Original title: England’s low-key win over Malta leaves plenty of room for improvement – 5 topics
England 2-0 Malta: Harry Kane scores his 62nd international goal to earn Southgate’s side three points despite subpar performance at Wembley
England’s 2-0 win over Malta at Wembley increased their chances of becoming the first seed at Euro 2024.
The Three Lions took the lead in the eighth minute when Enrico Pepe turned Phil Foden’s cross into his own net. However, Gareth Southgate’s side didn’t have a shot on target until just after the hour mark and struggled to create many clear-cut chances throughout.
But England doubled their advantage in the 75th minute when Harry Kane completed a free move and fired home from close range. Declan Rice thought he had added a third goal when he swept the ball into the bottom corner, but his shot was ruled offside by VAR. However, this did not affect the overall result as the Three Lions recorded their sixth win in seven games in Group C.
Southgate’s side have already qualified for Euro 2024, but only five of the 10 group winners and hosts Germany will be seeded. Victory over North Macedonia on Monday should be enough to move England into first place in next month’s draw. Here are five topics in the game.
After suffering a 4-0 defeat in June’s comeback, Malta looked to have a point to prove in the opening stages and they almost took the lead within the first minute. Teddy Teuma pounced on the error and headed for the edge of the area, but his low shot sailed over the post.
Although they started well, England took the lead due to unfortunate circumstances. Foden’s first touch was clean as the City midfielder burst into the box and his pass deflected off Pepe and the ball went past the hapless goalkeeper and into the goal.
England needed to break the deadlock as Malta started well and Michel Marcolini’s side actually had more shots in the first half (three) than the Three Lions (two). In fact, Southgate’s side didn’t have a shot on target until the 63rd minute, although Kane’s goal did put the result beyond doubt.
Kane thought he had won England a penalty in the 28th minute. The Bayern Munich striker went down in the penalty area after trying to get around Henri Bonello.
He insisted he was brought down by the Maltese goalkeeper, but referee Luis Godinho had other ideas and gave Kane a yellow card. Replays appeared to indicate there was contact between Kane’s boot and Bonello’s body, although VAR decided not to intervene.
However, this is not the first time Kane has been booked for diving. During a game against Wolves for Tottenham Hotspur in December 2018, Kane was cautioned after collapsing under a challenge from Ivan Cavaleiro. Kane, meanwhile, was dubbed the biggest diver in the Premier League by Chris Sutton last year.
Tribute to Sir Bobby
England have paid tribute to the late Sir Bobby Charlton ahead of their match against Malta at Wembley. This is his first game for the Three Lions since his tragic death on Saturday, October 21.
Fans on the first floor of the South Stand held a banner reading “Sir Bobby” as the players gathered in the center circle before kick-off. Minutes of applause followed as England remembered one of their greatest players of all time. 1966 World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst and FA chairman Debbie Hewitt both took to the pitch carrying wreaths and Charlton’s famous No. 9 jersey.
Charlton scored 49 goals in 106 games for his country and was the Three Lions’ top scorer before Rooney broke that record in September 2015.
Palmer’s England debut
After an impressive start to the season, Chelsea winger Palmer gets his chance to shine on the international stage when England take on Malta. Palmer, who has scored 6 goals and grabbed 4 assists in 14 games this season, came on as a substitute in the 61st minute.
In the process, Palmer became the 60th player to make his debut under Southgate. He seemed smart when he was introduced and developed sublime skills later on. The 21-year-old dazzled just outside the mark to win a corner, with Palmer beaming as he rose from the floor. It was a night to remember for him.
Alexander-Arnold midfield experiment
Southgate raised his eyebrows before the game when Trent Alexander-Arnold was handed the No. 10 shirt and a midfield spot. The Liverpool defender started as part of a midfield three alongside Connor Gallagher and Jordan Henderson, with Kieran Trippier at right-back.
However, it’s safe to say that Southgate’s experiment didn’t work. There seemed to be no balance in the first half, with the England manager opting to change the balance at half-time. Gallagher and Tomori were replaced by Bukayo Saka and Kyle Walker, Foden moved into the midfield and Trippier switched to left back.Return to Sohu to see more