LONDON: Dele Alli has apologised on social media after making an offensive gesture during England’s 2-1 World Cup qualifying win win over Slovakia at Wembley.

Alli made the gesture in the 77th minute then took to Twitter after the game to say sorry and stated it was aimed in the direction of former Tottenham team-mate Kyle Walker, adding: “Apologies for any offence caused.”

The incident took place in the 76th minute of the match after the 21-year-old was denied a free-kick following a tackle from Martin Skrtel.

Southgate revealed in his post-match news conference on Monday night that Alli had told him the gesture was directed at Walker and was meant in a light-hearted manner.

Alli faces possible retrospective action from FIFA, depending on whether French referee Clement Turpin assumed the gesture had been aimed at him.

Alli’s gesture slightly marred what was an otherwise positive night for England, who now require just two more points from their final two Group F games to secure their place at next year’s World Cup finals in Russia.

The win over Slovakia moves them five points clear of second-placed Slovakia, with Scotland just a point further back in third after their 2-0 win over Malta at Hampden Park.

Marcus Rashford was England’s hero for striking what proved to be the winning goal midway through the second half after England had recovered from the shock of a third-minute Slovak goal. Stanislav Lobotka struck superbly after the Manchester United striker had given away possession.

Rashford responded by providing the corner which set up Eric Dier’s equaliser before stylishly wrapping up victory to leave England on the cusp of next summer’s tournament in Russia. Manager Southgate’s men boast a five-point cushion over second-place Slovakia.

Scotland kept their qualifying hopes alive with a 2-0 win over Malta, Christophe Berra heading the opener after nine minutes and Leigh Griffiths adding a second just after the break.

Slovenia, like Scotland, are a point behind Slovakia after thrashing Lithuania 4-0, with Josip Ilicic scoring from the penalty spot in each half before late goals from Benjamin Verbic and Valter Birsa.

Germany poised

World Cup holders Germany need one point to qualify for the finals after thrashing Norway 6-0 with two goals from Timo Werner.

Mesut Ozil opened the scoring after just 10 minutes and further goals from Julian Draxler and Werner effectively ended the contest before half-time, with substitutes Leon Goretzka and Mario Gomez completing the rout.

Northern Ireland kept Germany waiting for qualification and they remain firmly on course for a play-off spot after guaranteeing second place in Group C thanks to a 2-0 win over the Czech Republic.

First-half goals from the West Brom duo of Jonny Evans and Chris Brunt gave Michael O’Neill’s side a fifth successive victory which virtually assures them of a place in November’s play-offs.

The eight best runners-up from the nine European qualifying groups go into the play-offs, with Northern Ireland having taken 19 points from eight games as they seek to reach a second successive major tournament and a first World Cup finals appearance since 1986.

San Marino remain without a point after losing 5-1 in Azerbaijan, who scored five goals in a World Cup qualifier for the first time.

Afran Ismayilov (two), Araz Abdullayev and Rashad Sadigov got on the scoresheet for the home side, who also benefited from an own goal from Michele Cevoli. Mirko Palazzi headed a consolation goal for San Marino.

Poland regained control of Group E thanks to a 3-0 win over Kazakhstan, which came hours after Denmark had temporarily taken over top spot following a 4-1 win in Armenia.

Arek Milik, Kamil Glik and a penalty from Robert Lewandowski secured all three points for Poland, who are three points clear of Montenegro and Denmark.

Stevan Jovetic scored in the 75th minute to give Montenegro a hard-fought 1-0 home win over Romania, while a Thomas Delaney hat-trick and a superb free-kick from Christian Eriksen saw Denmark come from behind to win following Ruslan Koryan’s brilliant opener for the home side.