England beat Malta 4-0 away from home on Friday evening to keep their lead atop Group C of Euro 2024 qualifying. The fixture is a David versus Goliath type of matchup. After all, Malta had lost its last 11 total Euro qualifiers. It is currently ranked No. 172 by FIFA, the fourth-lowest in Europe. England, on the other hand, claim victories in 19 of its last 20 Euro qualifiers under Gareth Southgate.
Alexander-Arnold runs the show from midfield
The Three Lions grabbed the first goal of the game after just eight minutes on the clock. Trent Alexander-Arnold, playing with the number 10 jersey in midfield, sent a gorgeous ball over the top to Bukayo Saka. The Arsenal winger then squared a pass toward Harry Kane inside the box. Although it seemed as if the striker put the ball into the net, it was eventually given as an own goal by Ferdinando Apap.
Alexander-Arnold then doubled his team’s lead in the 28th minute with an absolute stunner from long-range. The Liverpool star collected a loose ball outside of the box and struck a curling effort into the back of the net. Alexander-Arnold wrapped his foot around the ball to place it just out of the reach of the diving goalkeeper.
England earned a penalty kick just two minutes later after Harry Kane was brought down inside the area. The Maltese keeper made the initial save from another shot outside of the box, but the ball fell straight to the Spurs striker. However, the star didn’t have a chance to play the ball, as he was fouled prior to taking the shot. Kane stepped up to take the spot kick and calmly buried the shot right down the middle.
Visitors coast to victory in second half
After going into the halftime break with a 3-0 lead, England appeared content with the advantage. The Three Lions had 70% possession and all seven shots in the match up to that point. With the game under control, the visitors wouldn’t push for an additional goal early in the second half.
Nevertheless, England were given another penalty in the 82nd minute, this time for a handball. The call was not initially given on the pitch, but VAR intervened to help make the decision. With Kane not on the field anymore, Callum Wilson took the spot kick. The Newcastle striker eventually sent the keeper the wrong way to score just his second goal for his country. England maintains its spot atop Group C in Euro 2024 qualifying, while Malta remains bottom.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Pro Sports Images
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