England 7-0 Montenegro: Euro 2020 qualifier – as it happened

Paul Doyle on 14 November 2019

Ed Aarons runs the rule over the players ...

This is what happened in the rest of Europe ...

What pleased Gareth Southgate most? “The attacking playing in the first half, in particular,” replies the England manager. Really good movement and super quality of passing and crossing, and really good finishing. We know we should win the group but you look around Europe and there are other countries who struggle to sore the goals that we have. [But] we have to get both ends of the pitch right. We conceded a couple of chances tonight that we shouldn’t have.”

Oxlade-Chamberlain: “It was nice to be back in the starting lineup, it’s been a while. I just wanted to concentrate on doing the things that the manager and Steve had been talking about this week. Specifically I was in the No8 role ... so attacking and defending ... I’ve been in good form with the goals recently so when the chance came up, I felt confident. [This team] is young and exciting and they work hard too.”

Kane’s verdict: “We had one slip-up in the whole group and responded really well. We got the job done here today. Of course we were expected to win the group but it’s never easy. There are a lot of upsets in football.”

Kane also reveals that he had a role in the decision to exclude Raheem Sterling (so expect him to be booed at Wembley next time, yeah?): “The gaffer spoke to me and a few of the other senior players in the team and that’s the decision we came too.”

Harry Kane of England celebrates with Ben Chilwell as he claims the match ball.
England’s hat-trick hero Harry Kane celebrates the win with Ben Chilwell as he clutches the match ball. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

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Full-time: England 7-0 Montenegro

England stroll into Euro 2020. The 1000th match in their history was among the easiest they’ve played. But even allowing for the ramshackle nature of the opposition, England deserve praise for the way they attacked today. Rashford and Chilwell stood out; Oxlade-Chamberlain was very good, too. Questions remain about their defence but they won’t be answered until England come up against tougher adversaries - which they will do next summer.

90 min: In this group’s other game, Czech Republic are leading Kosovo 2-1. If that scores stays the same, then Kosovo, who play England next, will not be able to finish in the top two of the group.

89 min: Maddison tries to sneak a pass through to Sancho buts gets his calculations just wrong. “I am not a fan of pre-qualifiers for smaller nations,” declares Paddy Schwind. “It would mean half of them have exactly one competition match every two years (two with home and away).These countries are sovereign nations, proper UEFA members and have a right to play just as all others.We know what the CL looks like today. Where are the champions from the smaller nations? Teams that actually won the whole thing in the past. They are excluded from the CL and are pushed further to the margins every year. If you want less games and more rest for your players, there are an abundance of ways to reach that. Eighteen teams in the PL, less teams in the CL, scrap the nations league and other crappy tournaments. Excluding smaller nations should not be considered.” What’s more, size isn’t everything. Compare and contrast the histories of England and Uruguay, for instance.

GOAL! England 7-0 Montenegro (Abraham 84)

Abraham claims his first senior international goal! Chilwell slipped in Sancho wide on the left. The winger plays a careful low pass towards the near post, where Abraham, having made sure he got to it before the defender, slides it into the net. Nice one.

Tammy Abraham of England scores his sides seventh goal.
Tammy Abraham slides in and side-foots England’s seventh. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images
Tammy Abraham of England celebrates scoring a goal to make it 7-0, pointing to Jadon Sancho of England who provided the assist.
Abraham points to Jadon Sancho who provided the assist, as he wheels away in celebration. Photograph: Rogan/JMP/Shutterstock
Tammy Abraham of England celebrates scoring a goal to make it 7-0.
Abraham is congratulated by his teammates. Photograph: Rogan/JMP/Shutterstock

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82 min: A corner is cleared as far as Alexander-Arnold about 25 yards out. Which mean it isn’t cleared at all. The fullbacks lets fly with a swirler. But it doesn’t make it through the copse of bodies in front of him. “On the one hand, I can understand why people ask what value there is in qualifiers like this any more,” begins Phil Sawyer. “But those people have short memories. There was a time when, even faced with a group like this, England would have laboured to a few unconvincing wins, including probably a couple of drawn stinkers at home, while the midfield passed the ball in straight lines across the pitch and the front two ran around like headless chickens. We have a young England team who look like they enjoy playing the game and currently (I think) have a goal difference of plus 26. Plus a manager who trusts in youth and gives them the space to play. Just remember, the last match before Southgate took charge was a drab affair where Allardyce said ‘Wayne Rooney can play where he wants’ and nothing much happened. We should be enjoying this. It’s what we’ve always wanted.”

