Sami Khedira Germany
Germany goalkeeper Sami Khedira celebrates with his teammates after scoring against Northern Ireland, October 11, 2016Reuters

With or without Wayne Rooney, the England performances do not seem to change, while there are no such worries for Germany who continued their march towards the 2018 World Cup in Russia with another authoritative win.

While Rooney being dropped from the starting lineup was the big talking point going into the match against Slovenia on Tuesday, all that was quickly brushed aside following England's performance on the night.

Had Joe Hart not had one of those games where he makes one outstanding save after another, England would have been more embarrassed, but in the end, they will be relieved to leave Ljubljana with a point. The match ended 0-0 and England are still in a strong position to qualify, but with Gareth Southgate also struggling to inspire this drab outfit, you do wonder what the point of qualification for another World Cup will even be.

"The overall objective is to qualify so, long term, maybe that's a point that is important towards that," Southgate said. "Everyone can see we could be better but their chances came from our mistakes or set-pieces and that is something that needs to be better.

"Having said that some of those mistakes were when we tried to play on what was a very tricky surface. We want to encourage the boys to play but also they have got to play sensibly as well.

"We owe our goalkeeper (Hart) really for getting a point. He was fantastic. He's at his best when he's calm and composed and it's something he's aware of. We've discussed that and this week his professionalism and his training has been excellent and his manner has been very calm across these two matches."

The other two matches in Group F saw convincing wins for Lithuania and Slovakia. While Lithuania got the better of Malta 2-0 thanks to goals from Fiodor Cernych and Arvydas Novikovas, Slovakia were too strong for a disappointing Scotland. Slovakia got their goals through Robert Mak, who finished with a brace, and Adam Nemec.

In Group C, Germany continued to roll along like a well-oiled machine with a 2-0 win over Northern Ireland in Hanover. First half goals from Julian Draxler and Sami Khedira were enough to keep the world champions' perfect qualifying record intact.

Azerbaijan dropped their first points of the qualifiers when they were held to a goalless draw by the Czech Republic, while Norway eased past San Marino 4-1.

Robert Lewandowski scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time to hand Poland a dramatic 2-1 win over Armenia in Group E, while the drama did not end there as Denmark suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Montenegro. Kazakhstan and Romania played out a 0-0 draw.

Results: Group C: Czech Republic 0-0 Azerbaijan; Germany 2-0 Northern Ireland; Norway 4-1 San Marino.

Group E: Kazakhstan 0-0 Romania; Poland 2-1 Armenia; Denmark 0-1 Montenegro.

Group F: Lithuania 2-0 Malta; Slovakia 3-0 Scotland; Slovenia 0-0 England.

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