In their pursuit of Euro 2024 qualification, the England national team continued their winning streak with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Malta on Friday. This match marked the penultimate round of Group 3 qualifiers.
⚽ England’s Triumph: Own Goal and Harry Kane’s Contribution
Malta’s Enrico Bebe unintentionally scored an own goal in the 8th minute, giving England an early lead. Harry Kane extended the lead with the second goal in the 75th minute. Having already secured qualification, England played with ease, securing the top spot with 19 points, while Malta remained point-less in the last position.
🌟 First Half Highlights
The game began with a rare early opportunity for Malta as England’s Conor Gallagher lost possession, allowing Tumma to attempt a shot in the 2nd minute. England opened the scoring in the 8th minute when Phil Foden received the ball from his teammate Mark Guehi. Foden’s attempt to send a cross deflected off defender Bebe, deceiving the goalkeeper.
England’s defender Harry Maguire delayed in dealing with the ball, allowing Paul Mbong to snatch it and take a rushed shot over the goal in the 11th minute. The match appeared more like a training session for England, lacking real intensity. Trippier took a corner, reaching Maguire, whose header was blocked by the defense in the 25th minute.
In the 28th minute, England players appealed for a penalty after their captain Harry Kane was tripped by the goalkeeper. However, instead of awarding a penalty, the referee showed a yellow card to Bayern Munich star Kane.
🔄 Second-Half Action
Kyle Walker and Bukayo Saka joined England’s lineup between the halves, replacing Fikayo Tomori and Gallagher. The referee once again denied England a penalty in the 53rd minute after Marcus Rashford fell inside the box.
Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips entered the field for Jordan Henderson and Rashford, sparking increased attacking movements for England. In the 75th minute, Harry Kane added the second goal after receiving Foden’s pass, rounding it from the right for a successful finish.
Rice scored a beautiful goal with a powerful shot in the 78th minute, but it was disallowed by VAR due to Kane’s offside, obstructing the goalkeeper’s view. England nearly scored a third goal in the 87th minute, but Rice failed to capitalize on Kane’s cross before Arnold unleashed a long-range shot saved by the goalkeeper in the 89th minute.