Harry Kane on target as England cruise to win over Malta
Malta 0 - 4 England

Harry Kane on target as England cruise to win over Malta

England are on the brink of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup after a 4-0 win in Malta on Friday night.

Harry Kane's second half goal helped Gareth Southgate's men on their way to a crucial win in Group F but it was a frustrating display from the Three Lions.

Kane's 53rd minute effort -- after once again failing to score in the month of August -- ended his wait for a goal and spared England embarrassment in their bid to reach the World Cup next summer. It was a frustrating night up to that point but a late flurry of goals boosted Southgate on an otherwise forgettable night.

Ryan Bertrand made it 2-0 five minutes from time with a deflected, long range drive that gave the visitors a rather flattering 2-0 scoreline. Danny Welbeck and Kane added further goals late on to add gloss to the scoreline.

England, playing in their first match since Wayne Rooney announced his international retirement, started with Joe Hart in goal and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in midfield, following his move to Liverpool from Arsenal on transfer deadline day.

While Hart -- whose place in the XI came under question after conceding 10 in three games on loan at West Ham at the start of the season -- was untroubled, England laboured against a side ranked 190 in the world.

Jordan Henderson, captain for the night following Rooney's retirement, found Raheem Sterling inside the first minute but the Manchester City winger was blocked by Malta goalkeeper Matthew Hogg. Kane was next to threaten but the Tottenham striker's header was well parried away by Hogg.

Oxlade-Chamberlain, starting on the wing, then found Henderson whose pass could not be converted by Dele Alli from close range. And in a frustrating first half of few chances for the visitors, Phil Jones thought he had beaten Hogg but his header was ruled out for a foul inside the area.

England fans vented their frustration as the half time whistle blew and it almost got worse five minutes after the break when Andre Schembri's shot whistled past the post.

Southgate, who sent on Marcus Rashford in place of Raheem Sterling for the second half, looked on exasperated but Kane's opener ended his frustration.

Alli's neat footwork inside the area made space and Kane received the ball on the left before planting the ball past the despairing Hogg. With August ending and September starting, so did Kane's touch in front of the goal; the Tottenham striker finally finding the net after his much-publicised struggles last month.

Malta, though, held firm in the face of sporadic England pressure until the end. Jamie Vardy, on for Alli with 20 minutes to go, almost met Rashford's delicate ball forward while Oxlade-Chamberlain dragged wide as the visitors went in search of a second.

Rashford then stung Hogg's hands with a fizzing drive before Bertrand made it 2-0 from range five minutes from time and Welbeck added a third with his first international goal for two-and-a-half years. Kane grabbed his double at the end to deepen Malta's gloom.

England, who remain two points clear at the top of Group F, face Slovakia at Wembley on Monday.

Related news

Italy to play Sweden, Rep of Ireland to meet Denmark in World Cup playoff

Italy to play Sweden, Rep of Ireland to meet Denmark in World Cup playoff

Italy have been drawn against Sweden in the European playoffs for the 2018 World Cup, while Republic of Ireland will meet Denmark.

Lionel Messi at his best as hat trick carries Argentina into World Cup

Lionel Messi at his best as hat trick carries Argentina into World Cup

Argentina conceded after just 37 seconds in their must-win game against Ecuador -- but Lionel Messi came to the rescue as his side booked their place at next summer's World Cup.

United States will miss the 2018 World Cup after loss to Trinidad and Tobago

United States will miss the 2018 World Cup after loss to Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago beat the United States 2-1 in the team's final Hexagonal World Cup qualifier, meaning the Americans will miss out on the game's biggest tournament in Russia in 2018.

Netherlands eliminated from World Cup contention despite win

Netherlands eliminated from World Cup contention despite win

Sweden secured a spot in the UEFA World Cup qualifying playoffs despite losing 2-0 to Netherlands, whose elimination was confirmed.

Portugal defeat Switzerland to secure berth at 2018 World Cup

Portugal defeat Switzerland to secure berth at 2018 World Cup

Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal confirmed their spot at the 2018 World Cup by beating Switzerland 2-0 in their final UEFA qualifier on Tuesday.

Antoine Griezmann leads France to win and place at 2018 World Cup

Antoine Griezmann leads France to win and place at 2018 World Cup

Antoine Griezmann scored one and made another as France secured World Cup qualification with a narrow 2-1 victory over Belarus in Paris.

Antonio Candreva's goal enough to give Italy victory in Albania

Antonio Candreva's goal enough to give Italy victory in Albania

Antonio Candreva's second-half strike was enough for Italy to end their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign with a narrow 1-0 victory in Albania.

McClean goal lifts Rep. of Ireland into playoff

McClean goal lifts Rep. of Ireland into playoff

James McClean sent the Republic of Ireland into a World Cup playoff as Wales' hopes of qualification were ended by a 1-0 defeat in Cardiff.

Serbia seal World Cup berth as Croatia reach play-offs

Serbia seal World Cup berth as Croatia reach play-offs

Serbia qualified for the 2018 World Cup after a 74th-minute goal by substitute Aleksandar Prijovic gave them a 1-0 home win over Georgia on Monday and enabled them to finish top of Europe's Group D with 21 points from 10 games.

