Kosovo 0-4 England: Gareth Southgate's side end emphatic qualification campaign on a high
Report and highlights as England's late flurry sees off spirited Kosovo
Last Updated: 18/11/19 7:15am
England will be among the top seeds at next summer's European Championships after a late flurry of goals secured a 4-0 victory against Kosovo in their final European Qualifier at the Fadil Vokrri Stadium.
Having secured qualification to Euro 2020 with a 7-0 win against Montenegro at Wembley on Thursday, Gareth Southgate made several changes to his side and they took the lead in the 32nd minute through Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks.
However, England struggled for long periods against a spirited Kosovo side but they capped an unconvincing display with a late flurry of goals as Harry Kane (79) and substitutes Marcus Rashford (83) and Mason Mount (90+1) made sure the Three Lions end 2019 on a high.
Victory confirms England, who finish a record-breaking qualification campaign six points clear at the top of Group A, will be one of six top seeds as attention now turns to the Euro 2020 finals draw on November 30.
Kosovo's focus will be on March's Euro 2020 play-offs, for which they qualified through the Nations League.
How England finished 2019 on a high
After trips to Montenegro and Bulgaria earlier in Group A were tarnished by racist chanting aimed at England's black players, Southgate's side were given a warm welcome at the Stadiumi Fadil Vokrri.
Raheem Sterling returned to the England side as boss Gareth Southgate made five changes for the final Euro 2020 qualifier against Kosovo.
With the Three Lions visiting Pristina for the first time, Southgate recalled Sterling after he was not considered for selection in the 7-0 victory over Montenegro on Thursday.
The Manchester City forward was given the punishment after an altercation with Liverpool's Joe Gomez at St George's Park on Monday.
Meanwhile, Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope made his first England start, while Tyrone Mings, Declan Rice and Callum Hudson-Odoi also came in.
All of the players had their names cheered as the line-ups were announced before kick-off, with Raheem Sterling in particular getting an excellent reception, before the home fans held up cards picturing the cross of Saint George during God Save The Queen.
Kosovo came out on the front foot, but they could not match their 34-second opening goal in the reverse fixture at St Mary's as Florent Hadergjonaj hit a tame shot at Nick Pope, who was making his first start for England.
Minutes later, an Atdhe Nuhiu header forced the first telling save out of Pope, who palmed the effort into the ground before collecting comfortably.
Kosovo: Muric (7), Hadergjonaj (7), Aliti (6), Rashica (7), Celina (6), Rrahmani (6), Berisha (6), Vojvoda (6), Kololli (6), Dresevic (5), Nuhiu (6).
Subs: Halimi (6), Zhegrova (6), Rashani (n/a).
England: Pope (6), Alexander-Arnold (5), Maguire (6), Mings (5), Chilwell (7), Oxlade-Chamberlain (6), Winks (7), Rice (6), Hudson-Odoi (5), Kane (7), Sterling (6).
Subs: Rashford (7), Mount (7), Tomori (6).
Man of the match: Harry Winks.
Sterling came closest for England with 15 minutes gone, firing a low effort goalwards after being teed up by captain Harry Kane, only to see Arijanet Muric push his strike around the post.
Callum Hudson-Odoi's first sight of goal saw him draw another save out of Muric before Kane had a shot blocked by two defenders, but neither side was able to create a clear sight of goal as the game passed the half-hour mark.
That changed shortly afterwards as Winks was on hand to open the scoring with his first England goal. The Spurs star showed great composure to control a pass from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and tuck away his chance to put the visitors ahead at the break.
After the interval Kosovo again started brightly as Amir Rrahmani went close to an equaliser on two occasions. His glancing header from a Valon Berisha shot flew just wide of the far post before the Kosovo captain steered a free header wide from eight yards.
Kane then rattled the post as the ball fell to the skipper inside the box with England pushing for a second to lessen the chances of a comeback from a spirited home side.
Tomori makes debut
Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori was introduced in the 84th minute in place of Trent Alexander-Arnold to make his senior England debut.
England eventually added to their lead late on as Kane made sure he scored in all eight Group A qualifiers, finishing at the far post after being picked out by Sterling.
Sterling then played in Rashford, who slotted home a third with seven minutes remaining before Mount wrapped up the game, and England's place as one of six top seeds at Euro 2020, by adding the fourth in stoppage time to grab his first England goal.
Opta stats - Goals, goals and more goals
- England have won their last three matches by an aggregate score of 17-0, scoring 17 goals across three matches for the first time since May 1964.
- Only in 1908 (39 goals) have England scored more goals in a calendar year than the 38 they scored in 2019.
