The Independent London Newspaper
23rd April 2019

After win over Scotland, Southgate's England prepare for Spanish test

    World Cup Qualifying Group F England 3 Scotland 0

    Goals from Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Gary Cahill secured a comfortable win for England in Friday's World Cup qualifying match

    Published: 15 November, 2016
    by PAUL COWLING at Wembley Stadium

    World Cup Qualifying Group F

    INTERIM England coach Gareth Southgate suggested that Group F is still wide open, despite a straightforward, but unspectacular victory over the Auld Enemy on Friday evening.

    "We keep winning games, but the table doesn't seem to change. We have to keep getting it right," said Southgate.

    On Armistice night, when 87,000 fans fell silent to the fallen of war, the game crackled with atmosphere, if not quality.

    Scotland were spirited, but fluffed their two chances to score, while England had three shots on target, and scored from all of them.

    Three headed goals from Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Gary Cahill put some gloss on a workmanlike performance from England, but it's still a result that has edged Southgate closer to getting the job full-time.

    "I am delighted that the team came through a pressure environment, but we had to dig in," reasoned Southgate.

    "We were also sloppy in the first phase and caused problems for ourselves."

    This point was proved at the start of the second half. After being boosted by Sturridge's deft 24th-minute header, England were almost rocked by a Scottish equaliser. The Three Lions looked to be still in the dressing room, as Scotland battled to get back in the game. With England's defence failing to clear their lines, James Forrest was given space to tee up his shot, but he somehow dragged the ball wide of Joe Hart's goal.

    Almost immediately, Lallana rose at the other end to head England into a 2-0 lead, while Gary Cahill completed a miserable night for Scotland, when he nodded home from Wayne Rooney's corner on 61 minutes.

    "The second goal was crucial," admitted Southgate.

    "They (Scotland) missed a key moment in the game due to our lack of concentration, so we have to be sharper, and also more ruthless, in front of goal.

    Three chances, three goals and three points may point to a ruthless streak, but the fact remains, England are a long way from the quality of Spain, who they face at Wembley tonight (Tuesday).

    "It will be one of the biggest challenges we will face," admitted Southgate.

    ENGLAND: Hart, Walker, Cahill, Stones, Rose, Henderson, Dier; Rooney, Lallana, Sterling, Sturridge (Vardy, 74).
    Attendance: 87,258


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