England beat Kosovo 4-0 in their final Euro 2020 qualifier to top Group A and ensure they are seeded for next year’s tournament.
Harry Winks opened the scoring for England on 32 minutes with a cool finish from close range before Harry Kane scored from a similar distance with just 12 minutes left to play in the game.
Substitute Marcus Rashford then made the score 3-0 just four minutes later with a neat first time finish.
The Three Lions weren’t done there though and fellow sub Mason Mount completed the scoring with a curling effort put England four ahead.
England had already secured their place at the summer’s Euro 2020, but knew a win would mean they went into the tournament as one of the six top seeded sides.
Gareth Southgate made five changes to his side from the 7-0 win over Montenegro last time out, with Nick Pope making his first start in goal for his country.
And the Burnley goalkeeper was called into action with just over five minutes played in the game. Kosovo had started brightly, and striker Atdhe Nuhiu’s looping header was well watched by Pope.
England’s first chance came through Raheem Sterling, the Manchester City man turned well in the box to space for a right-footed shot, but it was well saved by club teammate Arijanet Muric in the Kosovo goal.
England were struggling to create any chances and the away side certainly weren’t having it their own way. A couple of long range efforts just before the 25 minute mark were easily caught by Pope.
Callum Hudson-Odoi had been quiet for the opening half an hour but burst into life with 15 minutes to go. The Chelsea man took on a number of Kosovo defenders before letting go with a right-footed strike. Muric was equal to it though.
England had grown into the game and took the lead with 32 minutes on the clock. Winks made the most of a gap in the Kosovo backline and burst through it following a pass from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, to cooly pass the ball into the back of the net.
1-0 the score at half time.
Kosovo started the second half in a positive fashion, causing England to struggle defensively. A Bersant Celina corner was well worked and Amir Rrahmani was inches away from drawing the home side level with a flicked header.
The defender then had a great chance moments later. England were all over the place as Kosovo pushed for an equaliser at the start of the second period. The 25-year-old found acres of space but his header was off target.
England managed to get through a difficult half and the introduction of Marcus Rashford helped Southgate’s side. A cutback from Sterling allowed Kane to strike a ball first time from a tight angle, but the Tottenham man could only hit the post.
England secured the victory with 12 minutes remaining in the game. A deflected cross from Sterling allowed Kane to fire home his 12th goal of the qualifying campaign from just a couple of yards out, to make the score 2-0.
Just four minutes later and England were taking advantage of a deflated opposition. Substitute, Rashford’s impressive first time finish into the bottom corner followed some neat build up play and England were in cruise control.
The scoring was completed in stoppage time when Chelsea’s Mount made the most of a Ibrahim Dresevic slip to curl past Muric and add England’s fourth goal of the game and third in 12 minutes.
That is how it finished. England ending qualifying top of Group A, and will be seeded for this summer’s tournament which takes place across Europe.
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