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Harry Winks opened his account for England on his sixth start.

England concluded their successful Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a victory over Kosovo that ensures they will be among the top six seeds in next summer’s tournament.

Despite the emphatic scoreline, it was an unconvincing performance by Gareth Southgate’s side but they were still able to end as comfortable winners in a remarkable atmosphere in Pristina.

It was a celebratory occasion where the visitors’ received a heroes’ welcome as icons in this country and for the part the United Kingdom played in its 1999 liberation following the Kosovo war.

    England ‘further ahead’ than in 2018 – Southgate How you rated the players in England’s win against Kosovo

Needing to avoid defeat to make sure they are in the top pot when the draw is made, England took a first-half lead as Harry Winks produced a composed finish for his first international goal.

Captain Harry Kane effectively wrapped things up with his 32nd goal for England from close range late on – maintaining a superb record of scoring in all eight qualifiers, before substitute Marcus Rashford got in on the act with a smooth finish.

Mason Mount rounded things off in the closing moments for his first goal for his country at senior level.

Kosovo, who were out of automatic qualifying contention but still played with great heart, had opportunities to make it even more of a gala night when trailing by a single goal but missed the chances that presented themselves, captain Amir Rrahmani headed wide of an open goal and Valon Berisha was inches off target.

England, however scrappy in spells, got the job done and can now start planning for Euro 2020.

England’s warmest welcome

England were greeted like heroes from the moment they arrived at Pristina airport on Saturday evening and this game was played out in an astonishing atmosphere.

The build-up was characterised by the themes of ‘Welcome, Brothers’ and ‘Welcome and Respect’, the PA announcer paying heartfelt thanks to England and their supporters for the part the UK government played in liberating Kosovo.

It was a passionate announcement greeted with loud applause around this compact stadium and when England’s team was read out, the crowd finished off each name with a deafening roar.

Kosovo fans held up St George’s flag cards during England’s national anthem and a huge flag was unfurled by the home fans before kick-off.

This was all in stark contrast to the racist abuse England’s players have been subjected to in Montenegro and Bulgaria earlier in this Euro 2020 qualifying group and was every bit as warm and welcoming as the Kosovans had promised.

This game was a sporting symbol of the new Kosovo in this vibrant, busy city as the locals got behind Bernard Challandes’ team with pride and passion, demonstrated by 300,000 applications to get into the 13,500 capacity stadium.

It was standing room only even outside, with groups of Kosovo fans arriving hours before kick-off to claim vantage points on steep steps behind one of the goals.

Trademark England performance

England’s victory bore pretty much all the hallmarks of what has been a very satisfactory campaign, apart from the dreadful performance in defeat against the Czech Republic in Prague.

Southgate possesses an attack of genuine class and potency, with Kane and Rashford on the scoresheet, Raheem Sterling creating two goals and the first England goals for Winks and Mount.

Sterling started after being dropped for Thursday’s 7-0 win over Montenegro following a clash with team-mate Joe Gomez on Monday. The Liverpool defender was subsequently ruled out of the match in Kosovo after injuring his knee in training on Friday.

England have scored 37 goals in qualifying, Kane equalling the highest tally in a calendar year with 12, going level with George Hilson in 1908 and Dixie Dean in 1927. There are no questions, other than enjoyable selection dilemmas, about Southgate’s firepower.

There are still lingering doubts elsewhere and they were not dismissed here, particularly with Kosovo dictating the terms and the tempo after half-time.

England remain vulnerable under pressure and the midfield combination of Winks and Declan Rice does not work when Southgate does not employ a number 10.

It is not right to be churlish after such a qualification but the impression remains that this England can be a mixed bag and will suffer against opposition of the highest quality.

Man of the match – Harry Winks (England)

Harry Winks has now been on the winning side in each of his six appearances for England’I can’t fault the players’ – what they said

England manager Gareth Southgate, speaking to ITV: “It was a tight game and a good test for us. It was a difficult pitch, with players slipping and passes going astray. We needed a tighter game and a challenge. I’m happy we got that. We had to sustain spells of pressure and gave them chances – on another night that would be a problem. But attacking, we were ruthless.

“Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, in his stage of returning, he’s been a real plus with the power of his running and attacking threat. I thought Harry Winks was excellent in both games and takes the ball well when we need calming.

“The set-plays in particular are something we have to look at. There have been too many people free in the box and chances given away. We know there is still a bit of work to do but I can’t fault the players in this campaign, they’ve been ruthless.”

England captain Harry Kane, speaking to ITV: “It was a difficult game, a difficult pitch, they were up for it and we had already won the group so the mentality was not easy to go again. I thought we managed it well, we went through spells where they had pressure but we were clinical and 4-0 is a great result.

“As a striker I want to score goals and to win games. I love scoring, any striker does, hopefully I can keep that going into next summer.

“When you look through our squad everyone pretty much is playing regularly either in the Premier League or top leagues in Europe. If you’re not on it every week there are players who can take your spot.”

Winks’ golden touch

    England have won their past three matches by an aggregate score of 17-0, scoring 17 goals across three matches for the first time since May 1964. Only in 1908 (39 goals) have England scored more goals in a calendar year than the 38 they scored in 2019. Harry Kane scored for a sixth successive England appearance – post-war, this is only the second time a player has scored in six consecutive games, with Kane also achieving it between October 2017 and July 2018. Harry Winks has been on the winning side in each of his six appearances so far, the joint-best 100% win ratio of any player in the history of the national team (Ernest Hine between 1928 and 1931 and Billy Williams between 1897 and 1899 also won six out of six). England have averaged 3.8 goals per game in 2019 (38 in 10 games), their best goals-per-game ratio in a calendar year since 1946, when they scored 19 in four games (4.8 per game). Harry Kane has been involved in 15 goals in his past six international appearances for England (10 goals, five assists), scoring and assisting against Kosovo. Nine of the 16 goals Kosovo have conceded during Euro 2020 qualifying have been against England.