RELATED NEWS

Italy to play Sweden, Rep of Ireland to meet Denmark in World Cup playoff
World Cup playoff draw

Italy to play Sweden, Rep of Ireland to meet Denmark in World Cup playoff

Italy have been drawn against Sweden in the European playoffs for the 2018 World Cup, while Republic of Ireland will meet Denmark.

Lionel Messi at his best as hat trick carries Argentina into World Cup
Ecuador 1 - 3 Argentina

Lionel Messi at his best as hat trick carries Argentina into World Cup

Argentina conceded after just 37 seconds in their must-win game against Ecuador -- but Lionel Messi came to the rescue as his side booked their place at next summer's World Cup.

United States will miss the 2018 World Cup after loss to Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago 2 - 1 USA

United States will miss the 2018 World Cup after loss to Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago beat the United States 2-1 in the team's final Hexagonal World Cup qualifier, meaning the Americans will miss out on the game's biggest tournament in Russia in 2018.

Netherlands eliminated from World Cup contention despite win
Netherlands 2 - 0 Sweden

Netherlands eliminated from World Cup contention despite win

Sweden secured a spot in the UEFA World Cup qualifying playoffs despite losing 2-0 to Netherlands, whose elimination was confirmed.

Portugal defeat Switzerland to secure berth at 2018 World Cup
Portugal 2 - 0 Switzerland

Portugal defeat Switzerland to secure berth at 2018 World Cup

Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal confirmed their spot at the 2018 World Cup by beating Switzerland 2-0 in their final UEFA qualifier on Tuesday.

Antoine Griezmann leads France to win and place at 2018 World Cup
France 2 - 1 Belarus

Antoine Griezmann leads France to win and place at 2018 World Cup

Antoine Griezmann scored one and made another as France secured World Cup qualification with a narrow 2-1 victory over Belarus in Paris.

Antonio Candreva's goal enough to give Italy victory in Albania
Albania 0 - 1 Italy

Antonio Candreva's goal enough to give Italy victory in Albania

Antonio Candreva's second-half strike was enough for Italy to end their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign with a narrow 1-0 victory in Albania.

McClean goal lifts Rep. of Ireland into playoff
Republic of Ireland 1 - 0 Wales

McClean goal lifts Rep. of Ireland into playoff

James McClean sent the Republic of Ireland into a World Cup playoff as Wales' hopes of qualification were ended by a 1-0 defeat in Cardiff.

Serbia seal World Cup berth as Croatia reach play-offs
Serbia 1-0 Georgia

Serbia seal World Cup berth as Croatia reach play-offs

Serbia qualified for the 2018 World Cup after a 74th-minute goal by substitute Aleksandar Prijovic gave them a 1-0 home win over Georgia on Monday and enabled them to finish top of Europe's Group D with 21 points from 10 games.

20/10/2017
11:00 | ATP 250 - Kremlin Cup
11:00 | ATP 250 - European Open - Antwerp
11:00 | ATP 250 - Stockholm Open
11:00 | WTA - Moscow - Kremlin Cup
17:00 | Formula 1 - United States Grand Prix - Free Practice 1
20:30 | FC Schalke 04 - Mainz 05
21:00 | Formula 1 - United States Grand Prix - Free Practice 2
21/10/2017
06:10 | MotoGP - Australian Grand Prix - Qualifying
11:00 | ATP 250 - Kremlin Cup
11:00 | ATP 250 - European Open - Antwerp
11:00 | ATP 250 - Stockholm Open
11:00 | WTA - Moscow - Kremlin Cup
13:30 | Chelsea - Watford
15:30 | Borussia M'gladbach - Bayer Leverkusen
15:30 | Eintracht - Borussia Dortmund
16:00 | Manchester City - Burnley
16:00 | Swansea City - Leicester City
16:00 | Huddersfield Town - Manchester United
17:00 | Monaco - Caen
17:00 | Formula 1 - United States Grand Prix - Free Practice 3
18:30 | Valencia - Sevilla
18:30 | Hamburger SV - Bayern Munich
20:00 | Formula 1 - United States Grand Prix - Qualifying
20:45 | Barcelona - Malaga
20:45 | Napoli - Inter Milan
22/10/2017
07:00 | MotoGP - Australian Grand Prix
11:00 | ATP 250 - Kremlin Cup
11:00 | ATP 250 - European Open - Antwerp
11:00 | ATP 250 - Stockholm Open
11:00 | WTA Finals - Singapore
12:00 | Villarreal - Las Palmas
14:30 | Everton - Arsenal
15:00 | Nice - Strasbourg
15:00 | Torino - Roma
15:00 | Milan - Genoa
16:15 | Celta Vigo - Atletico Madrid
17:00 | Tottenham Hotspur - Liverpool
17:00 | Troyes - Olympique Lyon
18:00 | Wolfsburg - Hoffenheim
18:00 | Udinese - Juventus
20:45 | Lazio - Cagliari
20:45 | Real Madrid - Eibar
21:00 | Olympique Marseille - PSG
21:00 | Formula 1 - United States Grand Prix
23/10/2017
11:00 | ATP 500 - Vienna Open
11:00 | ATP 500 - Swiss Indoors Basel
11:00 | WTA Finals - Singapore
DERBY OF THE WEEK
Napoli - Inter
Derby of the week
20:45
21/10/2017
Derby of the week
W 1.57    
   W 5.50
Football Live Scores
Tennis Live Scores
Free Betting Tips