England 7-0 Montenegro
ENGLAND marked their 1,000th senior international with a sackful of goals and Euro 2020 qualification booked as a woeful Montenegro side were swept aside by seven unanswered goals at Wembley Stadium.
The build-up to such a historic occasion should have been marked with a fond look back on all those fortunate enough to have donned the famous Three Lions jersey. Unfortunately, much of the focus switched to an ugly training ground showdown between Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomes. Boss, Gareth Southgate, acted – the Manchester City man banished from the side, the media held court and the inquest swiftly evolved.
But as it transpired, those left trusted with a starting berth proved – as expected – far too strong for the Montenegrins. Keeper Milan Mijatovic, hacked clear from the lurking Kane after Jadon Sancho had dashed clear and delivered from the right. Then, with their next meaningful foray forward the home side took the lead.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain rifled a low angled strike beyond Mijatovic after Ben Chilwell had picked him out. It had all been too easy.
Marcus Rashford was thwarted by Mijatovic, but the stopper could do very little as Kane’s flick-header quickly doubled England’s advantage – Chilwell again the provider.
It was proving to be embarrassingly one-sided. The unmarked Kane arrived unchallenged to head England’s third midway through the opening half – Not surprisingly, Leicester’s Chilwell on the money delivering the flag-kick.
Rashford got in on the act with a sweetly struck fourth – this after Mijatovic had done w.ell to keep out Harry Maguire’s goalbound header.
It was relentless stuff from England. Kane claimed the match ball – his twenty-seventh goal in twenty-eight international appearances – turning and providing a neat finish after Trent Alexander-Arnold had fashioned an opening. To their credit, Montenegro – though battered and bruised during the opening 45 minutes – twice severely tested Jordan Pickford through Marko Simić and skipper Fatos Bećiraj.
England supporters reached from the record books during the interval. However, their charges were still some way short of the 13-0 victory recorded over Ireland in Belfast way back in July 1882. Meanwhile, Mason Mount was denied his first senior international goal by an assistants’ flag, while Maguire nodded over as the assault continued, albeit at a more compassionate pace.
However, a sixth England goal was forthcoming. Aleksandar Sofranac deflecting into his own goal after Rashford had crossed from the left.
Substitute, Tammy Abraham profited from Jadon Sancho’s toil to prod home England’s seventh and final goal of an eventful evening from close range. Southgate’s men will undoubtedly find Kosovo far more of a test when they travel to the Prishtina City Stadium on Sunday, November 17 (5pm).
England: Jordan Pickford, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Harry Maguire, John Stones, Ben Chilwell, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (James Maddison 57’), Harry Winks, Mason Mount (Joe Gomez 70’), Marcus Rashford, Harry Kane (Capt) (Tammy Abramams 57’), Jadon Sancho Subs not used: Kieran Trippier, Nick Pope (GK), Danny Rose, Tyrone Mings, Fikayo Tomori, Declan Rice, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Callum Wilson, Tammy Abraham, Dean Henderson (GK)
Booked: Marcus Rashford (foul)
Goals: Harry Kane 18’, 24’, 37’, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 11’, Marcus Rashford 30’, Aleksandar Sofranac (own-goal) 67’, Tammy Abraham 84’
Montenegro: Milan Mijatovic, Marko Vesovic, Aleksandar Sofranac, Marko Simic, Risto Radunovic (Momcilo Raspopovic 46’), Deni Hocko, Dusan Lagator, Nikola Vukcevic, Vladimir Jovovic (Branislav Jankovic 66’), Sead Haksabanovic (Aleksandar Boljevic 74’), Fatos Beqiraj (Capt) Subs not used: Danijel Petkovic (GK), Boris Kopitovic, Stefan Mugosa, Matija Sarkic (GK), Nemanja Sekulic, Igor Vujacic, Damir Kojasevic, Bulatovic
Booked: Marko Vesovic (foul)
Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
Assistants: Pau Cebrián Devís and Roberto del Palomar
Fourth Official: Xavier Estrada Fernandez
Reaction to follow…