England vs. Lithuania: World Cup 2018 Qualifying Live Stream, Preview

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2017

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 15:  Adam Lallana of England (11) celebrates with team mates after scoring the opening goal during the international friendly match between England and Spain at Wembley Stadium on November 15, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Gareth Southgate will take charge of England in a competitive game for the first time since his permanent appointment as manager on Sunday as they welcome Lithuania to Wembley for a FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying clash.

With the Three Lions massive favourites for the match, those who make the trip to the national stadium will be expecting a performance from the England team as well as three points. And the manager has some intriguing decisions to make in terms of selection, especially after Wednesday's friendly defeat to Germany.

Lithuainia are enjoying a decent campaign overall, with one win, two draws and a defeat in their four matches played so far. But this is undoubtedly the toughest assignment yet for Edgaras Jankauskas' team.

Here are the key viewing details for the game and a preview of how this crucial contest will likely pan out.

Date: Sunday, March 26

Time: 5 p.m. (BST)/12 p.m. (ET)

TV Info: ITV (U.K.)/FOX Sports (U.S.)

Live Stream: ITV Hub (U.K.), FOX Soccer 2GO (U.S.)

Preview

DORTMUND, GERMANY - MARCH 22: Coach of England Gareth Southgate answers to the media following the international friendly match between Germany and England at Signal Iduna Park on March 22, 2017 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Although England fell to a 1-0 defeat against Germany in Dortmund in midweek, there's been plenty of positivity when reflecting on Southgate's first loss since taking over.

Indeed, the Three Lions saw Adam Lallana crash a strike off the post, while Dele Alli was denied by a fine stop from Marc-Andre ter Stegen. However, the world champions' class showed as the match rumbled on, and Lukas Podolski, playing in his last-ever international game, hammered home a sublime winner.

It was Alli of whom plenty were talking after the match, though, as he starred in an advanced position for the visitors. John Cross of the Daily Mirror was impressed:

The Tottenham Hotspur man is fast becoming the player Southgate should build this England team around.

Alli showcased all of the flair and finesse that has made him so difficult to handle in the Premier League this season. His touches and intricacy in the final third made him the standout midfielder on show, and the 3-4-3 setup deployed by England in the friendly seems to bring the best out of the former MK Dons man.

Alli excelled for England against Germany.
Alli excelled for England against Germany.Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

It'll be fascinating to see how Southgate sets his team up on Sunday. If he does go with the 3-4-3 system, you sense more attacking players will be included, with the central-midfield pairing of Eric Dier and Jake Livermore fielded in Dortmund geared more towards spoiling than creating.

Bleacher Report's Nick Akerman believes that sticking with a familiar system is crucial for the development of this England team:

Even so, it would be a remarkable shock if the Three Lions didn't take three points from this fixture regardless of the formation the team lines up in.

They will need to show respect to their opponents, of course, having drawn at home to Slovenia and away to Scotland earlier in the qualifying phase. However, Lithuania's two most recent games—4-0 and 3-0 away losses in Slovakia and Czech Republic, respectively—offer an insight into the chasm in quality that'll be on display on Sunday.

Lithuania are having a decent qualifying campaign so far.
Lithuania are having a decent qualifying campaign so far.Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

As noted by Sky Sports News HQ, there will also be a poignant feel to the pre-match proceedings, with those in attendance set to pay tribute to those who lost their life in the recent London terror attacks:

Lithuania will pose a familiar challenge to these England players. So often in qualifying matches, team come to Wembley, sit deep and try to frustrate the home side. The Three Lions will need to probe with patience and precision, but once that first goal does come, it should be a trigger for more.

Expect a more attacking lineup from Southgate as a result, with the security of two holding midfielders, three centre-backs and two wing-backs not necessary against a side that will show little ambition going forward. Those who make their way to Wembley will see a comfortable England win as a result.

Prediction: England 4-0 Lithuania

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