TheFA.com looks back to the only previous meeting with Slovakia....
TheFA.com looks back to the only previous meeting with Slovakia - the Euro 2004 qualifier back in October 2002, which saw the Three Lions come away from Bratislava with a precious away win...
England opened their European Championship Qualifying campaign with a hugely valuable victory here in Bratislava, coming from behind to take all three points courtesy of two priceless goals from David Beckham and Michael Owen.
This was not a classy performance and it was far from England's finest hour under Sven-Goran Eriksson but, given the circumstances and the conditions under which the Three Lions prevailed, it must go down as one of the most significant of the Swede's reign.
His players never gave up, meeting every challenge head on, until they had earned themselves the right to let their superior skills tip the balance...just.
The pitch was a real problem. After incessant rain for two days there had even been doubts about whether the game would be played at all. With the immaculate standard of surfaces that these England players are used to gracing on a weekly basis in the Premiership, it immediately became apparent that England's soccer superstars were not to have it all their own way.
In fact, the pitch was a problem for both teams and may even have saved England an early goal when Vittek wriggled through on six minutes but could not get his shot away as the ball obstinately refused to keep pace with his threatening run.
This was the biggest game in Slovakia's short history and, inspired by the fanatical enthusiasm of the 30,000 home supporters, Ladislav Jurkemik's team made some powerful early surges, often testing Ashley Cole's pace and strength down their right flank.
Nemeth's dash to the byline on eighteen minutes caused genuine concern in the English rearguard and it was a relief to see Steven Gerrard's last ditch clearance fly just wide of David Seaman's upright.
The Slovaks sensed their opportunity and went for it. Janocko dashed past Gary Neville to the byline and, as the ball seemed to be rolling out of play, he wrapped his left foot around it to flight a delicious cross to the far post where Pinte rose high to power his header back into the six yard box. Of course it had to be the English-based Szilard Nemeth that got the goal, pivoting expertly to strike a firm 24th minute shot past David Seaman.
The crowd went berserk and England had confirmation that they had a real game on their hands. A Beckham free kick which was well saved by Konig and a good Nicky Butt strike which arrowed inches wide provided England with an immediate riposte but it was not enough to dampen the enthusiasm and newfound confidence of either the Slovakian team or their followers.
A period of England pressure stemming from a trademark Beckham corner seemed destined to earn Sven's men an equalizer on the stroke of half-time when Gareth Southgate found himself with a free-header five yards out. However, an excellent point blank save from Miroslav Konig prevented the Middlesbrough man from equalizing his Riverside team-mate's strike .
An unfortunate side-show at this point was the sight of awful confrontations between English fans and local police. If the football was disappointing, those scenes were an even graver concern.
Back on the pitch - which all too often this week has been of only a peripheral concern to many - the second half began in much the same vein as the first. Slovakia started the brighter before both Beckham and Owen might have done better when they were both played in by Heskey down the left. Becks' sidefoot effort was comfortably collected by Konig while Michael dragged his shot wide of the near post. Both would be back to make amends later.
With half an hour still remaining, the Slovak fans sensed an historic victory, warming a bitterly cold night, with an ecstatic Mexican wave.
England needed something...badly. The man to produce it - as so often before - was skipper David Beckham. Taking a free-kick some 35 yards out on the left flank, he curled the ball in viciously towards the far corner. Just the sight of Michael Owen's forward dash was enough to put off Konig, who could only watch, flat-footed, as the ball bounced once before finding the corner of the net.
Becks stood, motionless and raised his arms into the air. Somehow, on a night in which everything had seemed to be going against England, fate once again smiled on English football's golden figure.
With quarter on hour remaining, Sven had a shot at victory, sending on Kieron Dyer in place of Steven Gerrard. England grew stronger, snatching the ascendancy arguably for the first time in the game.
Suddenly Slovakia appeared vulnerable instead of forceful, worry replaced confidence and England knew it.
On 82 minutes Scholes dashed to the right hand byline and whipped in the perfect cross for Michael Owen who was sprinting in on goal. This time he did get the touch, nudging the ball home at the near post. There are few strikers in the world you would rather have on your side when you are looking for a goal to win you the game.
Within minutes of the goal, Sven had withdrawn his star striker, no doubt with Macedonia on Wednesday in mind. By then of course Michael's work had been done.
One of Sven's greatest strengths as a coach is his ability to make the game simple. On nights like tonight you realise more than ever that goals mean everything in football.
England: Seaman; Neville, Cole, Southgate, Woodgate; Beckham, Butt, Gerrard (Dyer, 76), Scholes; Owen (Hargreaves, 86), Heskey (Smith, 90).
Subs not used: James, Mills, Ehiogu, Vassell, Smith
Slovakia: Konig, Dzurik, Leitner, Petras, Hlinka, Janocko (Mintal, 88), Zeman, Pinte (Kozlej, 88), Karhan, Vittek (Reiter, 80), Nemeth.
Subs not used: Bucek, Cisovsky, Michalík, Klimpl
Referee: Domenico Messina
Slovakia Factfile... all you need to know...