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Southgate warns England against complacency


Gareth Southgate said England couldn’t afford to be complacent when they put their perfect record on Wednesday in World Cup qualifying against Poland in Warsaw (Match Result – Poland 5 / 1, draw 11/4, England 8/13).

England have won all five of their Group I appearances so far, scoring 17 goals and conceding just once.

They have also already beaten Poland in qualifying, with goals from Harry Kane and Harry Maguire helping them to a 2-1 win at Wembley last March.

Another win on Wednesday would see the Three Lions take an eight point lead over the Poles second in the pool table, but after back-to-back 4-0 wins over Hungary and Andorra, Southgate was quick to warn his side not to take their foot out of the gas.

“We’re having a good time and the team are playing well,” Southgate said in his pre-match press conference. “We have a team of players, each of whom is more than comfortable to play and plays well.

“But also these moments are dangerous because, if we have a feeling of complacency, we enter a game which will be a challenge.

“It’s a high level of motivation but also to guard against feeling that we are better than we are. We get good results because we work hard for each other.”

England aren’t the only local nation making it into the World Cup qualifiers on Wednesday, as Wales, fresh off their spectacular 3-2 win over Belarus on Sunday, face Estonia at Cardiff City Stadium.

There’s a lot of motivation for Rob Page’s men, with them coming into the game knowing that another win will take them to second in Group E (Match Result – Wales 2/11, draw 6/1, Estonia 18/1).

Captain Gareth Bale was Wales’ hero against Belarus, scoring a hat-trick that included a 92nd-minute winner, and the Real Madrid star is not giving up hope that the Dragons can overtake Belgium at the top of the group and come down automatically qualify for a first World Cup final since 1958.

“We are completely focused on trying to win the group,” Bale told reporters. “If we win every game, we qualify. It’s still in our hands, but there’s a long way to go and we have to take every game as it comes.

Northern Ireland’s hopes of reaching the final are on the line ahead of their Group C clash with Switzerland at Windsor Park (Match result – Northern Ireland 9/2, draw 5/2, Switzerland 3/4).

Ian Baraclough’s side will be bolstered by recent victories over Lithuania and Estonia, and they can overtake the Swiss and reach second in the standings with another win on Wednesday, which their boss believes is within their capabilities.

“If we play about how well I know we can play, then we’ll have a chance,” Baraclough told reporters.

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