England 5-0 Lithuania
By Nicholas Veevers
England made it two wins out of two on Tuesday evening, with a comprehensive victory over Lithuania at Portman Road.
The Three Lions came into the game on the back of a 4-0 win against San Marino on Thursday and bettered that scoreline in front of an appreciative home crowd in Ipswich.
Given the attacking talent at Gareth Southgate’s disposal, England were always going to cause problems for their visitors and that proved to be the case right from the start.
With the likes of Wilf Zaha, Tom Ince, Ravel Morrison and Saido Berhino, who both got a brace apiece, leading the charge, the England boss got just what he asked for – an exciting performance.
There may have been the odd occasion of over-indulgence from England against a lacklustre Lithuanian side, but Southgate’s team played with the freedom and creativity he asked of them when he first took on the job.
Just as they did in San Marino last week, England took an early lead after Tom Carroll slid a pass through for Zaha. He tricked his way past Edvinas Girdvainis and drove a low cross into the area for Morrison to touch home from close range with Berahino also lurking.
England’s domination meant that Lithuania were limited to scraps and they didn’t have their first, and only, sight of goal until the 26th minute. And that chance was wasted by Arnas Ribokas who shot high and wide of the target from 25 yards.
Moments after that, Morrison was fouled again just outside the area and Ward- Prowse confidently struck home the free-kick to put the Three Lions in firm control.
Lukas Lidakevicius was facing a constant charge at his defence from England’s lively attack, but it was the left foot of left-back Jack Robinson which forced him into another good save with a stinging drive from 30 yards.
After the break, the visitors’ ‘keeper and captain made another good stop to save Berahino’s header from point-blank range after a teasing delivery from Tom Ince.
But the Three Lions were still guilty of being sloppy in possession in dangerous areas at times and on another night, could have been punished.
The attacking threat of England was always going to prove too much for Lithuania though and a breakaway goal came just after the hour mark when Chaolobah won the ball and released Zaha.
He burst at the heart of Lithuania’s defence, before slipping a pass to his left for Berahino who calmly curled home to get the goal his hard work and link play had deserved.
And Morrison added a second to his tally less than ten minutes later, by pouncing on a loose ball on the half-way line, beating one man and bursting past two others before rounding Lidakevicius and rolling home.
Berahino’s second of the night arrived from the penalty spot, after Jack Robinson had been hauled down in the box following a strong run from the back.
That rounded off the scoring, on an evening which will live long in the memory of the 17,000 were present at Portman Road as England rose to top spot in Group One.
England: 1 Jack Butland (c), 2 John Stones, 3 Jack Robinson, 4 Tom Carroll (12 Carl Jenkinson, 16), 5 Nat Chalobah, 6 Michael Keane, 7 Tom Ince (16 Nathan Redmond, 77), 8 James Ward-Prowse, 9 Saido Berahino (17 Nick Powell, 76), 10 Ravel Morrison, 11 Wilfried Zaha.
Subs not used: 13 Jonathan Bond, 14 Eric Dier, 15 Jesse Lingard, 18 Harry Kane.
Head Coach: Gareth Southgate
Goals: Ravel Morrison (2, 71), James Ward-Prowse (27), Saido Berahino (63, 76),
Lithuania: 1 Lukas Lidakevicius, 19 Markas Beneta, 14 Edvinas Girdvainis, 23 Edgaras Zarskis, 6 Daniel Gunevic, 5 Gerardas Zukauskas, 9 Arnas Ribokas (, 15 Tomas Snapkauskas, 86), 20 Dovydas Norvilas (11 Ovidijus Verbickas, 68), 2 Povilas Kiselevskis, 17 Tomas Birskys, 18 Lukas Spalvis (8 Karolis Laukzemis, 74).
Subs not used: 12 Tomas Svedkauskas, 3 Lukas Artimavicius, 21 Martynas Dapkus, 16 Lukas Sendzikas.
Cautions: Tomas Birskys (56), 6 Daniel Gunevic (77).
Head Coach: Arminas Narbekovas
Referee: Adrien Jaccottet
Assistant Referees: Devis Dettamanti & Stephane de Almeida
Fourth Official: Patrick Graf