- Kane equalled the record for goals scored in a calendar year for the England national team, joining both George Hilsdon in 1908 and Dixie Dean in 1927 with 12 goals.
- The England captain scored for a sixth successive England appearance - post-war, this is only the second time a player has scored in six consecutive games, with Kane also achieving it between October 2017 and July 2018. Kane has also been involved in 15 goals in his last six international appearances for England (10 goals, 5 assists), scoring and assisting tonight.
- England have averaged 3.8 goals per game in 2019 (38 in 10 games), their best goals per game ratio in a calendar year since 1946, when they scored 19 in four games (4.8 per game).
- Nine of the 16 goals Kosovo have conceded during Euro 2020 qualifying have been against England.
Man of the Match - Harry Winks
Allowed more freedom with Declan Rice alongside him, Winks capped off a busy display with the opening goal of the game. Taking the defender out of the game with his first touch from Oxlade-Chamberlain's pass, before passing the ball into the bottom corner.
Southgate may have been frustrated with the number of cynical fouls given away by the Spurs man, but that was a small mark on an otherwise accomplished performance. Barring injury, Winks will be in the Euro 2020 squad as he showed he can play in that more advanced role.
Winks' winning run
Winks scored his first international goal for England in his sixth cap – the Spurs midfielder has ended on the winning side in each of his six appearances so far, the joint-best 100%-win ratio of any player in the history of the national team (Ernest Hine between 1928 and 1931 and Billy Williams between 1897 and 1899 also won six out of six).
View from the England camp…
England manager Gareth Southgate: "It was a tight game and a good test for us really. It was a difficult pitch, with players slipping and passes going astray. We needed a tighter game and a challenge. I'm happy we got that. We had to sustain spells of pressure and gave them chances - on another night that would be a problem. But attacking we were ruthless.
"Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, in his stage of returning, he's been a real plus with the power of his running and attacking threat. I thought Harry Winks was excellent in both games and takes the ball well when we need calming.
"The set-plays are something we have to look at. There have been too many people free in the box and chances given away. We know there is still a bit of work to do but I can't fault the players in this campaign, they've been ruthless."
England captain Harry Kane: "It was a difficult game, a difficult pitch, they were up for it and we had already won the group, so the mentality was not easy to go again. I thought we managed it well, we went through spells where they had pressure, but we were clinical and 4-0 is a great result.
"As a striker I want to score goals and to win games. I love scoring, any striker does, hopefully I can keep that going into next summer.
"When you look through our squad everyone pretty much is playing regularly either in the Premier League or top leagues in Europe. If you're not on it every week there are players who can take your spot."
The pundit view...
Former England international Sue Smith: In the end you think 4-0, it's a good win and we didn't concede which is important. Something that's so positive about England is the fact they can keep scoring goals. They are so ruthless in front of goal.
"Southgate's got a few conundrums. He has to get the midfield balance right. Who's going to play in there and how are they going to play? Will it two holding midfielders or one?
"Then at centre-half, they need to find a partner for Harry Maguire. He needs to settle on a solid defensive line, which hopefully he can find in the friendlies leading up to the tournament because going forward they are fine.
"I'm optimistic. I think we've got a real good mix. We've got a good balance and we're exciting because we can score goals. The problem is defensivkley but I'm always optimistic."
Next on Southgate's agenda is the draw for the Euro 2020 finals, which takes place in Bucharest, Romania on November 30 at 6pm GMT.
You can follow the draw as it happens across Sky Sports' digital platforms or watch Sky Sports News' Euro 2020 draw show from 5.15pm.
England's next competitive match will be at Wembley on June 14 in Euro 2020.
When and where is Euro 2020?
The 16th UEFA European Championship runs from June 12 to July 12, 2020, and to celebrate the tournament's 60th birthday, 12 cities across the continent have been selected as hosts.
The 12 cities and stadiums are: Amsterdam (Netherlands) - Johan Cruyff Arena, Baku (Azerbaijan) - Olympic Stadium, Bilbao (Spain) - San Mames, Bucharest (Romania) - Arena Nationala, Budapest (Hungary) - Puskas Arena, Copenhagen (Denmark) - Parken Stadium, Dublin (Republic of Ireland) - Aviva Stadium, Glasgow (Scotland) - Hampden Park, London (England) - Wembley Stadium, Munich (Germany) - Allianz Arena, Rome (Italy) - Stadio Olimpico, Saint Petersburg (Russia) - Krestovsky Stadium.
Rome's Stadio Olimpico will host the opening match on June 12, while England's national stadium Wembley will stage both semi-finals and the final.
No international break for Super 6
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