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Updates as the Three Lions look for World Cup qualifying win

02 September, 2017, 01:23 | Author: Christina Hansen
  • Hart is facing competition from Butland but Southgate has kept faith with him

"The most important thing for us now is to qualify for the World Cup and we can do that by winning the next two games".

AN England fan carried out a social media led pitch invasion during England's clash with Malta on Friday. It was a frustrating night up to that point but a late flurry of goals boosted Southgate on an otherwise forgettable night.

It was the 52 minute, and England until then were struggling to make an impression against an organised Malta side in a World Cup 2018 qualifying match in front of a capacity crowd at Ta' Qali stadium.

Whilst talking about Hart though, Southgate praised him by saying, "I believe he's our best goalkeeper at the moment".

Star forward Harry Kane, too, is on a goal drought for his club Tottenham Hotspur, but it remains to be seen if the worldwide break can work wonders for him. Two of the most in-form England players are missing, however.

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Southgate's side could be forgiven for getting frustrated against such a congested amassed backline, but not for the damning lack of imagination.

And that still led to one of those odd situations in such games when moment of blind panic seemed to afflict England, as an Andre Schembri ball forward nearly caught that otherwise untroubled defence out.

"From my point of view, we're three games into the season".

That did little to improve the mood of the travelling hordes a smattering of boos welcomed the half-time whistle.

"It's just about getting the job done, nothing impressive required". Marcus Rashford came on, but Malta were actually only stepping up.

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Alli's dilly-dallying looked to have cost his side a chance within the Maltese 18-yard box, but he remained calm and played through Kane to hit home a low shot.

Kane showed he was just as risky from outside the box firing in a fierce effort on the hour mark that Hogg did well to save.

There is less certainty about England's wide options. Having failed to bundle home moments earlier, Welbeck was able to direct a smart cross from Kane into the net.

Hart, in other words, should not be overly busy, even if it was hardly an emphatic result - a 2-1 win for Kevin Keegan's team - the last time England played here, a warm-up match for Euro 2000 best remembered for Alan Shearer breaking an opponent's nose with a stray elbow.

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