To the layman, and many others, Sunday’s World Cup qualifier between England and Slovakia saw one team pushing the pace while the other bunkered-in before falling to a 1-0 loss at the death.
To Slovakia defender Jan Durica, however, what he saw as a fixed result.
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The Trabzonspor back, 34, was angry with the second yellow card given to his defensive partner Martin Skrtel for a stamp on Harry Kane, and perceivably for the five minutes of stoppage time that allowed Adam Lallana to give Sam Allardyce a win in his first match as England manager.
Durica knows that only the first team in each group qualifies directly for the World Cup, while second-placed teams enter the playoff. And he thinks the authorities want England to finish first.
“There is only one place at the World Cup. Why should Slovakia go there when we have England in the group?,” said Durica.
“Of course, they will always prefer the stronger team. Probably, the referee exactly knew how to do it.”
Here’s our analysis: