Sam Allardyce can begin his England managerial reign with a victory against Slovakia – the same opponents who spelt the beginning of the end for his predecessor Roy Hodgson.
Our best bet for this match: England to win at 21/20 with Sky Bet
A change of England manager may well have happened after Euro 2016 anyway, but there is little doubt that Slovakia helped to hasten Hodgson’s departure when they frustrated the Three Lions and held them to a 0-0 stalemate which sent them into the tougher half of the draw for the knockout phase.
Iceland, of course, should not have been the most fearsome of last-16 opponents, but they still knocked England out 2-1 and within minutes Hodgson and his coaching team had gone.
So in has come Allardyce for the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, which begins in Trnava on Sunday against a Slovakia team who, like England, looked a more formidable side in getting to the Euros than they did when they were actually there.
At present, international teams are mostly appointing indigenous coaches and Big Sam certainly appeared to be the best English candidate. Now the hope is that his more direct approach, based on team spirit rather than tactics, can restore England as a major tournament force.
His initial squad selection did not contain as many surprises as may have been expected, with West Ham United winger Michail Antonio the most eye-catching inclusion while the likes of Ross Barkley, Leighton Baines and Jack Wilshere have been omitted.
Wayne Rooney of England (right) skips past Peter Pekarik of Slovakia during the Euro 2016 Group B match on June 20 2016 in St Etienne (Getty Images)
Wayne Rooney will continue as captain having confirmed the 2018 World Cup will be his last tournament whether England get there or not, with their other qualifying group opponents being Scotland, Slovenia, Lithuania and Malta.
In terms of this game, it represents a tough start to the campaign, as Switzerland away did two years ago and Allardyce will be seeking a repeat of the 2-0 victory achieved in that match.
As such, he has been paying more attention to how Slovakia play at home than their tactics in St Etienne where the 0-0 draw with England was enough to send both teams through to the last 16, albeit in second and third positions behind Wales.
Slovakia have kept faith with manager Jan Kozak, but the freshness of the Allardyce regime could elicit the right response from the England players and they are fancied to grind out a narrow success to extend Big Sam’s honeymoon period at the helm.
England to win @ 21/20 with Sky Bet