England ensured a top seeding at Euro 2024 with a hard-fought 2-0 home win over Group C minnows Malta, an uninspiring victory that left the Wembley crowd underwhelmed.
All that separated Gareth Southgate’s lackluster side from 171st-ranked Malta was an early own goal by Enrico Pepe until Captain Harry Kane finally doubled England’s lead with his 62nd goal for his country after good work by Bukayo Saka. Declan Rice also had an effort ruled out for offside, creating some hints of anxiety along the way.
There was little to get excited about as many England fringe players failed to make a statement of intent. However, the victory over Malta ensures that England will win Group C, no matter the outcome in North Macedonia on Monday.
Be sure to catch the action from the Euro 2024 qualifiers and get the latest odds and tips with England vs Malta live, as Trent Alexander-Arnold receiving the keys to England’s midfield suggests monumental change.
In the 78th minute, Declan Rice’s goal was chalked off for offside, dampening spirits, but the needle moved as he scored a thunderous shot against Malta in the 76th minute. This was only two minutes after Kane finished off a fine one-touch move.
Many questions clouded the night as the crowd witnessed a lackluster performance until England finally clicked late in the game. Southgate’s post-match interview with BBC Radio 5 Live revealed their disappointment. Southgate, speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, admitted their low performance and less number of chances created. That night’s game showcased England’s struggles and the lack of quality on the ball.
Finally, Harry Kane had been involved in a total of 33 goals for club and country in 20 appearances for that season, a record to be proud of. Cole Palmer’s debut also elevated the spirits, becoming the 13th Chelsea player to appear for England under Southgate.
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