgate so far, with that victory coming against the minnows of Malta in their most recent trip away.

The Three Lions have lost to France and Germany in addition to drawing against Slovenia and Scotland in that time, leaving Southgate with the worst away win percentage of any England boss to have taken charge of five or more away games. Should he improve that statistic with a win today, then it would mark England's first back-to-back World Cup qualifying wins on the road since 2009.

4.50pmPREDICTION: Right, we're 10 minutes away from kickoff at the LFF Stadium, which means that it is time for a prediction!

This is essentially a dead rubber, but there is still pressure on England to put in a good performance here. They will have plenty of players eager to impress, and it is difficult to see anything other than a fairly routine victory for the visitors.

Sports Mole says: Lithuania 0-2 England

4.52pmThese two sides have met on three previous occasions, and England have won each time without conceding a single goal.

The Three Lions have scored nine times without reply in those games - an average scoreline of 3-0 per match - although they only managed to 2-0 triumph in the reverse fixture at Wembley in March, when Defoe and Vardy got the goals.

4.54pmEngland also met Lithuania in qualifying for Euro 2016, when they scored seven times without reply over those two games.

A 4-0 win at Wembley was followed up by a 3-0 triumph on their only previous visit to Vilnius, when Barkley and Oxlade-Chamberlain were on the scoresheet either side of an Arlauskis own goal.

4.56pmWe're just a few minutes away from kickoff in Vilnius now, so before we start allow me to remind you of the team news for tonight's match - including England debuts for Harry Winks and Harry Maguire.

LITHUANIA STARTING XI: Setkus; Andriuskevicius, Klimavicius, Girdvainis, Borovskij; Zulpa, Slivka, Verbickas, Cernych, Novikovas; Sernas

ENGLAND STARTING XI: Butland; Keane, Maguire, Stones; Trippier, Winks, Henderson, Cresswell; Alli, Rashford; Kane

4.58pmThe anthems are over and done with - even Lithuania's lengthy one - and we're just about ready to go now. The rain is pouring down in Vilnius ahead of this one!

1 minKICKOFF: Here we go, then! Lithuania get us underway in Vilnius!

2 minSHOT! The first shot of the day comes from Lithuania, and it is a speculative one. Novikovas tries his luck from more than 30 yards out and it is actually a pretty decent hit, but it is always going off target.

4 minRashford have started on the right flank this afternoon, despite spending most of his season on the left for Manchester United. Alli, that means, is on the left of the front three.

5 minMaguire almost has the chance to mark his debut with a goal after just five minutes, stealing into space inside the area. The faintest touch from a defender just takes it away from the Leicester man, though, and he is left with his head in his hands.

7 minSHOT! Good football from England as Henderson steals the ball and gives it to Alli, who links up with Rashford really well. Kane eventually picks it up and goes for goal from range, but his strike bobbles wide of the target.

8 minCernych attempts to respond for Lithuania and, despite never really having the ball under control, his stabbed effort from the edge of the box does win the hosts a corner...

9 minLithuania play it short and Novikovas beats Trippier far too easily. However, the midfielder appears to get too excited by the fact he has beaten one man and then snatches at his effort, dragging it well wide of the near post.

11 minCLOSE! Warning shot for England as Lithuania almost stun their visitors with the opening goal. A Maguire slip almost proves costly inside the area as Sernas is able to steal a march on his marker and flick a cross towards goal, but it ripples the side-netting on its way behind.

13 minGood defending from Lithuania as they deny Rashford a chance on the edge of the area. It was good play from Winks to create the opening, pulling the ball back for Rashford on the edge of the box, but he is quickly closed down.

15 minUPDATE: There has been an early goal elsewhere in the World Cup qualifiers, with both Group E and Group F coming to their conclusions in these 5pm kickoffs.

Poland have taken the lead against Montenegro through Krzysztof Maczynski.

17 minEngland are just knocking the ball around amongst themselves at the moment, dominating possession as they try to make Lithuania chase shadows. It is patient build-up, but it isn't really going anywhere at the moment.

18 minRashford tries to whip a ball in behind the defence for Alli or Kane, but he can't wrap his foot around the ball and it goes straight into the arms of the keeper.

20 minSAVE! This may go down as the first shot on target of the night, and it comes from Lithuania. Verbickas is the man who volleys it towards goal, but it takes a deflection on the way through and is easy for Butland to gather.

22 minUPDATE: Poland have doubled their lead against Montenegro through Kamil Grosicki, but it remains goalless everywhere else in Europe so far.

