Football

Bukayo Saka scores in England World Cup qualifier to forget about Euro final miss

Birthday boy, Bukayo Saka, put his Euro 2020 final penalty miss behind him by scoring on his return to Wembley with England as Gareth Southgate’s side won 4-0 against Andorra to maintain their 100 percent start to World Cup qualifying.

Birthday boy, Bukayo Saka, put his Euro 2020 final penalty miss behind him by scoring on his return to Wembley with England as Gareth Southgate’s side won 4-0 against Andorra to maintain their 100 per cent start to World Cup qualifying.

Fifty-six days on from that shoot-out defeat to Italy, Saka leapt at the back post to head in England’s final goal of a Sunday evening stroll past the world’s 156th ranked side, to mark his 20th birthday in style.

The Arsenal forward had received racist abuse in the wake of his saved spot-kick in the summer but got the loudest cheer when the teams were read out and earned a measure of redemption by capping his comeback performance for his country with a goal.

Jesse Lingard finished with a double but the floodgates didn’t open up initially after his 18th-minute strike, with Andorra preventing their hosts – who had made 11 changes from Thursday’s win over Hungary – from having another shot on target in the first half.

Reece James, after swapping right-back for central midfield with Trent Alexander-Arnold at half-time, rattled the bar with a thunderbolt soon after the restart but it took an A-list triple substitution on the hour mark to kick start the goal rush England’s dominance deserved.

Jack Grealish fed Mason Mount to win a penalty which was hammered in by Harry Kane (72) – moving him to level with Michael Owen on 40 goals for his country – before Lingard added a too-easy second for himself (78) and Saka drew delighted celebrations in the stands and among his team-mates (85).

After the intensity and abuse, England’s players experienced away in Budapest on Thursday night, this cruise in the September sunshine was more a celebration of the team’s achievement’s at Euro 2020, with Gareth Southgate receiving a warm ovation from a family-filled Wembley Stadium before the warm-ups.#

The task will be much tricker on Wednesday when England go away to Poland but, with five wins from five under their belt and a commanding lead at the top of Group I, they’ll know victory in Warsaw will all but secure their place at the World Cup in Qatar.

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