England Maintains Perfect Start To World Cup Qualifying

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England maintained its 100% start to World Cup qualifying after a resounding 4-0 victory against Andorra at Wembley, with goals from Jessie Lingard, Bukayo Saka and Harry Kane.

The hosts made 11 changes from their 4-0 win in Hungary, with Patrick Bamford handed his debut up front, Sam Johnstone getting the nod in goal, and Trent Alexander-Arnold playing in midfield.

Manchester United forward Lingard opened the scoring in the 18th minute after firing past Andorra goalkeeper Josep Gomes after a great link-up play by Saka and Jude Bellingham in the build-up.

England forward Jessie Lingered (10) celebrates goal against Andorra

Lingard thought he had doubled the lead for England moments later when he looped an exquisite chip over Gomes. However, the linesman’s flag was raised for offside. The first half proved frustrating for the hosts as Andorra camped in their own penalty area.

Debutant Patrick Bamford was agonisingly close to touching in a low cross but for all their superiority England managed only one shot on target before halftime.

England coach Gareth Southgate sent on Kane, Jack Grealish and Mason Mount in the second half and the trio combined for England’s second goal in the 72nd minute. Grealish found Mount who was fouled in the area and the referee awarded a penalty. Captain Kane stepped up and dispatched the penalty into the corner.

England captain Harry Kane scores penalty against Andorra

The penalty broke Andorra’s resistance and England continued to press and were rewarded for their handwork moments later. In the 78th minute, Lingard scored England’s third goal under little pressure from just inside the box, beating Gomes with a low shot.

However, the most cheered goal of the night was Saka’s header  which was a fine way to soothe the pain of the missed penalty that handed Italy the Euro 2020 trophy. It was a memorable and deserved goal of his own to underline England’s dominance.

England midfielder Bukayo Saka scores goal against Andorra at Wembley

“It is difficult for the team that we picked. They have not had as many matches together as a group and they are playing against a team that really know how to frustrate,” England coach Southgate said.

“All the goals in their matches come late so you have to keep moving the ball, keep being patient. It was not an easy task we gave them, especially for our younger players.”

The task will be much tougher on Wednesday when England go away to Poland. But with five wins from five under their belt and a commanding lead at the top of Group I, they’ll know victory in Warsaw will all but secure their place at the World Cup in Qatar.

UEFA World Cup Qualification results

Kosovo 1-1 Greece

Spain 4-0 Georgia

Bulgaria 1-0 Lithuania

Switzerland 0-0 Italy

Belarus 2-3 Wales

Belgium 3-0 Czech Republic

Albania 1-0 Hungary

England 4-0 Andorra

San Marino 1-7 Poland

Iceland 2-2 North Macedonia

Germany 6-0 Armenia

Romania 2-0 Liechtenstein

 

Chidi Nwoke/Reuters.

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