What’s next?

England are not in action again until they play twice in friendly matches between 23-31 March 2020.

    Line-ups Match Stats Live Text

Line-ups

Kosovo

12Muric

15Vojvoda

13Rrahmani

3Aliti

17KololliBooked at 48mins

20Dresevic

2HadergjonajSubstituted forZhegrovaat 73’minutes

9Celina

14BerishaSubstituted forHalimiat 65’minutes

7Rashica

21NuhiuSubstituted forRashaniat 82’minutes

Substitutes

1Ujkani

4Voca

5Shala

6Rashkaj

8Halimi

10Muslija

11Rashani

16Bekaj

18Hasani

19Paqarada

22Zhegrova

23Xhemajli

England

1Pope

2Alexander-ArnoldSubstituted forTomoriat 84’minutes

5Maguire

6Mings

3Chilwell

8Oxlade-ChamberlainSubstituted forMountat 72’minutes

4Rice

10Winks

7Sterling

9Kane

11Hudson-OdoiSubstituted forRashfordat 59’minutes

Substitutes

12Trippier

13Pickford

14Rose

15Stones

16Tomori

17Mount

18Maddison

19Sancho

20Rashford

21C Wilson

22Abraham

23Henderson

Referee:

Pawel Gil

Match Stats

Home TeamKosovoAway TeamEngland

Possession

Home45%

Away55%

Shots

Home12

Away13

Shots on Target

Home3

Away7

Corners

Home6

Away2

Fouls

Home8

Away10

Live Text

Posted at

Match ends, Kosovo 0, England 4.

Full TimePosted at 90’+3′

Second Half ends, Kosovo 0, England 4.

Goal!Posted at 90’+1′

Goal! Kosovo 0, England 4. Mason Mount (England) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Harry Kane.

SubstitutionPosted at 84′

Substitution, England. Fikayo Tomori replaces Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Goal!Posted at 83′

Goal! Kosovo 0, England 3. Marcus Rashford (England) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Raheem Sterling.

SubstitutionPosted at 82′

Substitution, Kosovo. Elbasan Rashani replaces Atdhe Nuhiu.

Posted at 81′

Corner, England. Conceded by Ibrahim Dresevic.

Posted at 81′

Attempt blocked. Harry Kane (England) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Mason Mount.

Goal!Posted at 79′

Goal! Kosovo 0, England 2. Harry Kane (England) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the bottom left corner.

Posted at 76′

Attempt missed. Atdhe Nuhiu (Kosovo) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is too high. Assisted by Bersant Celina with a cross following a corner.

Posted at 76′

Corner, Kosovo. Conceded by Declan Rice.

Posted at 76′

Attempt blocked. Milot Rashica (Kosovo) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Besar Halimi.

Posted at 75′

Harry Kane (England) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Posted at 75′

Foul by Edon Zhegrova (Kosovo).

Posted at 73′

Foul by Tyrone Mings (England).

Posted at 73′

Atdhe Nuhiu (Kosovo) wins a free kick on the right wing.

SubstitutionPosted at 73′

Substitution, Kosovo. Edon Zhegrova replaces Florent Hadergjonaj.

SubstitutionPosted at 72′

Substitution, England. Mason Mount replaces Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Posted at 72′

Foul by Trent Alexander-Arnold (England).

Posted at 72′

Milot Rashica (Kosovo) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 71′

Marcus Rashford (England) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Posted at 71′

Foul by Mergim Vojvoda (Kosovo).

Posted at 69′

Attempt saved. Florent Hadergjonaj (Kosovo) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Besar Halimi.

Posted at 68′

Foul by Marcus Rashford (England).

Posted at 68′

Amir Rrahmani (Kosovo) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

SubstitutionPosted at 65′

Substitution, Kosovo. Besar Halimi replaces Valon Berisha.

Posted at 61′

Attempt blocked. Harry Kane (England) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Raheem Sterling.

Posted at 61′

Attempt saved. Ben Chilwell (England) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Marcus Rashford.

SubstitutionPosted at 59′

Substitution, England. Marcus Rashford replaces Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Posted at 59′

Attempt missed. Callum Hudson-Odoi (England) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Ben Chilwell following a fast break.

Posted at 57′

Hand ball by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (England).

Posted at 55′

Raheem Sterling (England) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Posted at 55′

Foul by Mergim Vojvoda (Kosovo).

Posted at 53′

Corner, Kosovo. Conceded by Harry Winks.

Posted at 53′

Attempt missed. Amir Rrahmani (Kosovo) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Valon Berisha with a cross following a corner.

Posted at 52′

Corner, Kosovo. Conceded by Ben Chilwell.

Posted at 52′

Foul by Harry Kane (England).

Posted at 52′

Ibrahim Dresevic (Kosovo) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 50′

Attempt missed. Amir Rrahmani (Kosovo) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Valon Berisha following a corner.

Posted at 50′

Attempt missed. Valon Berisha (Kosovo) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a corner.

Show more updates

goal

Source: bbc.com

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