- goal scored by H. Kane Goal type PEN (PEN) Goal type PEN (PEN)
- goal scored by R. Sterling
- goal scored by H. Kane Goal type Penalty Goal Goal type Penalty Goal
- goal scored by R. Sterling
Harry Kane scored a hat-trick as England maintained their 100 per cent start to their UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying campaign.
The skipper’s treble, allied to Raheem Sterling’s 55th-minute goal, handed Gareth Southgate’s side a comfortable 4-0 victory over Bulgaria at Wembley Stadium.
Kane put the Three Lions ahead midway through the first half and doubled the lead from the penalty spot shortly after the restart.
Sterling bundled home the third moments later before another Kane penalty sealed the win.
The result moves England on to nine points from their opening three Group A matches, adding to the impressive wins over Czech Republic and Montenegro in March.
The victory may have been relatively straightforward, but it was the well-beaten visitors who created the first opening as Wanderson fired a tame shot straight at Jordan Pickford when well placed.
Indeed, Bulgaria carved out another two decent chances that might have altered proceedings, but, in truth, the visitors were unable to live with their more celebrated opponents.
Fifty-two cap Jordan Henderson is still waiting for his maiden England goal and his eyes lit up when Danny Rose zipped a left-wing cross his way after quarter of an hour. The Liverpool captain caught it on the volley but the ball flew harmlessly high and wide.
Kane then had a goal ruled out for offside and had to wait just five minutes to make amends, with Bulgaria the architects of their own downfall.
Plamen Iliev played a goal kick short to Georgi Sarmov who immediately returned the ball to his keeper. Iliev’s next pass was poor, allowing Sterling to pounce.
The in-form winger found his captain who did the rest, turning home his 23rd international goal.
The Spurs talisman could have doubled his tally at the end of the first half but appeared to head Henderson’s deep cross into his own shoulder, making it easier for Iliev to gather.
Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov should also have done better with a header of his own when he was found unmarked inside the England box. His effort bounced up kindly for Pickford.
The match was effectively settled inside the opening ten minutes of the second half.
Pickford had to be on his mettle to deny Wanderson at the near post as Krasimir Balakov’s side burst out of the blocks after the break. It was a very good chance for the visitors and an equally good save by Pickford.
As if to rub salt into the wounds, Marcus Rashford raced down the other end less than 60 seconds later and won a penalty after being tripped inside the box by Nikolay Bodurov.
Kane made no mistake from the subsequent spot kick, sending Iliev the wrong way.
The 26-year-old then turned provider, squaring a ball for Sterling who converted from close range.
Amid the flurry of goals, there was a moment to savour for Mason Mount, who came on for Henderson to make his senior England debut – and the Chelsea youngster looked more than at home on the international stage.
Kane put the game to bed with his second penalty on 73 minutes. The skipper was felled inside the box by Kristian Dimitrov and then took full advantage, planting a firm spot kick into the opposite corner to his first.
It sealed his second international hat-trick and wrapped up another three points for Southgate’s charges.
England’s next qualifier is against Kosovo at a sold-out St. Mary's on Tuesday night.
England (4-3-3): 1 Jordan Pickford (Everton); 2 Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), 5 Michael Keane (Everton), 6 Harry Maguire (Manchester United), 3 Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur); 8 Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), 4 Declan Rice (West Ham United), 10 Ross Barkley (Chelsea); 11 Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), 9 Harry Kane (capt; Tottenham Hotspur), 7 Raheem Sterling (Manchester City).
Substitutes: 18 Mason Mount (Chelsea) for Henderson 67, 21 Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund) for Sterling 71, 19 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool) for Kane 77.
Substitutes not used: 12 Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), 13 Tom Heaton (Aston Villa), 14 Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), 15 Joe Gomez (Liverpool), 16 Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), 17 Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur), 20 James Maddison (Leicester City), 22 Nick Pope (Burnley), 23 Callum Wilson (AFC Bournemouth).
Goals: Kane 24, 49 (pen), 73 (pen), Sterling 55
Bookings: Keane 30
Manager: Gareth Southgate
Gareth Southgate praised his side’s attacking play after England cruised to a 4-0 UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying win over Bulgaria.
Harry Kane scored a hat-trick and Raheem Sterling grabbed the other goal as the Three Lions moved to the top of Group A with nine points from their opening three qualifiers.
Southgate said: “I think [we] improved as the game went on.
“Some of our attacking play was really exciting. We didn't need to over-complicate things. We looked dangerous.”
Bulgaria set themselves up in a defensive 5-4-1 formation but the visitors did create the first opening, with Wanderson calling Jordan Pickford into action early on.
But England were always in control, certainly after Kane broke the deadlock on 24 minutes.
Southgate added: “Their formation caused us problems out of possession. In a game like this you have got to make sure the concentration is right.
“I always felt we had enough firepower to win the game.
“I'm not sure it's complacency - every team will have some moments, you just have to make sure you see the runs - but I'm generally pleased.”
England continue their qualifying campaign when they welcome Kosovo to Southampton’s St. Mary’s stadium on Tuesday night.
- Minutes: 90
- Goals: 3
- Assists: 1