England’s Victory Marred by Subpar Performance In their recent Euro 2024 qualifier at Wembley, England emerged victorious with a 2-0 score against Malta. However, the win did not mask the team’s lackluster performance, leaving manager Gareth Southgate acknowledging that the squad is “not where we need to be.”
Goals from Kane and Own Goal by Pepe England’s triumph was marked by an own goal from Malta’s Enrico Pepe and a notable 62nd goal from Harry Kane. These contributions led England to a win in a match where they had already secured a spot in next summer’s tournament.
Southgate’s Perspective on the Match Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Southgate reflected on the game, pointing out the team’s substandard start and the lack of quality in gameplay. He chose not to criticize the players overtly, citing the intense schedule they face. “Those games that you know you can win at a canter… it’s almost a self-regulation,” Southgate remarked.
Kane’s Outlook on the Match Harry Kane, who extended his record England goal tally, admitted to the game’s quality being below their usual standard. He cited mental fatigue as a potential factor affecting the team’s performance and acknowledged the challenge posed by Malta’s unexpectedly strong quality.
Statistics and Challenges England’s struggle was evident as they failed to register a shot on target in the first hour against a significantly lower-ranked Malta. The game also saw Kane being booked for diving in what he thought was a penalty opportunity.
Future Prospects and Positive Takeaways Despite the challenges, England needs just a point in their upcoming match against North Macedonia to secure a seeded position in Euro 2024. Southgate highlighted the positives, including performances from Trent Alexander-Arnold, Phil Foden, and the impact of Cole Palmer’s debut. However, he reiterated the need for improvement and addressed positional challenges faced by players like Fikayo Tomori.
England’s Path Ahead As England prepares for their next match, the focus remains on enhancing their gameplay and living up to their potential. Southgate’s candid acknowledgment of the team’s current state and areas for improvement points towards a concerted effort to raise their game as they advance in the Euro 2024 qualifiers.