England thrash Montenegro to reach European Championships
Harry Kane hits a hat-trick as England set their sights on Euro 2020
14 November, 2019 — By By Paul Cowling at Wembley
Group A European Championship qualifier
ENGLAND qualified in some style for next year’s European Championships with this 7-0 thumping of Montenegro.
A Harry Kane first half hat-trick, and a first senior goal for Tammy Abraham, were among the highlights of an outstanding attacking display at times, by the Three Lions.
After the match, Gareth Southgate paid tribute to the qualities of Tottenham striker Kane. “He (Kane) leads the line and provides goalscoring opportunities for others. Harry is an unselfish striker, but also a ruthless one.”
Southgate made five changes from the 6-0 drubbing of Bulgaria. It was England’s youngest starting line up for 60 years for this most vaunted 1,000th match.
With Raheem Sterling sidelined because of the well publicised contretemps with Joe Gomez, the out-of-form Jadon Sancho joined the inform Marcus Rashford along with skipper Kane in a potent front three.
Montenegro, who historically had frustrated the Three Lions with a few dogged draws in the past, were aware of England’s propensity to defend badly and concede.
Their idea was to attack, but within little time at all, they were already two goals down.
First Oxlade-Chamberlain drilled in on 11 minutes, after being set up by Ben Chillwell, and then Kane, glanced in a deft header on 19 minutes, following a free kick from Chilwell.
It was a third assist from Chilwell, when Kane rose unmarked to head home the Leicester right back’s corner in the 25th minute. 3-0.
Jordan Pickford saved spectacularly from a powerful Marko Simic header, but not long after at the other end, Rashford smashed in England’s fourth on the half hour mark.
Kane slotted home his hat trick for 5-0 on 36 minutes, as the dismantling of the Balkan minnows continued with devastating attack after attack. Kane had become the first England player to score consecutive Wembley hat-tricks.
Montenegro had another chance to score but Pickford save well from Fatos Beqiraj.
The opening quarter of the second half was scrappy. Mason Mount thought he had scored his first England goal, but there was a flag for offside.
Southgate introduced James Maddison for his first full cap, while Kane was replaced by like-for-like striker, Abraham.
The lull in the match continued. But England got a sixth on 66 minutes.
Aleksandar Sofranac, skied the ball into his own net following a melee in the goalmouth. This was the 54th own goal gifted to England in their international history.
Gomez came on to a chorus of boos, replacing Mount. Southgate said he was dismayed, by the derision aimed at the Liverpool defender.
“No England player should be booed when wearing the shirt, argued Southgate. I don’t get it. The players are disappointed with that.”
Gomez slotted in seamlessly and never looked fased by his welcome on to the pitch.
With the Mexican waves over, and England struggling to rediscover their goal threat, pockets of fans left for the exits. Montenegro took to slowing the game down to keep the score down.
England rallied finally and made it 7-0 when Abraham poked home Sancho’s low cross in the 84th minute. This was the Chelsea man’s first senior goal for his country.
“I think the quality of our attacking play is the first half, was excellent”, said Southgate. “We have totally taken teams apart. We know we had a team out there) who would be comfortable on the ball and they killed the game within 25 minutes.”
ENGLAND: Pickford; Alexander-Arnold, Maguire, Stones, Chillwell; Mount (Gomez 70) Winks, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Maddison 58); Sancho, Kane (Abraham 58) Rashford
Subs not used: Pope, Henderson, Trippier, Rose, Tomori, Mings, RIce,Hudson-Odoi, Wilson
MONTENEGRO: Mijatovic; Vesovic, Sofranac, Simic, Radunovic (Raspopovic 46); Hocko, Lagator, Vukcevic; Jovovic (Jankovic 65); Haksabanovic (Vujacic); Beciraj
Subs not used: Petkovic, Sarkic, Kopitovic, Mugosa, Sekulic, Kojasevic, Bulatovic, Boljevic