England get the job done despite missed opportunities

England v Andorra – FIFA World Cup Qualifier Group I – Wembley Stadium – Report

England 4-0 Andorra

England huffed, puffed and ultimately left it late to kill off the minnows from Andorra but established a sizable advantage at the top of Group I following this one-sided Wembley World Cup qualifying walkover.

Gareth Southgate changed his entire starting eleven to the one that had started the resounding 4-0 victory over Hungary in a hate-filled Puskás Aréna in Budapest.

In altogether more accepting surroundings, Leeds United frontman, Patrick Bamford was handed his first start. Momentum was very much the key for a Three Lions side that had won all four of their Group I qualifying ties leading into the game.

As expected, opening exchanges went particularly one-way. Andorra was forced to defend deep and in numbers – Bukayo Saka attempt deflected onto an upright. Nevertheless, with their next meaningful foray forward, Saka turned provider – Jesse Lingard providing a neat finish, low into the bottom corner of Gomes Moreira’s net.

Lingard was denied a quickfire second after delightfully clipping over Gomes after Bamford had sent him clear. An assistants flag cooling celebrations amongst the send-drenched Wembley audience. Meanwhile, Conor Coady’s acrobatic attempt was too high as England pressed relentlessly.

Bamford fired over, while Reece James went considerably closer when his thumping effort cannoned back of the frame of the goal as the host showed no signs of letting up after the restart.

But England’s wastefulness had spooked the manager who called on substitutes Harry Kane and Jack Grealish to get the job done with a little less fuss. Meanwhile, the busy Gomes raced from his line to thwart Saka, while Trent Alexander- Arnold blasted over as the ball fell kindly to the Liverpool man.

But when another of Southgate’s subs, Mason Mount was bundled over by Garcia – Kane rattled home the resulting spot-kick – Job done by the home side!

With the pressure released, Lingard soon made it three, beating Gomes with a crisp, right-footed strike low to the stopper’s right.

I think it’s fair to say that the England support has taken Saka to their hearts. And they showed their appreciation of the talented Arsenal youngster when he arrived to nod home Alexander-Arnold’s pinpoint centre. A memorable way to cap his twentieth birthday – England four goals to the good.

England return to FIFA World Cup Group I action on Wednesday, September 8 when they face a tough trip to the Narodowy Stadium, Warsaw to take on Poland (7:45pm).

England: Johnstone, James (Grealish 62’), Mings, Coady, Trippier, Bellingham (Mount 62’), Henderson, Alexander-Arnold, Lingard, Bamford (Kane 62’), Saka Subs not used: Walker, Pope, Shaw, Stones, Maguire, Rice, Phillips, Sterling, Pickford

Booked: None

Goals: Jesse Lingard 19’, 78’, Harry Kane (penalty) 71’, Bakayo Saka 86’

Andorra: Gomes Moreira, Rubio Gómez, Llovera González–Adrio, Vales González, Garcia Gonzalez, San Nicolás Schellens (Cervós Moro 86’), Rubio Gómez, Rebés Ruiz, Clemente Garcés (Martínez Palau 75’), Vieira de Vasconcelos (Lima Solà 86’), Sánchez Alburquerque (Fernández Betriu 66’) Subs not used: Martínez Alejo, García Miramontes, Moreno Marín, Álvarez de Eulate Molne, Pires Costa, García Renom, Bernat Cuadros

Booked: Vales González (foul), Rubio Gómez (foul), Rebés Ruiz (foul), Jordi Rubio (foul), Fernández Betriu (Foul)

Goals: None

Referee: Anastasios Papapetrou
Assistants: Tryfon Petropoulos and Iordanis Aptosoglou
Fourth Official: Athanasios Tziloz

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]