24 minWell, England wanted an improved performance from Thursday's snoozefest, but so far they haven't really got it. Lithuania have come the closest to scoring and it is shaping up to be another rather dull England display in all honesty.

25 minCHANCE! I knew that would be enough to create an England chance! Lithuania initially deal with a free kick into the box well, but it then comes back at them and they defend it much worse this time around. The ball drops at the feet of Keane, and he fires his effort narrowly wide from the edge of the box.


27 minGOAL! Lithuania 0-1 England (Harry Kane, penalty)

27 minEngland make the breakthrough, and there are no prizes for guessing who gets the goal.

Kane tucks away a clinical penalty in off the post, the type of which no goalkeeper in world football would be able to save. There was never any doubt that he would tuck that one away. The spot kick was awarded after some good football saw Alli break into the box before being brought down, and the referee had no doubt but to award the penalty.

29 minThe Tottenham Hotspur man keeps on racking up these impressive statistics...

31 minHere is that penalty from Kane, which was placed almost perfectly into the corner...

33 minUPDATE: Lift off for Scotland as Leigh Griffiths gives them the lead against Slovenia, which would be enough to see them reach the playoffs.

Slovakia have quickly responded by also taking the lead at home to Malta, though, so the margin for error is very slim for Scotland now.

35 minGood defending from Lithuania as they deny Kane after a quick break from England. Butland, Winks and Rashford are all involved in the counter-attack, with the latter feeding a low ball into the box which Kane is almost able to turn towards goal.

37 minEngland have been much better since that opening goal. They are beginning to look a lot more threatening in the final third and are getting the ball forward more quickly, which was lacking for a while before that.

38 minSAVE! Good play from Rashford as he skips past two defenders on his way into the box from the right flank. His skill allows him to cut back onto his left foot and get a shot away which the keeper does well to save.

40 minFive minutes remaining until half time and, while it hasn't exactly been a performance that will live long in the memory from England, Southgate will be happier at the interval here than he was on Thursday. The visitors are in complete control of this contest.

42 minBoth Girdvainis and Rashford are down and need treatment here after Andriuskevicius crashed into both players while making a challenge. It was actually a good tackle, but it has left his mark on both Rashford and his teammates.

44 minBoth players and back up and will be fine to continue, which will be music to the ears of Manchester United fans. They lost Fellaini to injury last night and won't want any more scares with Liverpool looming on Saturday.

45 minCLOSE! Lithuania are not completely out of this one. Cernych sees his first attempted chip forward dealt with, but the ball comes back to him and this time he decides to have a go himself. His effort has Butland worried, but the England keeper looked to have it covered as it bobbled narrowly past the near post.

45+1 minThere will be one minute of added time at the end of this first half.

45+1 minHALF TIME: Lithuania 0-1 England

5.54pmThe referee brings an end to the first half in Vilnius, and it is England who have the narrow lead at the interval.

It has not been a hugely impressive display from Southgate's side, but it has at least been better than Thursday. England will be fairly content with what they have seen so far, but they will want to create more chances and score more goals in the coming 45 minutes.

5.56pmHarry Kane got the only goal of the game so far from the penalty spot, continuing his fine form with a 15th goal in his last 10 outings for club and country.

It was his Tottenham Hotspur teammate Dele Alli who won the penalty by he was brought down in the box, and Kane made no mistake with the resulting spot kick. He tucked his penalty away perfectly in off the post, leaving the keeper no chance despite him guessing the right way.

5.58pmThere have not been a huge number of chances for England, but they did improve as they half went on following a slow start.

Michael Keane had the visitors' first real sight of goal shortly before they broke the deadlock, while Rashford has also threatened. Lithuania have not been completely without their own threats, though, twice rippling the side of Butland's side-netting to keep England on their toes.

6pmThose rare warning shots from Lithuania will leave England knowing that they need a second goal in this match - if only for insurance purposes.

Fans will be expecting a more convincing win than 1-0 against a team ranked 120th in world football, and that remains a dangerous scoreline if England cannot double their advantage in the second half. The visitors are in complete control of the contest, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.

46 minKICKOFF: England get us back underway in Vilnius!

48 minThe second half has quickly fallen into the same rhythm as the first, with England seeing the majority of the ball in the early stages. The visitors will want that second goal as early as possible.

50 minEngland can afford to commit more men forward then they are doing right now. Lithuania are only playing with one forward and even he is deep for the most part, yet England still have those three centre-backs and two midfielders who aren't exactly attack-minded.

51 minCHANCE! Lithuania have had enough half-chances to suggest that England may need that second goal. The latest sees the ball drop to Sernas, but he fires his snapshot over the crossbar when he probably should have done better.

