Saturday, November 27

Harry Kane hits a hat-trick as England pass Albania on their way to Qatar | 2022 World Cup Qualifiers


Harry Kane wanted to take his time, revel in the moment, and after the season he’s had so far, who could blame him? The England captain approached Jordan Henderson after seeing his number rise in the 63rd minute and, with deliberate ceremony, transferred the bracelet to him. Then there was applause for the four corners of Wembley and a little trot to the bench.

England held a 5-0 lead at the time, the goals came during a round in the first half on Albania’s goal, and Kane had three of them. He should have had more because the visitors gave a kind of disaster on defense, but he could be very pleased with his return, which served to analyze the last round of scrutiny on him.

Kane had been poor in England’s 1-1 draw against Hungary here last month, although he was not alone, and everyone knows that he has had more coaches at Tottenham this season (two) than Premier League goals (one).

This was much better, even if the dearth of opposition were to be considered, Kane went to 44 goals for England in 66 appearances. Wayne Rooney’s record of 53 moves closer and closer. With Harry Maguire and Henderson scoring the others, England delighted 80,366 spectators and, in the process, almost concluded automatic qualification for the World Cup in Qatar.

It is not official yet because Poland is three points behind in the group and there is a knockout round to come. However, England only need one point in San Marino on Monday to do it that way. Enough talk.

Southgate had spoken on Thursday about the reinvigorated connection between the country and the team, illustrated by how general admission tickets had been sold out long before this match, and what everyone wanted was a reaction to Hungary’s game last month. How they did it.

Hungary’s draw was marked not only by crowd problems, but also by a laborious display. Here Southgate returned to a 3-4-3. Balance and solidity are everything. Plus, it’s the players who make the systems and Reece James, as a marauding right-back, hell-bent on going forward, illustrated the point. Pinned to the flank, it was the fit Chelsea player who drove the play that led to England’s second goal. He stopped Lorenc Trashi in a flashy surge and, when the ball broke for Henderson, England were in business. Henderson exchanged passes with Foden and his cross from the baseline was perfect for Kane, who had fallen into space.

Harry Maguire rises at the far post to lead England
Harry Maguire rises at the far post to lead England to the lead, as the Manchester United defender leaves his poor club form behind. Photograph: Andy Rain / EPA

It was the impetus for England to have fun. They had led when Harry Maguire benefited from the first evidence that Albania’s defense was going to be generous to the extreme, rambling unopposed on James’ free kick to land a header on Thomas Strakosha. Now they turned the screw.

Henderson looked anything but a screen midfielder and his 3-0 goal was a beauty, working on a give and take with Kane after good work from James and Foden, stepping inside Ardian Ismajli and finishing off with his left foot to the side. contrary. corner.

Myrto Uzuni had thrown a heads-up for Albania in the 14th minute at 1-0, shooting too close to Jordan Pickford after Kyle Walker’s horror pass, and it really was hard not to wince at his attempts to hold. England with outstretched arm.

It’s no exaggeration to say that Kane could have had at least six before the break, although he could be quite happy with the only hat-trick. His second and fourth from England followed a pass from Raheem Sterling and a simple shoulder drop that opened the space against the unfortunate Kastriot Dermaku, who had entered as an early substitute. He threw the shot to the far corner.

Kane’s third came from a corner from Foden, everyone including Albania defenders, watching him throw a scissor kick and make a good connection, the ball was deflected towards the roof of the net in front of Dermaku. How was the ball allowed to fall without challenge?

Albania looked stunned and they were lucky that Kane had blocked a lateral effort with his foot, dragged another opportunity and sent a crouched header just past the post.

It was easy to remember how the year had started for England: with ghost games at Wembley in March, no fans for the playoffs against San Marino and Poland. They had been part of the first round of World Cup qualifiers.

The huge crowd reinforced the shift to normality and there was a sizable Albanian contingent within her, presumably peering through the gaps in her fingers. His team had been physical from the start, leaving a few markers at Kane & Co, but it wasn’t long before they were chasing shadows. They were not helped by the losses of Keidi Bare and Marash Kumbulla due to injuries in the first 17 minutes.

The second half was unsurprisingly less intense, notably notably by Emile Smith Rowe making his debut. Albania wanted to save face and they did. England was in no mood to deepen the humiliation.


www.theguardian.com

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