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It is a topic that has not, to the best of my knowledge, been debated — that England might fail to qualify for the 2018 World Cup finals. It is not so much a taboo subject, but a general acceptance that England will qualify (because this is what it does, it qualifies for finals) and then under-perform and/or loses on penalties to Germany (because this, too, is what usually happens).

Only the group winner in Europe qualifies for Russia automatically and after four matches England leads Slovenia by two points. That scenario is likely to remain after Sunday’s games when England hosts Lithuania and Slovenia visits Scotland.

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