Marcus Rashford fires game-winner in from outside the box for England in World Cup qualifier against Slovakia

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Associated Press

Marcus Rashford recovered from being at fault for an early Slovakia goal to set up the equalizer and score the winner in a 2-1 victory for England in a crucial World Cup qualifier at Wembley Stadium this morning.

By beating its nearest challenger for the one automatic qualification spot, England moved five points clear in Europe Group F with two rounds of games remaining.

The 19-year-old Rashford unleashed a dipping, angled finish from 20 meters in the 59th minute to earn England a sixth win in eight group games, having provided the corner that Eric Dier turned home to make it 1-1 in the 37th.

Rashford made amends for losing possession to Stanislav Lobotka and then failing to track the midfielder, who slotted in an opening goal inside three minutes to bring the majority of Wembley to a stunned silence.

It took most of the first half for England to get over conceding so early, before the hosts took charge after halftime.

Scotland benefited from the win by its old foe at Wembley, closing to within one point of Slovakia in fourth place courtesy of a 2-0 home victory over Malta. Slovenia stayed tied on points with Scotland by beating Lithuania 4-0 but climbed into third place on goal difference.

Scotland hosts Slovakia next in the next-to-last round of qualifiers. The top eight second-place finishers in the nine groups qualify for the playoffs.

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