81 min: Maddison corner arcs out of play before reaching the near post.

79 min: With little afoot on the pitch, the crowd are amusing themselves with Mexican waves. After booing Gomez.

A paper plane is thrown onto the pitch.
Some fans are also amusing themselves with some paper plane action. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

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75 min: Abraham has put himself about gamely since coming on but his eagerness is at the cost of a sure touch. Mind you, it’s not an especially easy for him given that many of his teammates have dialled down their endeavour now.

England’s Tammy Abraham (left) and Montenegro’s Marko Simic battle for the ball.
England’s Tammy Abraham (left) and Montenegro’s Marko Simic battle for the ball. Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA

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Montenegro substitution: Boljevic on Haksabanovic off. “I think the sixth goal was a bit jammy,” protests Josse Mcmahon. “Var would have disallowed it for the touch on Sancho’s arm in the buildup.” Nonsense. It is perfectly clear and obvious by now that no one can say with any certainty what Var would and would not allow.

England substitution: Gomez on, Mount off. Unless Im mis-hearing, there were plenty of boos for Gomez. Wembley is where Sterling’s grew up, of course.

69 min: England pop the ball about just outside the opposing area. Mount and Abraham look particularly eager to force another breakthrough. But Montenegro have tightened up defensively. A little.

Montenegro’s Nikola Vukcevic (centre) jumps to head the ball clear.
Montenegro’s Nikola Vukcevic (centre) jumps to head the ball clear. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images

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GOAL! England 6-0 Montenegro (Sofranac og 67)

A ridiculous goal! Rashford did brilliantly, cutting through the defence on the left and then pingingin a mid-height cross. The keeper got a little touch, Sancho headed backwards from cose range, Mount shanked the follow-up... and the defender drove into his own goal via the underside of the bar from five yards!

Montenegro’s Aleksandar Sofranac scores an own goal.
Montenegro’s Aleksandar Sofranac gets ready to shin the ball into his own net. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images
England players celebrate after Montenegro’s Aleksandar Sofranac, right, scored an own goal.
England players celebrate whilst Sofranac, right, looks dejected. Photograph: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

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Montenegro substitution: Jankovic on, Jovovic off

63 min: Mount, who has not really impressed today, passes to the referee.

61 min: Chilwell floats over another corner, giving it enough air for Maguire to wind up a long run and leap. But the centreback can’t keep his header down.

59 min: “On one hand, I’m a big fan of international football, and I get fed up with the ‘This isn’t proper football, only the almighty Premier League matters’ brigade,” lectures Matt Dony. “I’m embarrassingly excited to have Ramsey back for Wales, and there are interesting stories happening all over the Euro qualification matches. International football matters. I also believe that smaller nations will only improve with constant exposure to high-level football, and occasional thrashings are a price they have to pay, if only to calibrate the kind of improvement they need to make. In principle, I think it’s the right thing for England to do to keep their foot on the throttle and fill their boots. But, at the same time, apart from Kane, are there really many people enjoying this as a spectacle?” Going for more goals surely makes for better viewing than winding down. Or are you suggesting the match should be stopped once victory is secured? I dare say Montenegro don’t agree: they’re making a better first of this second period - 0-0 in this period so far - so they’re evidently taking this as an opportunity to prove they’re fast learners.

England substitutions: Maddison and Abraham on, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kane off.

56 min: No goal! Mount prodded into the net from close range after Kane’s shot from a cross by Alexander-Arnold was saved. But Mount was fractionally offside.

England’s Mason Mount prods the ball into the net but it’s chalked off due to him being offside.
England’s Mason Mount prods the ball into the net but it’s chalked off due to him being offside. Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images via Reuters

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54 min: Southgate has ordered Abraham and Maddison to get stripped. If it’s England’s soft start to the second period that has riled him, good for him.

