Birthday boy, Bukayo Saka, put his Euro 2020 final penalty miss behind him by scoring on his return to Wembley with England as Gareth Southgate’s side won 4-0 against Andorra to maintain their 100 percent start to World Cup qualifying.
Fifty-six days on from that shoot-out defeat to Italy, Saka leapt at the back post to head in England’s final goal of a Sunday evening stroll past the world’s 156th ranked side, to mark his 20th birthday in style.
The Arsenal forward had received racist abuse in the wake of his saved spot-kick in the summer but got the loudest cheer when the teams were read out and earned a measure of redemption by capping his comeback performance for his country with a goal.
Jesse Lingard finished with a double but the floodgates didn’t open up initially after his 18th-minute strike, with Andorra preventing their hosts – who had made 11 changes from Thursday’s win over Hungary – from having another shot on target in the first half.
Reece James, after swapping right-back for central midfield with Trent Alexander-Arnold at half-time, rattled the bar with a thunderbolt soon after the restart but it took an A-list triple substitution on the hour mark to kick start the goal rush England’s dominance deserved.
Jack Grealish fed Mason Mount to win a penalty which was hammered in by Harry Kane (72) – moving him level with Michael Owen on 40 goals for his country – before Lingard added a too-easy second for himself (78) and Saka drew delighted celebrations in the stands and among his team-mates (85).
After the intensity and abuse, England’s players experienced away in Budapest on Thursday night, this cruise in the September sunshine was more a celebration of the team’s achievement’s at Euro 2020, with Gareth Southgate receiving a warm ovation from a family-filled Wembley Stadium before the warm-ups.#
The task will be much tricker on Wednesday when England go away to Poland but, with five wins from five under their belt and a commanding lead at the top of Group I, they’ll know victory in Warsaw will all but secure their place at the World Cup in Qatar.
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