England qualify for Euro 2020 finals with emphatic win over Montenegro as Harry Kane grabs record-breaking hat-trick

14 Nov

England have secured qualification to the Euro 2020 finals after thrashing Montenegro 7-0 at Wembley.

Captain Harry Kane grabbed a first half hat-trick to commemorate the Three Lions’ 1000th game, which also saw James Maddison make his international debut and Tammy Abraham get his first senior goal for his country.

The talking point prior to the game was Raheem Sterling’s exclusion from the matchday squad after a scrap with Joe Gomez.

The Liverpool defender was brought on by Gareth Southgate, but was met by a cacophony of boos by the sparse Wembley crowd.

Harry Kane helped himself to a hat-trick as England hit Montenegro for seven
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The starting XI named by Southgate for the landmark millennial match was the youngest England team since 1959 with an average age of 23 years and 255 days.

Captain Kane had a decent early chance to break the deadlock but could not turn home Jadon Sancho’s cross as Aleksandar Sofranac made a telling interception.

But it did not take long for the opening goal to arrive, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain controlling and finishing well from a fine Ben Chilwell pass to put England ahead with only 11 minutes on the clock.

Kane passed up a fine opportunity to double the lead soon after as another Sancho cross picked out the skipper only for the Tottenham striker to fail to make telling contact, although the ball appeared to strike Sofranac’s arm before goalkeeper Milan Mijatovic blocked Mount’s follow-up.

Kanes third strike saw him become England’s highest-ever goalscoring captain as he celebrated a 24th goal while wearing the armband
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With England well on top, Marcus Rashford was played through but was denied by a smart Mijatovic stop before Kane finally got in on the act at the third time of asking.

Chilwell again provided the assist, whipping in a free-kick which Kane nodded home for his 29th goal for the Three Lions.

Kane headed home his second, and England’s third, as he darted to the near post unmarked to turn in Chilwell’s corner with just 24 minutes gone.

On a night where the hosts were keen to appreciate their history, the header took Kane level with Tom Finney, Nat Lofthouse and Alan Shearer on 30 goals for England.

Marcus Rashford was impressive for England from the left
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Although they had almost all of the game their own way, Jordan Pickford had to be at his best to keep out Marko Simic’s diving header as Montenegro threatened.

Rashford added the fourth before the half-hour, Mijatovic palming a Harry Maguire header into the path of his Manchester United team-mate who finished with aplomb.

Things could have worsened for the visitors when Marko Vesovic headbutted Rashford, only earning a caution from referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz as the England forward refused to play up the contact.

Kane completed a first-half hat-trick by sweeping home a deflected Alexander-Arnold cross as more records fell.

James Maddison made his senior international debut
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The strike saw Kane become England’s highest-ever goalscoring captain as he celebrated a 24th goal while wearing the armband.

With Southgate no doubt delighted with the attacking threat, his side did concede another chance to Montenegro, Pickford again on form to deny Fatos Beciraj.

Rashford saw a strike deflected wide of the post as England looked for even more joy before the interval but the hosts had to settle for just a five-goal lead.

The likes of all-time leading goalscorer Wayne Rooney and former captain Tony Adams were joined by the likes of Sol Campbell, Paul Gascoigne, Des Walker and Martin Keown at half-time to commemorate England’s 1000th game.

After a quiet start to the second half in which Mount saw a potential first England goal ruled out for offside, Southgate turned to his bench.

Oxlade-Chamberlain made way for Maddison to make his debut while Kane’s goal tally for the evening ended at three as Tammy Abraham replaced the skipper.

Maguire, having taken the armband from namesake Kane, almost took the goalscoring duties too but headed over at the back post as England passed the hour without adding to their first-half total.

That changed when Sofranac unwittingly turned in past his own goalkeeper, diverting Mount’s wayward shot past Mijatovic after Sancho had been unable to steer home Rashford’s deflected cross.

Joe Gomez’s introduction at Wembley brought boos from the crowd
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Gomez was the final substitute to come on for England and there were audible jeers greeting his introduction – presumably for the role he played in the incident which saw Sterling sidelined for the game.

The seventh goal came courtesy of Abraham, his first for England as he slid in to convert Sancho’s cross with a little over five minutes remaining.

That proved to be the end of the goalscoring as Lahoz put Montenegro out of their misery and England sealed top spot in Group A in scintillating fashion on a night to remember for many reasons.

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