England vs Kosovo
European Qualifiers Group A
7:45pm Tuesday 10th September
St. Mary’s Stadium
A devastating first-half revealing from England was sufficient to repel a courageous Kosovo 5-3 at a pulsating Qualifier at St Mary’s.
After falling behind to Valon Berisha, England responded emphatically, scoring five goals in the opening 45 minutes with Jadon Sancho and Raheem Sterling causing chaos.
Sterling headed home the equaliser (8) until Harry Kane (19) fired England in front. Sancho – starting set of Marcus Rashford – burst into the match helping himself after some play from Sterling on the counter-attack into his first two goals and then just before the break pushing Mergim Vojvoda into an own goal.
Kosovo – unbeaten in their last 15 matches in all competitions – performed bravely after half-time and were rewarded with goals from Berisha (49) and Vedat Muriqi (55).
Despite producing considerable opportunities on the rest, England didn’t add to their total with Kane missing in the penalty spot (65).
It was a performance from Gareth Southgate’s guys who were sometimes scintillating moving but defensively quite vulnerable from the Kosovan press.
This latest success matches for major championships in 10 years and have been with four wins.
In front of a bumper crowd at St Mary ‘s, a portion of the commitment to carry England on something of a trip across the nation of the Football Association, England pooped the celebration atmosphere, falling behind inside 35 seconds.
Ross Barkley’s blind pass was intercepted which placed Michael Keane. His cluttered pass was nicked by Muriqi, who slipped in Berisha. The purpose was the fastest scored in this European qualifying campaign.
There wasn’t any anxiety from Southgate’s side that were level. It had been as highest from a corner rose to go back across goal for Sterling to flaunt his predatory instincts that are new-found inside the box their set-piece artillery that proved critical.
Sterling has eight goals in his last eight England matches but that was his first led goal for his nation.
The Manchester City guy then let his feet do the talking into hands England the lead on 19 minutes ingesting Kane and when breaking through the center of the Kosovan defence. The ball had been beating the back of the net since his goal was fired home by England’s skipper for his country, moving him flat.
Sancho was using an unspectacular time down things the right flank but unleashed himself into the game on 38 minutes to set up England’s third. Together with Fidan Aliti down injured and Kosovo apparently anticipating England to kick out the ball, Sancho played the whistle and got down the wing skidding a low cross over which was comically turned house by Mergim Vojvoda.
Before the break for England to grab two more goals with a few catastrophic soccer against a naive 23, there was still time. Not surprisingly, Sterling was at the heart of both.
After some drama against Declan Rice, Sterling picked at the final chunk. It was the same combination that linked up again. Sterling beat on his marker with a nifty shift of pace down the left and simmer to tap home.
Kosovo tried to play with an attacking mentality and took advantage of a Rice overhaul because Berisha neatly curled his moment, to draw it back into 5-2 despite having blitzed on the counter tops.
That sparked enthusiasm and on 55 minutes that they netted again. Harry Maguire got himself into a pickle inside fouled Muriqi and the region, who slotted home to give the visitors hope of a turnaround that was remarkable.
Arijanet Muric had the opportunity to earn the last 20 minutes a nervy affair but denyed from the penalty area kane – it was Kane’s initial punishment in his 15 spot-kicks. Since Kosovo remained a threat, pushing lots of amounts 20, sterling then struck the pole after through on goal but they might never really land a significant glove on Southgate side.
When they face trips to Bulgaria and Czech Republic england have yet another batch of qualifying fixtures to compete with next month.