Harry Kane hit a hat-trick to take his Englan scoring record to 25 goals in 40 games as the Three Lions eased past Bulgaria with a 4-0 success. The win puts England back to the top of qualifying Group A after Kosovo had briefly taken top spot following their win against the Czech Republic earlier today. Raheem Sterling also got on the scoresheet for England to make it three wins from three in qualifying.
Harry Kane Hat-Trick Helps England Ease Past Bulgaria
With no wins from their previous four matches in qualifying before today, there was never really any chance of Bulgaria proving a threat to England, particularly at Wembley. When England took the lead through Kane, that became even more apparent given the manner of the goal.
An awful error from goalkeeper Plamen Iliev from a goal-kick allowed the Tottenham Hotspur striker to combine with Sterling to set up the former for the opening goal on 24 minutes, and from there on it looked a mere formality for England.
Turning the Screw
It took just four minutes of the second half for England to effectively put the game beyond Bulgaria, and again it was all the visitors’ doing. Nikolay Bodurov fouled Marcus Rashford in the area, and Kane smashed home his second of the game.
Sterling got in on the act only six minutes afterwards with Kane involved again, the captain crossing for the Manchester City winger to bundle home a third goal for the Wembley crowd to cheer.
As if it hadn’t been a bad enough performance already from the visitors, gifting England two of their three, it got even worse when they conceded a second penalty through Kristian Dimitrov’s foul on Kane.
There was only going to be one outcome when he stepped up, and England sealed a their third qualifying win with the fourth goal and three points.
There was likely some shock at the fact Jadon Sancho didn’t start the game. The Borussia Dortmund star was a bright spark during the last international break and will have been hoping to continue that form in an England shirt. However, it does show a good sign of improvement in England’s depth that he wasn’t needed until the 71st minute to replace Sterling.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also returned to the England fold after spending most of last season out injured. The Liverpool midfielder is slowly re-building his fitness and minutes at any possible stage will be a big boost towards that.
Such was the ease of England’s win that manager Gareth Southgate was able to hand Chelsea youngster Mason Mount his senior England debut. Mount has enjoyed a successful start to the season under Frank Lampard with the Blues, notching goals in their draw against Leicester City and the win over Norwich City.
England now face a quick turnaround to prepare for their game against the group’s surprise package, Kosovo, on Tuesday night. The game will take place at Southampton’s St Mary’s Stadium and though Kosovo will be hoping to cause an upset, England look like a completely different animal to the past.