53 min: A foxy pice of shoulder control by Rashford, receiving a long diagonal pass and shunting the ball past his man with a single sly roll. He would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for a pesky defender.

Marcus Rashford of England goes past Nikola Vukcevic of Montenegro
Marcus Rashford puts on he burners to charge past Nikola Vukcevic. Photograph: Rogan/JMP/Shutterstock

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51 min: A lull. I do hope England haven’t decided to go easy on their opponents. “It wasn’t ‘mean and excessive and bad sportsmanship’ for USA to beat Thailand 13-0,” quibbles Jeremy Solomon. “It was their over the top goal celebrations even for the last few goals that was so obnoxious. Scoring lots of goals is fine, and in fact valuable occasionally if goal difference is important. But I think you need to have some perspective when it comes to on-field celebrations.” Which is exactly the point that Neville Southall famously made to Michael Owen ...

47 min: Rashford zooms forward on another impressive run before being fouled. “Harry Kane presenting Match of The Day?” gaps Brett Milligan. “With a chin like that? Can’t see that ever happening...” Ah, dear old Jimmy Hill.

46 min: Off we go again. Just 45 more minutes for Montenegro to endure.

“Regarding Mr. Mark Witty: are Montenegro playing professionals?” asks Alex Amponsah. “If so open up a 12-pack, fill your boots and thrash away.” Hear, hear! It’ll do Montenegro good in the long run.

“For years watching England we would get to the 18 yard box and go nowhere,” says Roger Kirkby. “I’ll take a poacher like Harry Kane any day of the week.” Absolutely. Keep it up and he’ll find himself hosting Match of the Day before long.

“I had a discussion with a US friend of mine regarding the US Women´s rout of Thailand at the last WC,” reveals Mark Witty. “I think it was 14-0 . I thought it was mean and excessive and bad sportsmanship. There might you be one day at the end of that humiliation. I hope England do not score 10. Send on the 19-year-olds, mess with the Formation. Take the foot off the gas?” Nonsense. The opposition must be crushed whenever possible. Sure, there’s scope for a bit of experimentation in the second half but not for pity. Besides, USA only beat Thailand 13-0.

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Half-time: England 5-0 Montenegro

The referee decided to add precisely no additional time, so England have to settle for a five-goal lead at the break. They could double that, at least, in the second half. They have attacked well: fast, imaginative and elusive, albeit against dreadful opponents. Chilwell, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rashford have been especially good, and Kane has poached well (but should have had his hat0trick even earlier). The only downsides have been a couple of bits of slack defending, where Pickford had to bail out his central defenders.

42 min: More thrilling work by Rashford, swapping passes with Oxlade-Chamberlain as he make a jagged run infield from the left. His long-range shot takes a nick off a defender and flies wide.

40 min: A lapse in the English defence allows Beqiraj to run on to a pass from deep and straight through on goal. Pickford has to make a good save to preserve England’s clean sheet for the second time in this half. Their defence remains a concern. Having said that, France are currently drawing 1-1 at home to Moldova so, you know. “As a non-English fan of England I have a question,” announces Matthew Carpenter-Arevalo. “Are all backheels ‘cheeky?’” Not quite: some are “impudent” and I recall at least one “mulish” one by Frank Stapleton.

GOAL! England 5-0 Montenegro (Kane 37)

There’s his hat-trick. He can thank Alexander-Arnold for a nice cross and Montenegro’s defence for being rubbish. But his first touch was deft and his second deadly, firing home from seven yards.

Harry Kane of England scores a goal to make the score 5-0 to complete his hat-trick.
Harry Kane fires home for his hat-trick. Photograph: Kieran McManus/BPI/REX/Shutterstock
England’s Harry Kane celebrates scoring his side’s fifth goal of the game and his hat-trick.
Kane celebrates scoring his hat-trick. Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA

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33 min: With their defensive rigour long gone, Montenegro are now losing their temper. Vesovic kicks at Rashford as the player shields the ball from him and then, when Rashford complains, he square up to the Man United player and presses his forehead against his. The ref books him, and possibly the entirely innocent Rashford too (his card waving was not clear).

