WORLD CUP 2018 RUSSIA QUALIFIERS: ENGLAND 2-0 MALTA

Dele Alli scores header for England

FIFA WORLD CUP 2018 RUSSIA: ENGLAND 2-0 MALTA

World Cup 2018 Qualifiers: England 2-0 Malta

England 2-0 Malta

Daniel Sturridge (29’min)

Dele Alli (38’min)

The brave and competent England National Team defeated Malta with ease at Wembley Stadium in London under the leadership of new England manager Gareth Southgate in his debut match. Southgate began his reign as England boss for four games after Big Sam Allardyce was fired as manager following England’s World Cup qualifying victory in Slovakia.

Daniel Sturridge opened the match scoring with a superb header at 29 minutes from Jordan Henderson's cross. Then Dele Alli scored the second before half-time with his second international career goal for England, putting England 2-0 up.

Malta's goalkeeper Andrew Hogg stopped England from further goals, with heroic saves from Alli, Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott and debutant Jesse Lingard and hosts England made it maximum points from their two qualifiers to date.

Southgate went with Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge and Manchester United’s Lingard rather than Manchester United's talented teenager Marcus Rashford in attack. Sturridge scored a goal and Lingard made a good run to set up Walcott’s goal in the second half justifying Southgate’s selection.

England captain Wayne Rooney had 177 touches on the ball playing in deep midfield.

Southgate will next face a match away to Slovenia on Tuesday. Then Scotland will travel to Wembley on November 11th.

Man of the match is England’s Jordan Henderson who completed 165 passes for England.

After the win, England interim manager Gareth Southgate was delighted but thought his side could have scored more goals. 

"I thought first half we played well, we could and should have scored more goals. Their goalkeeper made some good saves and subconsciously I think some of our players looked after themselves physically in the second half,” said Southgate. "We missed a couple of good chances but given where we were 10 days ago I am pleased with the result. You have to accept [mistakes] with attacking players. I think Lingard had an outstanding debut, linked the play and looked a real threat. He is an exciting player and the stage was made for him. He's enjoyed Wembley, scored twice here in past for Manchester United, and I thought he had a very good game.”

"We could have moved the ball more quickly but the game in Slovenia will be different. We managed today, we would have liked more but we'll go from there,” added Southgate. “I have enjoyed the whole week. I would have liked to give the crowd four or five goals but in their last qualifying group Malta only lost by one goal against Croatia and Italy in both matches. Their goalkeeper played well and they defended in heavy numbers but we could have won it by more."

England will travel to face Slovenia hoping to maintain their 100% record in Group F.

Left-back Ryan Bertrand who received a hamstring injury against Malta, will be replaced by Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs.

England goalkeeper Joe Hart gets credit for the clean sheet. England have kept a clean sheet in each of their last six qualifiers. The Three Lions have won their last 14 qualifying matches and are undefeated in their last 31 qualifiers overall having won 24 and drawn 7.

Daniel Sturridge scores for England

Squads

England 

Hart, Walker, Bertrand (Rose, 19), Henderson, Cahill, Stones, Walcott (Rashford, 68), Alli, Sturridge (Vardy, 73), Rooney, Lingard

Malta 

Hogg, Muscat, Agius, Camilleri, Borg, Kristensen, Sciberras, Fenech, Muscat, Schembri (Muscast, 87), Effiong (Mifsud, 76)

England captain Wayne Rooney

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