The Malta Independent 5 December 2023, Tuesday
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In pictures: England dominate but score only twice against gallant Malta

Friday, 17 November 2023, 22:49 Last update: about 17 days ago

England dominated the Euro 2024 qualifier against Malta but scored only twice against a gallant Maltese side at Wembley stadium.

Southgate’s boys, already qualified for the finals to be held in Germany, held possession for long stretches but failed to create glaring chances, as the Maltese team defended bravely, closing spaces and making it hard for the more acclaimed English players to make any headway.


England had an easy start and took the advantage after only eight minutes, when a Foden cross was deflected by Pepe into Malta’s own net.

Paradoxically, it gave England too much confidence which they could not translate into chances, while the Maltese team regrouped and did not allow the unlucky goal conceded to dampen their spirits or open them up.

Malta remained concentrated and rarely, if ever, lost their shape, while England struggled to make their way past the Maltese defensive wall. Midway through the first half, England captain Kane was booked for diving after a contrast with Malta’s keeper Henry Bonello.

But it was one of the few times that England created any danger in the first half, which ended 1-0.

The pattern of the game after the interval remained the same, with England keeping possession in Malta’s own half without managing to penetrate the tight Maltese defence.

Changes made by Southgate at the interval did not change England’s ways, and the Wembley crowd had to wait until the 75th minute to make sure of the points with a well-taken goal by Kane, his 62nd for his country. The Bayern Munich striker finished a well-constructed manoeuvre outside the Maltese penalty area, involving four England players with a one-touch move that baffled the Maltese defenders.

Ninety-three seconds later, Rice curled in a shot past Bonello but the goal was disallowed as Kane, in a clear offside position, was interfering with play.

The game pretty much ended there, with England raking in another victory while Malta ended the competition with eight defeats in eight games – but with heads held high.


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