England’s Marcus Rashford clashes with Montenegro’s Marko Vesovic.
England’s Marcus Rashford clashes with Montenegro’s Marko Vesovic. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters

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GOAL! England 4-0 Montenegro (Rashford 30)

England take the corner short. Oxlade-Chamberlain sends in a cross from deep. Montenegro’s defence melts away again and Maguire is left with a free header at the back post. The keeper saves well but the ball comes to Rashford, who eliminates a defender with a subtle touch and then curls the ball low into the far corner. We want 10, we want 10!

Marcus Rashford of England curls the ball into the net to make the score 4-0.
Marcus Rashford watches his shot go into the net. Photograph: Kieran McManus/BPI/Shutterstock
England’s Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring their fourth goal.
Rashford celebrates scoring England’s fourth goal. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

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29 min: Alexander-Arnold sees Sancho peeling away into space on the right and duly deposits the ball into his path. Montenegro scramble to concede a corner.

27 min: Haksabanovic does indeed provide a good delivery, which apparently takes Stones by surprise, as the Man City defender allows Simic to get the run on him and aim a fine header towards goal from 10 yards. Pickford has much better reactions, pawing the ball away superbly!

26 min: Chilwell has to turn to defensive duties now to stop a run by Vesovic. He catches him on the foot, conceding a freekick in a useful crossing position. IS there a Montenegrin Chilwell to take the setpiece?

GOAL! England 3-0 Montenegro (Kane 23)

Another assist from Chilwell - this time from an outswinging corner - another goal for Kane, a header from six yards.

England’s Harry Kane scores their third goal.
Harry’s head does the business again. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters
Harry Kane of England celebrates scoring their third goal.
Harry Kane of England celebrates scoring their third goal. Photograph: Marc Atkins/Getty Images

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22 min: Chilwell was a big contributor to Leicester’s 9-0 win at Southampton a few weeks back. England could rack up a similar score here if they really want to. Especially if James Maddison is introduced later.

20 min: Rashford rushes back to help out Chilwell and nullify a Montenegro break.

GOAL! England 2-0 Montenegro (Kane 19)

Chilwell curls over an inviting corner from the left. The defenders get themselves in a muddle and Kane doesn’t even have to jump in order to guide a header into the net from six yards. England are on Easy Street.

England’s Harry Kane scores their second goal.
England’s Harry Kane scores their second goal. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters
Harry Kane of England celebrates scoring a goal to make the score 2-0.
Kane celebrates after doubling England’s lead. Photograph: Kieran McManus/BPI/Shutterstock

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17 min: Oxlade-Chamberlain puts an end to some decent play by Montenegro by winning the ball in midfield, setting up a rapid counter-attack that concludes with Rashford unloading a powerful shot that the keeper does well to push behind for a corner.

15 min: Montenegro enter the England half for the first time in a long time. And Vesovic scampers all the way into the box, wriggling past two defenders before Maguire comes across to poke the ball out for a corner.

13 min: Sancho runs on to a clipped pass and hooks it back into the danger zone from near the byline. Kane fluffs his header and as Mount hares in to try to prod the bouncing ball into the net from close range, Mijatovic throws himself at it to divert it away.

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11 min: Chilwell drifted infield from the left mid-way inside the opposing half and flighted a pass over to Oxlade-Chamberlain on the far side of the box. The Liverpool man controlled it immaculately and then whacked a crisp low shot into the far corner to crown a dominant start by England.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of England scores his sides first goal
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of England shoots ... Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of England scores his sides first goal
And the ball flies into the net. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of England celebrates after scoring his sides first goal.
The Ox celebrates. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

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GOAL! England 1-0 Montenegro (Oxlade-Chamberlain 11)

Excellent finish by the man who has had to wait 19 months for a start!

8 min: Alexander-Arnold sends over a freekick from the right, but it’s too close to the goalkeeper.

6 min: Lovely play by Winks! He used his body well as he received a pass about 40 yards out and then threaded a precise ball through to Sancho on the right. The winger glided past his marker and fired a low pass across the face of goal. Sofranac made a heroic block to deny Kane a tap-in!

