The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

Eng­land fi­nally move up gear with vic­tory in group-stage fi­nale

- Sports · England national football team · England · Gareth Southgate · Kosovo · Pristina · Harry Winks · Harry Kane · Marcus Rashford · Mason Mount

ngland man­ager Gareth South­gate was pleased to see his men given a “good test” in dif­fi­cult play­ing con­di­tions after bat­tling their way to vic­tory over Kosovo in Pristina yes­ter­day.

The Three Lions ran out 4-0 win­ners to en­sure they will head to Euro 2020 among the top seeds but it was not as com­fort­able as the fi­nal score­line might sug­gest against tricky op­po­nents.

Harry Winks’ first-half goal put Eng­land in front but the vis­i­tors had to wait un­til the fi­nal 12 min­utes to fin­ish off Kosovo, with Harry Kane, Mar­cus Rash­ford and Ma­son Mount adding late goals.

Eng­land boss South­gate, whose side were al­ready as­sured of top spot in Group A, said: “I think it was a tight game. It was a good test for us re­ally. Dif­fi­cult pitch, in par­tic­u­lar, lots of peo­ple slip­ping and a few passes went astray.

“But we needed a tighter game. It was the sort of chal­lenge I was pleased we got.

“We had to with­stand spells of pres­sure, gave them a few halfchance­s that on an­other night could be more of a prob­lem, but in the end our counter-at­tack­ing was ab­so­lutely ruth­less.”

Eng­land cap­tain Kane felt it was a pro­fes­sional per­for­mance in their fi­nal com­pet­i­tive match ahead of Euro 2020.

He said: “It was a dif­fi­cult game, dif­fi­cult pitch. They were up for it.

“We had al­ready won the group so the men­tal­ity is not al­ways easy to go again but we got it right.

“We got 1-0 up. We went through a few spells where they had some pres­sure but we soaked it up and then to­wards the end of the game, when the spa­ces started to open up, we were clin­i­cal. Four-nil is a great re­sult.”

 ??  ?? Harry Kane scored in Eng­land’s win
Harry Kane scored in Eng­land’s win

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