Last night saw action in Group F and England laboured to a 4-0 win over Malta last night in a game that although earned Gareth Southgate‘s team maximum points it arguably asked more questions about both the manager and the team. After a goalless first 45 minutes the Three Lions did finally find their groove after the break with four unanswered goals.
Harry Kane who probably could not wait for August to finish finally broke the deadlock soon after the restart to the relief of everyone watching back at home and probably Southgate also. That goal came eight minutes after play resumed and it would take a late flurry of goals to make the scoreline more comfortable.
As Malta tired England finally found another gear as Ryan Bertrand fired a shot from long range which Andrew Hogg should have done a better job of trying to keep out, as they ball slipped past him it secured a win and killed off any hopes the home side may have had of snatching a late point.
With Malta’s hopes quickly evaporated it meant that there was still time for a couple more late strikes, Danny Welbeck would make it three in injury time and then Harry Kane would bag his second of the evening, although Malta will have felt aggrieved that the ball was not put out due to one of their players being down injured.
A win is ultimately a win and it does move England one step closer to qualification in Russia but they are going to have to improve come next summer otherwise we could be in for a lot more international tournament misery.
Here are the highlights
Scotland kept their hopes alive of reaching the play-offs with an impressive 3-0 win over Lithuania, victory for Gordon Strachan’s men sees them move up to third place in the group with them now 4 points behind Slovakia who currently sit in second.
Realistically they will need to win all their remaining three matches to have any hope of qualifying and they will also need England to do them a favour, that will came in the shape of beating Slovakia. If that coupled with a Scotland win on Monday takes place then it will be all to play for in next month’s final qualifiers.
Slovakia stay in second thanks to a slender 1-0 win over Slovenia, that win keeps them on the coat tails of England as we go into Monday’s meeting at Wembley. An upset in London would see Slovakia go top of the group and throw a massive spanner in the works in terms of qualification for Scotland