Not even the marketing maestros – those with loud must-be-heard voices, who are extremely excitable and prone to hyperbole (it’s their default setting…) – could present this as a contest. England are facing the lowest-ranked side in world football (that’s No.210, one place below Anguilla and a whole 10 spots below the might of Aruba…) and will win tonight with ease.
But as the first qualifier for next year’s Qatar World Cup and first competitive match in a year that will see Gareth Southgate’s side try win their first European Championships, tonight’s game cannot be dismissed as an irrelevance.
Indeed, it’s in matches that England are expected to win that they have, in the past, failed to impress, even if they did ultimately come out on top.
That’s something that is not lost on the manager, who wants his side to treat the minnows with respect and put in a good, confident performance.
“We should enjoy playing with the ball, but need to be ruthless with it,” Southgate said.
“To have the creativity to score goals we have got to be positive and say it is a game which we can enjoy.”