Andorra la Vella (Andorra) (AFP) – Jack Grealish and Ben Chilwell scored their first England goals as the Group I leaders moved closer to World Cup qualification with a 5-0 rout of Andorra on Saturday.
Chilwell put Gareth Southgate’s side ahead in the early stages before Bukayo Saka doubled the lead at the Estadi Nacional.
Tammy Abraham bagged his first England goal for two years after the interval and James Ward-Prowse claimed the fourth.
Grealish, in his first season with Manchester City after his club record move from Aston Villa, came off the bench to join Chilwell with his maiden England goal in the closing stages.
England are four points clear at the top of the group and need two wins from their last three games to make sure of automatic qualification for the World Cup.
They have a home game against Hungary on Tuesday before hosting Albania and travelling to San Marino in November.
The Euro 2020 runners-up should have no problems emerging from that undemanding schedule with a place at next year’s tournament in Qatar.
With Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho delivering influential displays for England, this was a walk in the park for the visitors.
The Estadi Nacional’s VAR monitor and a small section of the artificial pitch were damaged in a fire which tore through the stadium’s television gantry on Friday.
Southgate’s bench was on that side of the pitch, but there was never any danger of the England boss being put on the hot seat by the team from a tiny principality located in the mountains of the Pyrenees.
Andorra, ranked 156 in the world, were intent only on keeping the score down, but their resistance soon went up in smoke.
– Foden shines –
Southgate made 10 alterations from the draw against Poland in England’s previous qualifier as Roma striker Abraham made his first international start for four years.
Chilwell was one of Southgate’s changes and the Chelsea left-back headed narrowly wide before giving England the lead in the 17th minute.
Sancho made a clever run on Foden’s chipped pass before flicking the ball into Chilwell’s path for defender to slot into the empty net.
Initially, Chilwell thought his first England goal would be ruled out for offside, but Ukrainian Kateryna Monzul — the first woman to referee an England men’s match — reversed the decision after a VAR check.
Sancho is yet to score a goal or provide an assist for Manchester United since his move from Borussia Dortmund in the close-season.
Taking on Andorra’s part-timers was an ideal confidence boost for Sancho and his pin-point cross reached Abraham for a header that was well saved.
England had around 90 percent of the possession and it was Manchester City midfielder Foden who was at the heart of their more incisive moments.
Foden was the catalyst for England’s second goal in the 40th minute when his superb no-look pass found Saka and the Arsenal winger fired home at the near post.
Abraham has scored four goals since leaving Chelsea in August and he maintained that strong form in the 59th minute.
Sancho whipped in a cross from the left and Abraham stuck out a leg to prod home from close-range.
Ward-Prowse grabbed England’s fourth in the 79th minute after Chus Rubio conceded a penalty with his foul on Grealish.
The Southampton midfielder’s spot-kick was saved by Josep Gomes but he recovered quickly to slam in the rebound.
With Andorra exhausted, Grealish was able to run onto goalkeeper Sam Johnstone’s long throw and slot in from 10 yards in the 86th minute.
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