England remains firmly on their way to Qatar 2022 and achieved their second victory in Group I against Albania this Sunday thanks to goals from Harry Kane and Mason Mount (0-2).
Kane, who did not play a single minute against San Marino, retaliated by opening the scoring and cutting his gap with Wayne Rooney as the national team’s top scorer. The Tottenham Hotspur forward has already scored 33 goals, to 20 behind Rooney, who set the mark at 53.
The English took out all the artillery to avoid surprises at the first exchange against teams of lower level, as already happened to France and Spain. After dispatching San Marino 5-0, giving rest to many starters, Gareth Southgate put all the meat on the grill so that fierce Albania would not get anything positive from Tirana.
And that the Albanians had the first of the match when a poor delivery from England was converted into a counterattack that left only Uzuni on the front, whose hasty shot went high.
English dominance didn’t translate into clear occasions until Kane opened the can at 38 minutes. A Luke Shaw cross in which the Albanian centrals fell asleep caused Kane to anticipate and cross a header to the far post.
England had already done the most difficult and only the wood prevented him from expanding the account quickly. First it was Kane, who just before half-time hit a point-blank shot off the crossbar, and then it was Phil Foden who hit the wood after a good play by Raheem Sterling down the left.
But the superiority of the ‘Three Lions’ was such that it was a matter of time before the second fell. In a three-quarter recovery, Kane got rid of the center-backs with a deep pass that Mount converted with two touches over the Albanian goalkeeper.
Kane was left with the desire to continue adding goals to his account, when he missed a very clear chance when he launched himself to finish off a pass from Sterling, but England came out victorious from Albania and takes a giant step to be in Qatar, by opening a gap already in Group I.
Southgate’s men lead the table with six points, with seven goals in favor and none against, while Albania remains second with three points. The next stop for the English will be against Poland at Wembley next Wednesday.
– Data sheet:
0 – Albania: Berisha; Veseli, Djimsiti, Ismajli, Hysaj; Memolla (Gjasula, m.59), Bare (Memushaj, m.71), Laci (Ramadani, m.89); Broja (Lenjani, m.59), Cikalleshi (Manaj, m.59) and Uzuni.
2 – England: Pope; Shaw, Stones, Maguire, Walker; Phillips (Ward-Prowse, m.71), Rice, Foden (Lingard, m.81); Mount, Kane and Sterling.
Goals: 0-1. Kane, m.38 and 0-2. Mount, m.63.
Referee: Oscar Grinfeld (ISR) admonished Gjasula (m.89) by the locals and Walker (m.69) and Kane (m.73) by the visitors
Incidents: Match corresponding to the second day of Group I of the qualifying phase for the Qatar 2022 World Cup played at the Air Albania Stadium in Tirana behind closed doors.