53 minCHANCE! England almost get that second goal through debutant Harry Winks. The Lithuania keeper parries a Cresswell cross out into a dangerous area and, although Winks sees his initial effort blocked, his second forces the keeper into a good save.

54 minYELLOW CARD! Slivka is the first name in the book this evening.

55 minSAVE! Another scare for England, and this time it comes from one of their own players. It is a good break from Lithuania down the right and a low cross into the box is turned towards his own goal by Keane. Butland is alert and makes a very good save to deny his own man, though.

57 minUPDATE: Bad news for Scotland - Slovenia have equalised in Ljubljana, which as things stand would see them miss out on second place in the group to Slovakia, who are 1-0 up against Malta.

59 minEngland continue to dominate possession here, but they are not creating the chances that should come along with it. The final ball has not been good enough so far today.

61 minUPDATE: More goals from elsewhere to update you on - Denmark have taken the lead against Romania to strengthen their hold on second place in Group E, while Kazakhstan have levelled things up against Armenia.

Slovakia, meanwhile, have now doubled their advantage against Malta, which increases Scotland's need for a goal.

63 minCHANCE! Another good chance for Lithuania as they pounce on some poor defending from England, who are caught trying to play out from the back. A slick move eventually sees Sernas find space inside the box, but he slices his effort well off target when he should have done better.

65 minSHOT! Better from England as they create what has been a relatively rare shooting chance through Alli, who blasts his effort over the bar from the edge of the box.

67 minHere is Butland's save to deny Keane a little earlier. England were just a fingertip away from being level with Lithuania at this stage...

69 minSAVE! Setkus has not been called into action enough tonight, but he needs to make a save here as Cresswell rises highest at the back post to plant a header towards goal which the keeper parries away.

71 minLess than 20 minutes remain in this match, and still the deficit is only one - simply not good enough for a team like England against one like Lithuania. It has all been far too slow and safe from Southgate's side here.

72 minSHOT! England do up the tempo a little and that allows Kane to cut inside before firing an effort a couple of yards past the post.

72 minENGLAND SUB: England make their first change of the evening as Daniel Sturridge replaces Rashford.

74 minUPDATE: Dreadful news for Scottish fans - Slovenia have turned things around and now lead 2-1 against Gordon Strachan's side, whereas Slovakia are now three goals to the good against Malta.

76 minCHANCE! Half a chance for England as Alli rises highest in the box, but he can't steer his header on target and it drifts harmlessly wide of the target.

77 minLITHUANIA SUB: A change from the hosts as Sernas is replaced by Hibs striker Deivydas Matulevicius.

79 minThis has once again been a performance to forget from England. The spell after the goal in the first half was better than anything we saw on Thursday, but aside from that there has barely been any improvement. Dull and uninspiring once again from Southgate's side. Where are those paper aeroplanes when you need them?

81 minENGLAND SUB: England make another change as Alli is replaced by Jesse Lingard.

82 minSHOT! Lingard immediately makes a difference with some direct running which ends up with the ball dropping to the feet of Sturridge. He beats one defender, but sends his subsequent shot wide of the near post.

84 minCHANCE! England would actually not be able to complain if they only come away from this match with a point. They allow Lithuania in behind again, but Matulevicius fires straight at Butland, who makes the save. Lithuania have had as many, if not more, clear chances than England.

86 minSome better finishing from the hosts would have seen them pick up one of their most famous results here. They still have time of course, but they will be kicking themselves at having missed some of their chances already.

88 minUPDATE: Hope for Scotland? They have levelled things up late on against Slovenia and now just need one more to secure second place in the group.

90 minThere will be two added minutes at the end of this match.

90+1 minCHANCES! Chances for England to grab a second late on as first Sturridge sees his effort blocked right in front of goal before Maguire misses the ball at the far post!

90+2 minFULL TIME: Lithuania 0-1 England

6.58pmAnother dreary, dull and dreadful performance from England comes to an end, and when all is said and done they can consider themselves quite lucky to have come away with a narrow 1-0 win over a team ranked 120th in the world.

Harry Kane's first-half penalty ultimately ensures that Southgate's side string together a fourth consecutive win and end their qualifying campaign on a high as far as result are concerned, but that should not distract from how poor England were at times tonight.

7pmRight, that is all we have time for this evening!

Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for today's game as England end their World Cup qualification campaign on a winning note despite another poor performance in Vilnius. I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to stick around for reaction too.

From me, though, it is goodbye for now!

Share this article now:
Harry Kane in action during an England training session on March 22, 2016
Read Next:
Jankauskas: 'We won't let Kane in stadium'

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account