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4 min: Oxlade runs on to pass down the right and chops over a decent cross. Mijatovic strides off his line to snaffle it.

3 min: Montenegro win the first corner of the game. Haksabanovic delivers to the near post, where Kane make a good block before England clear the danger.

2 min: Nifty play on the left between Chilwell, Rashford and Winks. But it peters out before anyone can get a cross in. Still, a bright opening by England.

1 min: We have kickoff!

“Silly question!” announces Bob Zoellner. “When the average age of the England team was calculated, were leap years added in with 366 days rather than 365 days for ‘normal years’?” I’ll level with you, Bob, I was just repeating the statistic given by man on the TV. I’ll do my own calculations if I get a moment during the game ...

Wembley looks to be about 85% full and not many of those in attendance seem inclined to join in with the national anthem, by the sounds of it.

The players are in the tunnel, preparing to be led out by Kane, who drops the pennant while he’s waiting. Remember that if this match doesn’t pan out as planned, you can go back and say it was an omen.

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Southgate speaks

Inevitably, the first question is about the Sterling/Gomez palaver: “It was a difficult decision [to omit Sterling] but we made it earlier in the week and moved on from there. Everyone’s focused on the game.” Would he have left out Sterling if this were a key World Cup encounter? “It’s a hypothetical question. I could give you an answer but it doesn’t mean anything.” Is there a risk of Sterling now feeling marginalised? “No, he’s been really good, I have to say. It’s behind us. We drew a line under it on Monday night and now it’s all about qualification.”

What of the inclusion of Oxlade-Chamberlain, returning to the England starting lineup for the first time in nearly 19 months: “He’s a good player. He’s got speed and power and he’s a goal threat. We want to play high up the pitch and he’s got some fantastic attributes. It’s a good night for him to come back in.”

Teams

So here are those lineups in full:

England: Pickford, Alexander-Arnold, Stones, Maguire, Chilwell, Winks, Mount, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sancho, Rashford, Kane.

Subs: Pope. Trippier, Maddison, Gomez, Rose, Wilson, Tomori, Henderson, Mings, Hudson-Odoi, Rice, Abraham

Montenegro: Mijatovic; Vesovic, Sofranac, Simic, Radunovic; Hocko, Lagator, Vukcevic; Jovovic, Haksabanovic; Beciraj

Subs: Sarkic, Raspopovic, Sekulic, Vujacic, Bulatovic, Kojasevic, Kopitovic, Mugosa, Boljevic, Jankovic, Petkovic

Referee: A Lahoz (Spain)

Despite the relatively gnarled central defence, this is England’s youngest starting XI since 1959, with an average age of 23 years and 255 days.

England team

Southgate’s selections have been revealed. The midfield looks to have much more thrust about it than in recent matches, especially with the inclusion of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Southgate has decided to go for experience in central defence in the form of the Maguire and Stones, which means no starting place for Tomori or Scratched Joe Gomez.

England: Pickford, Alexander-Arnold, Stones, Maguire, Chilwell, Winks, Mount, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sancho, Rashford, Kane.

Preamble

Montenegro are in town! And England have a chance to gain the point that would secure the place at Euro 2020 that was in doubt right up until the format of this competition was revealed. As if that’s not enticing enough, this is also England’s 1000th match! No other country has played so many! That’s a heritage to be proud of and there’s no harm in taking a moment to think of all the players who have contributed a thread or two to this wonderful international footballing tapestry, from Segar Bastard to Harry Kane MBE via Joe Gaetjens, Antonio Rattin, Jim McCalliog, Jan Tomaszewki, Diego Maradona, Ray Houghton, David Gualtieri, Oyvind Leonhardsen, Mladen Petric and Mario Mandzukic. If there’s anyone else you believe deserves a mention, please don’t hesitate to say so. You might even spare a thought for Raheem Sterling, dispatched to the naughty step this week but not forgotten.

Ultimately, though, today is about the here and now and, um, the future: Gareth Southgate is expected to send out a youthful lineup to signify his optimism that England are on the verge of radically improving that success rate of one trophy per every 1,000 matches. Here we go, here we go, here we go!

Kick-off: 7.45pm GMT.

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