A late three-goal flourish ensured a comfortable, albeit hard earned 4-0 win for England over Malta as they consolidated their position atop Group F.
Hosts Malta turned in a resilient, organised defensive performance that kept Gareth Southgate’s men at bay for large parts of the match. Harry Kane broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute, but England had to wait for another half an hour to score their second.
After Ryan Bertrand doubled the visitors’ lead in the 85th minute though, the floodgates opened as Danny Welbeck added a third six minutes later before Kane rounded off the win in the dying moments of the match.
Gareth Southgate was the recipient of a lot of criticism and trolling after his side were made to work hard to win against a side ranked 190 in the world:
Glad to see Gareth Southgate has instilled England with the identity of being so mind-numbingly boring that no one cares how they do.
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOE_UK) September 1, 2017
That England team is atrocious. The eleven seems to get worse by every fixture. Surely we can do better than this? Southgate is clueless.
— The Spurs Compendium (@SpursCompendium) September 1, 2017
Still makes me laugh that Gareth Southgate and Aidy Boothyroyd are in the two top jobs for the national side. How?!
— Kaylum O’Kane (@KaylumSCFC1863) August 31, 2017
Southgate arguing the point that qualifiers are rarely won with “Champagne football”. Doesn’t mean you have to serve up Lambrini though.
— James Olley (@JamesOlley) September 1, 2017
Come on Southgate get some man-management the team looked bored and subdued last night! Let’s get the spirits going against Slovakia!!
— Peter Shilton (@Peter_Shilton) September 2, 2017
6 defensive players on the pitch against painters and decorators 😂👌#Southgate
— Ben (@benbluenose79) September 1, 2017
The quicker the world cup comes so we can sack Gareth Southgate the better #SouthgateOut
— stephen holderness (@pne_ste) September 1, 2017
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was a major talking point as well, starting on the right wing only a day after he left Arsenal to play as a central midfielder, as per reports:
Says a lot that Southgate has put Livermore at CM rather than Oxlade-Chamberlain
Liverpool bench imminent..
— AA (@AgentAzpi) September 1, 2017
Looks like Oxlade-Chamberlain wide right tonight. Is he going to demand a move to Scotland so he can play CM?
— James Benge (@jamesbenge) September 1, 2017
Just seen the Eng team and it looks like Ox is playing on the wing, careful lads he might ask for a transfer to Wales if you’re not careful
— MR DT © (@MrDtAFC) September 1, 2017
Just been told Oxlade-Chamberlain wants to leave England as he thinks he’ll have more of a chance playing centre-midfield for Malta.
— Hiten. (@HitenPatel13) September 1, 2017
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain failing to beat the Malta left back while playing right midfield kinda strengthens his claim to play CM for LFC 😂
— UNILAD Football (@UNILADFooty) September 1, 2017
But, Harry Kane was hailed by Twitterati – Tottenham fans in particular – after he put his August voodoo behind him to power England to another win. In fact, the player joined in on the fun as well:
Didn’t like August anyway! 😂
— Harry Kane (@HKane) September 1, 2017
It took Harry Kane just 19 hours to score in September.
— Spurs Stat Man (@SpursStatMan) September 1, 2017
Caps needed to score 10 International goals:
🦁 KANE (20)
🇪🇸 Villa (20)
🇸🇪 Zlatan (28)
🇫🇷 Henry (29)
🇵🇹 Ronaldo (30)
🇦🇷 Messi (33)
— Harry Kane Stats (@HarryKaneStats_) September 1, 2017
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 1, 2017
August ends. 🗓
Harry Kane scores. ⚽️
Coincidence? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/fXADVQ0crG
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) September 1, 2017
Premier League strikers, you will start on my first whistle.
Harry Kane, you will start on my second whistle.
— Lara © (@laazarini7) September 1, 2017
If it was 31st August Kane would’ve skied both of his goals
— Simply (@Simply_Spurs) September 1, 2017
Harry Kane in August: 0 goals
Harry Kane on 1st September: ⚽⚽ pic.twitter.com/NanvwMom79
— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 2, 2017
— Freaky ~ DRaval (@_DRaval) September 1, 2017
Oh look, Harry Kane has managed to get his first goal of the season.
*checks who Spurs play next* pic.twitter.com/E1aNSGlnGz
— Michael De Asha (@MichaelDeAsha) September 1, 2017
It’s September again. It’s Harry Kane season again. Time for the goals to go flying in. 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼
— Spurs In The Blood (@SpursInTheBlood) September 1, 2017