Wednesday 22 May 2019

England complete not-so-perfect 10

Lithuania 0 England 3

Alex Oxlade Chamberlain scores the third goal for England
Alex Oxlade Chamberlain scores the third goal for England
England's Adam Lallana (left) looks for a way around Lithuania's Linas Klimavicius
England's Harry Kane has a shot on goal saved by Lithuania goalkeeper Giedrius Arlauskis
Riot Police separate Lithuania and England fans in the stands during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the LFF Stadium, Vilnius, Lithuania
Referee Kenn Hansen shows a yellow card to England's Jamie Vardy

Glenn Moore

The Roy Hodgson has often made clear his disregard of statistics but he will be quietly proud of the one that England achieved last night, a perfect 10 wins from 10 qualifying matches.

Hodgson will, though, know that when it comes to next summer's European Championship, this statistic is no more relevant than his particular bugbear, the shots-on-target tally.

As it happens, England threatened to break records for that too in an utterly one-sided match that, but for Giedrius Arlauskis, Watford's reserve goalkeeper, would have finished 8-0.

Only Ross Barkley, with a deflection, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain beat the inspired goalkeeper, though in between he had the misfortune to have a Harry Kane shot go in off his back.

How good are England? It is not easy to tell from this qualifying campaign. Switzerland, beaten convincingly away and competently at home, were the only serious opposition in their group.

While results in other groups have shown some lesser lights can be troublesome, England, for the most part, have not had much to beat.

This match was typical. That Lithuania still had a theoretical chance of qualifying at kick-off underlined how weak this group was. Arlauskis was the only member of the Lithuanian side on the books of a team in a major European league.

The rest were drawn from minor leagues in Israel, Belgium and Poland and their own, where £200 a week is a good wage. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: Leinster's succession plan, Munster's missing piece and the art of contract negotiations

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport