England stars chill out as they prepare to secure World Cup spot - in pictures

Three Lions will end an amazing year with place in Qatar 2022 finals

England are seeking to seal World Cup qualification and end a memorable year on a high against San Marino on Monday.

The Three Lions, who started 2021 with a 5-0 victory against San Marino, head for the return fixture in what will be their 19th and final game of the year, with coach Gareth Southgate promising to rotate his stars.

England were a penalty shoot-out away from sealing a European Championship triumph during 2021 time and, now inevitably, will get another shot at silverware in Qatar next winter.

The 5-0 Wembley win against Albania on Friday means they only need to avoid defeat to the world’s lowest ranked side to reach the World Cup, as Southgate prepares to alter his selection.

The coach watched Jack Grealish, Tammy Abraham, Tyrone Mings and the other squad members looking relaxed as they prepared for the game, and said: “We will make changes, definitely."

The starting line-up against Albania was the most experienced of Southgate’s reign, with the 451 caps also the most of any England side since taking on Ukraine in September 2013.

A more inexperienced side will line-up in San Marino, but Southgate is wary of maintaining balance in his selection having successfully deployed a 3-4-3 system.

He continued: “I think systems can be very attacking and the wing-back system can be very attacking if you’ve got the right profile of players.

“Balance is hugely important in any team because when you’re playing against packed defences it’s not just the ability to open them up with the ball.

“To win the ball high up the pitch and put them under pressure and force errors is very often the route to break the deadlock, or set plays are often the route to break the deadlock."

Pictures of the England players in training are in the gallery above. To see the next image, just swipe.

Updated: November 14th 2021, 8:27 AM
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