England thrash Montenegro to reach Euro 2020 as France qualifies

Written By: BBC/Hunja Macharia
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England celebrated their 1,000th game in style as they secured qualification for Euro 2020 and won Group A with an emphatic demolition of Montenegro at Wembley.

Captain Harry Kane moved to sixth in England’s list of leading scorers as a first-half hat-trick took his tally to 31, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opened the scoring on his first start for 18 months and Marcus Rashford was also on the scoresheet in that 45-minute barrage.

As England and the Football Association enjoyed this landmark occasion, with a parade of legends and 1966 World Cup winners in attendance, Montenegro proved the most amenable of opponents, particularly in the opening half when Kane and company ran riot and the visitors’ defending was shambolic.

Oxlade-Chamberlain finished superbly to begin the rout while Kane quickly added two headers, with all three goals created by Leicester City defender Ben Chilwell. England’s captain and Rashford were also the beneficiaries of Montenegro generosity before the interval.

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It was also in evidence in the second half when Aleksandar Sofranac diverted Mason Mount’s shot into his own net for England’s sixth.

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To complete a perfect night for Gareth Southgate and England- who by qualifying automatically ensured they will play all three Euro 2020 group matches at Wembley – the manager was able to give a debut to Leicester City’s James Maddison, while substitute Tammy Abraham scored his first full international goal.

Elsewhere Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud scored the winner from the penalty spot as world champions France came from a goal down to beat Moldova in their Euro 2020 qualifier and move top of Group H.

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France’s qualification was secured before kick-off, thanks to second-placed Turkey’s home draw with Iceland.

Vadim Rata put Moldova 1-0 up after nine minutes, pouncing on a poor header by Barcelona defender Clement Lenglet.

France’s Raphael Varane equalised before Giroud made it 2-1.

Didier Deschamps’ side travel to Albania for their final Euro 2020 qualifier on Sunday and will win the group as long as they avoid defeat, though they will still finish top if Turkey fail to get a result in Andorra on the same day.

Giroud came close on several occasions before putting away the penalty won by Everton defender Lucas Digne – striking wide in the first half before his diving header flew inches past the keeper’s right post.

And in group B Cristiano Ronaldo took his tally to 98 international goals as his hat-trick against Lithuania moved Portugal to within one win of a place at Euro 2020.

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The 34-year-old Juventus forward could become only the second man to reach 100 international goals if he scores twice against Luxembourg on Sunday.

The Portugal captain scored an early penalty before curling in a second.

Pizzi, Goncalo Paciencia and Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva scored before the latter set up Ronaldo for his third.

Ronaldo’s ninth Portugal hat-trick – with seven of those coming since his 30th birthday – takes him to within 11 goals of Iran legend Ali Daei’s world-record 109.

This is his joint most goals in a calendar year for Portugal, with 13 – coming in his past seven caps – matching his 2016 total.

 

 

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