Sunday. 19.05.2024

Jack Grealish scored his first international goal as England cruised to a comfortable 5-0 win in Andorra in World Cup qualifying Group I on Saturday.

Gareth Southgate named a largely second-string outfit at the Estadi Nacional but they had no problem dispatching a side ranked 153 places beneath them, Ben Chilwell setting them on their way in the 17th minute with his first international goal.

Bukayo Saka added a second before half-time, while Tammy Abraham, James Ward-Prowse and substitute Grealish sealed the most routine of wins in the second period. Phil Foden shone throughout.

A sixth win in seven group games means England move onto 19 points at the summit, while Andorra remain in fifth on three points. 

Albania's surprise 1-0 win in Hungary meant they are second on 15 points with Poland, 5-0 victors over San Marino, third on 14.

"It's a good night for me and the boys," Abraham told ITV. "Luckily we got an early goal.

"Some of things we have done tonight, there's a lot to be positive about going forward."

Kateryna Monzul became the first woman to referee an England senior game after the match went ahead despite a fire at the Andorra ground on Friday.

VAR review

England went ahead when Chilwell lashed home from 10 metres after being teed up by Jadon Sancho, the goal given after a lengthy VAR review for a possible offside against the Manchester United man.

Abraham headed straight at Josep Gomes soon after, while John Stones nodded over the crossbar from a promising position as England continued to dominate. 

Southgate's men doubled their advantage five minutes before the interval when Saka collected Foden's fine pass and thumped past Gomes from a tight angle.

Sancho was the provider again for England's third in the 59th minute, his inswinging cross from the left poked home by an unmarked Abraham from close range.

Ward Prowse scored a fourth 11 minutes from full-time, the Southampton midfielder firing in the rebound after his initial penalty had been saved by Gomes, the spot-kick given following a foul on Grealish.

The Manchester City forward then wrapped up the scoring in the 86th minute, slotting into the bottom-left corner after being picked out by Sam Johnstone's long throw.

England hardly had to get out of second gear to seal maximum points against their limited opponents, the Three Lions taking 17 shots to the hosts' one and registering a whopping 86 per cent possession. 

The game afforded Southgate the opportunity to give some of his squad players a run out, with Sancho and James Ward-Prowse, in particular, putting in lively displays.

EURO 2020 Disappointment

Saka has bounced back from the disappointment of his missed penalty in the Euro 2020 final shoot-out against Italy in superb style.

He followed up his goal in the reverse fixture against Andorra last month with another to become the youngest player (20 years and 34 days) to score in consecutive appearances for England since Wayne Rooney in 2004 (18 years and 241 days).

He is also the youngest ever Arsenal player to net in consecutive games for the Three Lions.

One fringe player who struggled to make an impact was Jesse Lingard. The Manchester United man failed to have a single shot or make a key pass during his 73 minutes on the pitch, while he lost possession 13 times.

Both sides are in action again on Tuesday, with the Three Lions hosting Hungary at Wembley Stadium and Andorra travelling to San Marino.

Andorra 0-5 England: Grealish scores first international goal in romp