Harry Kane scored a hat-trick as England beat Bulgaria at Wembley Stadium in UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying on Saturday evening.
He scored the opener as Raheem Sterling seized on an awful error from the visitors midway through the first-half. Two quickfire strikes, one from the Tottenham Hotspur man and the other from Raheem Sterling, saw the Three Lions seize a comfortable advantage just after the break. Kane secured his treble as another penalty was awarded and he stayed cool to again send the ball into the back of the net.
England starved of service early on
The first real chance of the game fell to the visitors and Brazilian-born striker Wanderson as he forced Jordan Pickford into a low save but it was relatively comfortable for the stopper.
England were frustrated throughout the first 15 minutes of the game as Bulgaria employed a somewhat defensive system. They did have the ball in the net via Kane but the goal was ruled out due to the striker being marginally offside.
Embarrassing from Bulgaria
The opening goal did eventually come and it was a silly error from the visitors that resulted in it. Bulgaria attempted to play out from the back only for goalkeeper Iliev to gift the ball straight to Raheem Sterling. The Manchester City man raced down the by-line and pulled the ball back to Kane for an easy first time finish from close range.
The Tottenham Hotspur man could have doubled the advantage just before the break but his header did not trouble Iliev all too much.
Wanderson also had another great chance to get on the scoresheet as he ran in-behind but could only shoot straight at Pickford once again.
Kane from the spot again
The visitors’ encouragement did not last for very long however as Rashford wrong-footed Bodurov in the penalty area and was taken down. Kane predictably was given the task of putting the ball into the net and he did just that as he blasted it high to the goalkeeper’s left.
He was then the architect as he found space to race down the left and pull the ball across for Sterling who converted from close range with his thigh.
Kane then had another opportunity from the penalty spot as he was tripped in the box buy substitute Dimitrov. There was no hesitation once again as he went the opposite way to secure his treble and another emphatic victory for England.
Despite the scoreline, Gareth Southgate’s men really were frustrated by Bulgaria throughout the opening half of the match as their defensive system really suffocated the match. However, the Three Lions were much improved after the restart and were much deserving of their victory. As a result, they now reclaim top spot in the group ahead of Tuesday’s match against Kosovo.
England:Pickford (7); Rose (7), Maguire (8), Keane (6), Trippier (6); Rice (6), Barkley (6), Henderson (6) (Mount (6), 66’); Sterling (7) (Sancho (6), 71’), Rashford (6), Kane (9) (Oxlade-Chamberlain (N/A), 77’).
Bulgaria:Iliev (6); Nedyalkov (5), Bozhikov (6), Bodurov (5) (Dimitrov (5), 65’), Sarnov (5), Wanderson (6), Malinov (6), I. Popov (6), Ivanov (5) (Mladenov (N/A), 82’); Marcelinho (7) (Despodov (5), 67’).
Goals: Kane (24′, 49′ PEN, 73′ PEN), Sterling (55′)
Referee: Marco Guida
Yellow Cards: Keane (30′), Bodurov (36′), Rose (90+3′)
Red Cards: N/A
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