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Monday, October 25, 2021

Andorra 0-5 England: Ben Chilwell, Bukayo Saka, Tammy Abraham, James Ward-Prowse and Jack Grealish all score in World Cup Qualifier

Gareth Southgate celebrated five years as England boss with a comfortable 5-0 win away in Andorra, which keeps his side top of World Cup Qualifying Group I and moves them closer to sealing their spot at Qatar 2022.

Ben Chilwell’s first goal for his country got England up and running when VAR overruled an offside call (18), before Bukayo Saka (40) benefitted from an exquisite pass from the standout Phil Foden to double the advantage before the break.

Tammy Abraham then marked his first England appearance in 11 months with a close-range finish (59) from Jadon Sancho’s second assist of the night, before James Ward-Prowse followed up his saved penalty (79) – which had been awarded by history-making female referee Kateryna Monzul – to match the scoreline from September’s reverse fixture at Wembley.

Jack Grealish – who had won the penalty – then made it five when he followed Chilwell in scoring his first international goal (86), latching onto a long-range pass from goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, as England swept aside opponents ranked 156th in the world rankings.

The victory – celebrated by around 1,000 England supporters inside the Estadi Nacional d’Andorra, who were able to support their side away from home for the first time in almost two years – leaves England on the brink of World Cup qualification with just three games left to play, including Tuesday’s game with Hungary at Wembley.

Ben Chilwell, Andorra vs England
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Ben Chilwell opened the scoring for England

England’s remaining fixtures

Oct 12 – Hungary (h)

Nov 12 – Albania (h)

Nov 15 – San Marino (a)

Player ratings

England: Johnstone (7), Trippier (6), Stones (6), Coady (7), Chilwell (7), Ward-Prowse (7), Saka (8), Lingard (6), Sancho (9), Abraham (7), Foden (9).

Subs: Tomori (6), Grealish (8), Mount (6), Watkins (N/A)

Man of the match: Phil Foden

How it happened…

There had been some concerns about whether this fixture would go ahead following a pitch-side fire on the day before the game but when referee Monzul blew the whistle at kick-off – a historic moment with her all-female team of officials in charge of a senior men’s England game for the first time – the visitors were immediately onto the front foot, with a series of Ward-Prowse set-pieces sent into the Andorra penalty area.

Team news

England boss Gareth Southgate named an attacking line-up ahead of a defence featuring goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, captain-for-the-day Kieran Trippier and returning left-back Ben Chilwell.

James Ward-Prowse and Jesse Lingard – who were both left out of the Euro 2020 squad – joined Bukayo Saka in midfield, while Jadon Sancho and Phil Foden flanked Tammy Abraham.

Abraham should have turned in a Sancho cross and Chilwell headed wastefully wide inside the first 15 minutes, but moments later the left-back – who has been out of the first-team frame and was a replacement call-up to this squad – blasted in after Sancho’s lay-off from a Foden pass, with a long check from VAR Stephanie Frappart overturning an offside call against the Manchester United man.

Sancho had two markers on him throughout but rolled out his repertoire of tricks and crossed for Abraham to head on target, before John Stones sent an aerial effort of his own out for a goal-kick.

Bukayo Saka, Andorra vs England
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Bukayo Saka celebrates after his strike made it 2-0

England eventually got the second goal their first-half dominance deserved five minutes before the break when a fantastic Foden lofted through-ball allowed Saka to run through and, after a smart first touch, fire in a firm finish.

Sancho and Chilwell worked Andorra goalkeeper Josep Gomes shortly after the restart, with England’s left flank again proving profitable, and it was Sancho who set up another just before the hour mark, crossing for Abraham to prod in unmarked from six yards out.

Tammy Abraham, Andorra vs England
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Tammy Abraham scored against Andorra

Andorra’s Marc Rebes had earlier been booked for whacking his hand into Chilwell’s stomach and the focus turned to referee Monzul when she opted not to show the midfielder a second yellow when he caught Conor Coady with an elbow on 67 minutes.

But even with 11 men on the pitch, a tiring Andorra were struggling to contain England and Txus Rubio’s trip on sub Grealish allowed Ward-Prowse to convert at the second attempt after Gomes had guessed the right way with his spot-kick.

There was still time for England to make it five, with Grealish dribbling at Andorra’s defence before shooting low into the corner, and that rounded off Southgate’s 42nd victory from his 65 games in charge – a win which makes the Three Lions’ qualification now almost a formality.

Abraham ‘will keep pushing’ for World Cup place

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Tammy Abraham describes playing for England as

Tammy Abraham believes his move to Roma has helped prove his England credentials.

The striker, who has netted four times in 10 outings for Roma after joining from Chelsea in the summer, marked his first start for the Three Lions in four years with a goal in Andorra.

“Hopefully it shows I’m clearly doing the right things and this is the start, hopefully I can keep going and keep pushing,” he told ITV.

“I was disappointed to miss out (at the Euros) but I’m playing every week now and hopefully I can keep performing. It’s a tough squad to get into and hopefully I can remain here.

“It was a good night for me and the boys. We knew it was going to be a tough game, we had to stay focused and luckily we got the early goal.”

What the manager said…

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England head coach Gareth Southgate was very pleased with his side’s 5-0 win against Andorra and said his players answered every question posed at them in their World Cup Qualifier.

England boss Gareth Southgate: “It was a specific sort of challenge: a low, packed defence to break down. We picked a team with players in it who could take that challenge on. You saw that with the link play from midfield especially and I thought the application throughout was excellent.

“We know those diagonal runs from wide – Ben Chilwell made them throughout the game – and with Phil Foden he can hit them as can Ward-Prowse… So it was, could we get between the lines, could we get wide in one against one situations, but those diagonal runs in behind were a real threat.

“There were some nice moments there: for Chilwell to get a goal, having had such a tough time in the summer with us, I’m really pleased for him, and Jack’s first goal as well. Tammy, Prowsey, Bukayo… they all haven’t scored that often for England so a special moment for all of them.”

Opta stats – England’s young guns fire

Jack Grealish celebrates after scoring England's fifth
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Jack Grealish celebrates after scoring England’s fifth

What’s next?

England continue their World Cup Qualifying campaign with the visit of Hungary to Wembley on Tuesday; kick-off 7.45pm. Andorra travel to San Marino on the same evening seeking to complete a double over the group’s bottom nation.

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