The Wembley Stadium is where England had a visit from Albania in their World Cup qualifier fixture. Here are the player ratings.
England had the opportunity to qualify tonight with a win over Albania and if Poland failed to beat Andorra in their encounter in the World Cup qualifiers. The Three Lions were under frustration as they drew against Hungary last time out and looked for the perfect moment to make a bold statement this evening. The away team stood third in the table with two points behind second-placed Poland.
Gareth Southgate’s side though completely slaughtered the visiting side, and they only needed the first half to do so. The goals came in early as Maguire headed the Englishmen in front in the 10th minute. Again, a beautiful free-kick from James was freely steered into the back of the net by the Manchester United captain for England’s first goal.
Nine minutes later, Harry Kane marked his name on the scorecard with a brilliant header from close range. Here, we could see an excellent connection between Henderson and Foden as they played their way through Albania’s defence. The Liverpool midfielder then floated a cross towards Kane who made no mistake from that distance.
Later in the 29th minute, the Reds man granted England the third goal for the evening with a left-footed strike past Strakosha. This time, it was Kane and Henderson who displayed passing technique as the Tottenham striker released a neat ball to his teammate. The latter took a sharp turn towards his left dodging the defenders to dig one in the back of the net.
The 34th minute brought the fourth goal for the home team and the second of the night for Kane. It seemed really easy for England to find their way through Albania as Sterling provided an assist for the Spurs forward. The 28-year-old turned away from Ismajli before he fired a left-footed shot through the opposing goalkeeper.
Then in the injury-time, Kane completed his hat-trick with an electrifying scissor kick. Manchester City star Foden delivered an inch-perfect corner kick as the hero of the night racked a staggering acrobatic effort in Albania’s goal. Although it took a minor deflection off the defender, there was no stopping Kane tonight.
In fact, he now inches close to breaking Wayne Rooney’s record for most competitive goals scored by an Englishman. With this well-furnished victory, England are now just one point away from qualifying for the World Cup next year. The Three Lions face San Marino next time out which does not seem like a difficult one for them. Meanwhile, Albania will end their run in the tournament as they meet Andorra in their final game.
England: Pickford (8), Walker (7), Stones (8), Maguire (9), James (8), Henderson (9), Phillips (7), Chilwell (5), Foden (7), Sterling (6), Kane (10).
Bench: Abraham (5), Grealish (7), Bellingham (6), Alexander-Arnold (7), Smith Rowe (6).
Albania: Strakosha (2), Ismajli (4), Kumbulla (6), Veseli (5), Hysaj (3), Gjasula (3), Bare (6), Trashi (4), Uzuni (4), Bajrami (5), Cikalleshi (5).
Bench: Laci (5), Mihaj (6), Ramadani (5), Dermaku (5), Roshi (5).
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