England beats Malta 4-0 in World Cup qualifying, tops group

England beats Malta 4-0 in World Cup qualifying, tops group”

England beat Malta 4-0 to maintain their leadership in World Cup European zone qualifying Group F on Friday.

But Kane made the breakthrough in the 53rd minute with his fourth goal in his past three internationals, providing the finish after Dele Alli's clever square pass had set up his club colleague.

Kane, after yet another scoreless August, registered twice after the interval with England more threatening against a team ranked 190 in the world following the introduction of Marcus Rashford at the break.

However, the Three Lions had to wait until the last five minutes to make the game safe, with Bertrand firing home from range in the 86th minute before Welbeck and Kane scored in stoppage time to add further gloss to the scoreline.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was also handed a start, with Daniel Sturridge on the substitutes' bench, giving Liverpool supporters a chance to see their newest signing in action.

Next up for Southgate's men is a qualifier against Slovakia at Wembley Stadium on Monday night.

Some England fans booed at half-time
Some England fans booed at half-time

Raheem Sterling passed up the opportunity shoot on goal inside of two minutes after being slid through by Kane, opting to shift the ball onto his right foot instead of immediately looking for the back of the net.

Malta went close on the hour-mark but Joe Hart produced a good save to keep out Magri's low effort.

England continued to toil, but Bertrand's left-footed drive in the 85th minute squeezed under Hogg to put the game beyond Malta.

Kane may have begun September by bringing his mini scoring drought to a timely end, but the way Southgate's side toiled to victory in Malta underlines just how much work needs to be done ahead of the World Cup. England did their best to improve that ratio for them in a desperately poor first-half showing.

Rooney was the last permanent captain before losing his place in Southgate's plans and his retirement last week has reinvigorated the question about a long-term successor. Of course you'd like your goals earlier, and we had a couple of really good early chances, but actually that was a really good test for us. Danny Welbeck added another in injury time from a Kane cross, then the number nine added another soon after while Malta's players chased him at half-pace in the hope he would kick the ball out as an opponent laid on the floor.

As Malta exhausted, England exerted their authority and Ryan Bertrand sealed the win with a long-range shot that slipped past Malta goalkeeper Andrew Hogg with five minutes left.

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