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England thrash Montenegro 7-0 to reach Euro 2020
14 November 2019, 22:35
England captain Harry Kane stole the show at Wembley Stadium with a hat-trick against Montenegro to help secure qualification for Euro 2020.
The Three Lions marked their 1,000th game with an emphatic victory that saw them fire seven goals past Montenegro and secure a place in next year's Euros with a game to spare.
Kane's goal-fest saw him move to fifth in England's all-time list of scorers, with his tally now standing at an impressive 31 goals despite being just 26 years old.
Former captains and several past greats, including 1966 World Cup Final hat-trick hero Sir Geoff Hurst, were among those watching on as England celebrated the landmark occasion in style with a rampant first-half display.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opened the scoring just eleven minutes into his first start for the national side in 18 months, assisted by Ben Chilwell. By the 24th minute Kane had nodded in another two goals that were both also set up by the Leicester City full back.
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford got in on the action at the half-hour mark, followed by Kane who completed his hat-trick eight minutes before the interval, his 24th goal whilst wearing the captain's armband.
The Three Lions continued to dominate in the second half when Montenegro's Aleksandar Sofranac sent Mason Mount's shot into his own net for England's sixth.
Tammy Abraham, who replaced the super skipper Kane, completed the scoring as he slid in to nab his first full international goal.
Despite fans being delighted by the dazzling display of football, there was some anger and jeering directed towards Liverpool's Joe Gomez.
The young defender was involved in a minor clash with team mate Raheem Sterling during the week, which led to the Manchester City star being dropped from Thursday evening's squad.
Sterling watched on from the stands, but was not missed as England drifted past minnows Montenegro.
Football pundit and former player Gary Lineker took to social media to congratulate the team, but remained cautious in his optimism ahead of next summer.
Well played @England. This side is progressing nicely and given the number of talented young players we now have, they’ll only get better. Euro’s may came a tad early, but 2022 onwards, they’ll be hugely competitive.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) November 14, 2019
He tweeted: "Well played @England. This side is progressing nicely and given the number of talented young players we now have, they'll only get better. Euro's may came a tad early, but 2022 onwards, they'll be hugely competitive."
Securing automatic qualification for next summer's tournament means all three of England's group games will be played at Wembley, where the semi-finals and the final are both being held.
The Three Lions fielded one of their youngest squads in post-war football and their fierce display will give manager Gareth Southgate plenty of confidence heading into 2020.
They will now face Kosovo away on Sunday, who themselves narrowly missed out on qualification for next year's tournament, but will go there safe in the knowledge they have sealed top spot in Group A.