England came head to head with a determined Kosovo team to bring an end to their UEFA Euro 2020 qualification campaign, and while it wasn’t the eight goal thriller we got in the reverse fixture, it was certainly entertaining. The Three Lions beat their determined opponents 4-0, confirming their place as a top seed ahead of next year’s tournament.
Harry Winks opened the scoring just after the half hour mark after a sustained period of pressure from the visitors. In what was a fun atmosphere at the game it felt like Kosovo were gradually growing in confidence, and the fans could really feel that. It took until the last 10 minutes for England to really put the game behind them courtesy of Harry Kane, before Marcus Rashford and Mason Mount completed the rout.
Getting it done
England boss Gareth Southgate had the following to say after the win.
“It was a tight game and a good test for us. It was a difficult pitch, with players slipping and passes going astray. We needed a tighter game and a challenge. I’m happy we got that. We had to sustain spells of pressure and gave them chances – on another night that would be a problem. But attacking, we were ruthless.
“Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, in his stage of returning, he’s been a real plus with the power of his running and attacking threat. I thought Harry Winks was excellent in both games and takes the ball well when we need calming.
Is it coming home?
“The set-plays in particular are something we have to look at. There have been too many people free in the box and chances given away. We know there is still a bit of work to do but I can’t fault the players in this campaign, they’ve been ruthless.”
The next step for England will be to start their preparations for Euro 2020, whereas Kosovo know that they are still in the hunt when it comes to securing a spot via the playoffs. Either way this was a showcase occasion for the country of Kosovo, and it’s great to see them rise up and become a force that could soon become dark horses within European football.
Kosovo: Muric (6), Kololli (6), Aliti (5), Rrahmani (5.5), Vojvoda (6), Dresevic (5.5), Rashica (5.5), Berisha (6.5), Celina (6), Hadergjonaj (6.5), Nuhiu (6.5), Halimi (6), Rashani (6), Zhegrova (6)
England: Pope (7), Alexander-Arnold (6.5), Maguire (7.5), Mings (7), Chilwell (8), Oxlade-Chamberlain (7), Rice (7), Winks (7.5), Sterling (8), Kane (9), Hudson-Odoi (7), Mount (7.5), Tomori (6), Rashford (8)
Referee: Pawel Gil
Goals: Winks, Rashford, Kane, Mount
Yellow Cards: Kololli
Red Cards: N/A
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