England took on Kosovo last night in the European Championship Qualifiers in what turned out to be the most entertaining game of the season so far!
Eight goals, two braces, one own goal, two penalties and five yellow cards. This was the recipe for last nights qualifier game between these two sides. Goals were expected in this game but not from both sides. England are currently ranked fourth in the world, with Kosovo ranked 120th!
Prior to the match, Kosovo’s manager Bernard Challandes was the source of entertainment. The pre-match interview saw him shouting at interviews when describing his sides approach to the game. He said before the game his side were going to St Mary’s to win the match, not sit back.
England fielded a very strong eleven, which saw Kane, Sterling, Henderson, Sancho and Maguire all starting.
You've got to love Kosovo manager Bernard Challandes.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) September 10, 2019
England vs Kosovo
The home side got off to the worst possible start. A poor back pass saw Berisha scoring one on one after just 34 seconds. This was the dream start for the visitors who weren’t even expected to score let alone take the lead. However, this lead lasted just seven minutes with Sterling converting a cross into the box with a header.
The captain, Harry Kane, then doubled Englands tally with a good left footed finish in the 18th minute. From this point on England went into next gear and controlled the game. They got a third through some good work by Sancho who forced Vojvoda to convert the ball into his own net with eight minutes of the first half left. Sancho was rewarded for his hard work on the 44th and 45th+1 minute getting his first goals for his country.
Kosovo went in at half time 5-1 and many expected this game to be a cricket score come the 90th minute. This wasn’t to be the case though and the visitors came out second half fighting.
They got a goal back through Berisha again. The forward cutting the ball back in the box and finishing it into the top right corner. Kosovo then managed to get themselves a third goal. The world most expensive defender, Harry Maguire, failing to clear the ball properly and then giving away a penalty. It was a good penalty from Muriqi, who is the countries top goalscorer with seven goals.
England were then award a penalty of their own. Up stepped Harry Kane, who usually is clinical from the spot but this time it wasn’t to be as it was saved. Many would have expected Sancho to take the penalty as he was on a hat-trick but due to the hosts looking shaky at the back, penalty duties weren’t to be changed.
The game finished 5-3 in the end and it was a brilliant game of football to watch, probably not though at times for Gareth Southgate…
England now sit top of Group A on 12 points, three of which came after beating the Czech Republic 5-0. They have a three point lead on second place and also have a game in hand on everyone in the group. Qualification for next summers European Championships is as good as done now.
Southgate will be looking to next summer to try and win his sides first ever Euro’s. They are currently the second favourites for next summer on Betfred at 9/2. This would be a brilliant competition to win, especially after last summer World Cup success/heartbreak.
France, the World Cup 2018 winners, are Betfred’s favourites. They are priced at 7/2 and with the squad they have these are very good odds. However, if you were impressed by Kosovo last night you can always back them at 2500/1. It may seem a long shot, but who would have back them to score three and take the lead against England!