European Qualifiers Day 5 - England vs Andorra
Updated: Oct 13, 2021
Fifa World Cup Qualifying
Yet another round of qualifying in the European bracket for the 2022 World Cup took place overnight as matchday 5 took center stage. Groups B, C, E, I, & J all had fixtures take place. For all the latest scores, tables, and a closer look at the match of the day, please read on.
ENGLAND vs ANDORRA
The Three Lions returned to Wembley to face minnows Andorra in match week 5 competition. I'll be honest, I was counting on Switzerland vs Italy having something of note happened, but alas it was not to be.
England made 11 changes to the side that defeated Hungary at the Puskas Arean 4-0. There was an all-new looking midfield with Jude Bellingham and Jordan Henderson joined by right-back Trent Alexander Arnold in an experiment fan's across the globe had been curious to see for quite some time. He wasn't the only right-back who Southgate experimented with. After halftime Reece James was employed as a defensive midfielder.
England was never headed by their less fancied opponents as they dominated the ball. By the end of the match, they had picked up an incredible 82% of possession.
Jesse Lingard got the party started in the first half. Saka crossed the ball in from the left and despite the ball being cleared by the Andorran defender, it only got as far as the Manchester United man as he buried it to give the home side a well-deserved early lead.
England kept knocking on the door all half, but it was to no avail. The best chance fell to debutant Patrick Bamford, but he snatched at the chance, and the sides headed into the break with scores at 1-0.
The second half headed down a similar path until Grealish, Mount & Kane were summoned from the bench. Mount won the penalty for Harry Kane to make it 2-0 before Lingard struck again to make it 3-0.
The coup de gras was the goal nodded in by birthday boy Bukayo Saka. Cheered on by a wildly jubilant crowd, he scored the fourth. A perfect return to Wembley for one of the players who had suffered racial abuse after missing a penalty in the Euro 2020 final.
It would be remiss of me to mention the performance by 18-year-old Jude Bellingham. In a generation of tremendous talents, he genuinely looks like he may just be the biggest. In my opinion, he was clearly the man of the match.
In a touching moment during his post-match interview, Bukayo Saka was serenaded by fans singing happy birthday to him. Clearly moved he said-
"It was the perfect birthday present for me, I am really happy with the reception everyone gave me. It really shows how proud they are of me and I think that meant a lot for me and it made me want to give my all. It really made a difference. Even now, I can hear so many fans chanting my name. It means everything. It makes me believe that everyone supports me through different things. This is what I dreamed about. Playing at Wembley in front of a full crowd and my family, scoring on my 20th birthday. I am really happy."
In other European qualifying news, there was the aforementioned draw between Italy & Switzerland. Luckily enough there were bags of goals elsewhere as Poland put 7 past San Marino, Spain banged in 4 and Germany scored 6 against Armenia.
Group B: Spain 4-0 Georgia, Kosovo 1-1 Greece
Group C: Bulgaria 1-0 Lithuania, Switzerland 0-0 Italy
Group E: Belgium 3-0 Czech Republic
Group J: Iceland 2-2 N. Macedonia, Romania 2-0 Liechtenstein, Germany 6-0 Armenia
IMAGES COURTESY OF UEFA.COM
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