England stroll past Malta in World Cup qualifier

England defeated Malta 2-0 under interim boss Gareth Southgate in their World Cup qualifying clash at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

  • Lingard starts for England
  • Rooney leads from a deep midfield position
  • Sturridge opens the scoring on 29 minutes 
  • Alli adds a second on 38 minutes
  • Andrew Hogg makes a number of crucial saves

Match summary:

Sturridge opened the scoring with an excellent header on 29 minutes as England got off to a great start under their new manager before Alli got in on the action when he netted on 38 minutes when he slotted home from close range.

Full report:

Jesse Lingard made his debut in a front three for the Three Lions that included Daniel Sturridge and Theo Walcott, while Gary Cahill started ahead of Chris Smalling in central defence as Ryan Bertrand took the left-back spot ahead of Danny Rose.

Wayne Rooney captained the side from his midfield position next to Dele Alli and Jordan Henderson, and enjoyed the first real chance of the match with a shot on nine minutes that was well turned away by Andrew Hogg.

A low Bertrand cross moments later was easy fodder for the Malta goalkeeper, but that piece of action proved to be the Southampton defender's last contribution as he was replaced by Rose with a hamstring injury.

A lofted pass from Henderson was smashed just over the crossbar on the volley from Lingard as England got behind the Maltese defence for the first time on 20 minutes – before Alli saw his point-blank header saved by a busy Hogg.

But the Hibernians stopper could do nothing to deny Sturridge on 29 minutes with a pinpoint header after an early cross from Henderson.

Hogg though expertly denied Lingard moments later after his powerful header headed in to the back of the net from an angled Sturridge ball –  before Alli doubled England's lead on 38 minutes.

The highly rated Tottenham midfielder picked up a Henderson cut-back in the box, and while his first effort was well saved, the Spurs man was on hand to poke home the rebound.

The Malta keeper denied Sturridge from close range ahead of the welcomed whistle signalling the half-time break, and after a slow start to the second half, the stopper was back in the thick of the action as he denied Walcott from close range just after the hour mark.

Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford replaced Walcott moments later, ahead of a Lingard shot on 69 minutes that smashed into the side netting.

Alfred Effiong was doing his best to throw his weight around and upset the England defence with his direct running, but Cahill and John Stones combined well to keep the Nigerian-born striker quiet.

Jamie Vardy came on for Sturridge on 74 minutes as Southgate looked to add some much needed impetus in attack as errors began creeping into England's game.

Andrei Agius forced Joe Hart to tip a 40-yard free-kick around his post following a good header in a rare attack for Malta before Alli blazed a shot well over the target from a low Rashford cross for the last real action of the game.