England and France cruised to victories over international minnows in Euro 2024 qualifying on Friday, but Wales saw their hopes of reaching next year’s finals in Germany suffer a setback in a 4-2 home defeat by Armenia. Gareth Southgate’s England scored twice from the penalty spot as they eased to a 4-0 win away to a Malta side ranked 172nd in the world and kept up their perfect record in Group C. Malta defender Ferdinando Apap turned Bukayo Saka’s cross into his own net to give England an early lead, and Trent Alexander-Arnold made it 2-0 with a superb strike.
Harry Kane, who became England’s all-time top scorer during the last international window in March, made it three goals in three games in this campaign with a penalty to make it 3-0.
Substitute Callum Wilson then completed the scoring late on from another spot-kick awarded for a handball following a VAR check.
“Of course we know we have the quality to win the game and then it’s about the mentality. I thought that was excellent from the start,” said Southgate.
England are six points clear of Ukraine, Italy and North Macedonia, albeit having played one match more
While Italy are currently involved in the Nations League finals, Ukraine got their first points with a stunning comeback to win 3-2 in North Macedonia.
An Enis Bardhi penalty and a brilliant curling strike from Napoli’s Eljif Elmas had North Macedonia — who qualified for Euro 2020 — two goals up.
Bournemouth defender Illia Zabarnyi pulled one back for Ukraine just after the hour mark and they then equalised through Yukhym Konoplia.
North Macedonia, who visit England on Monday, were reduced to 10 men before Viktor Tsygankov headed in a cross from Chelsea’s Mykhailo Mudryk with seven minutes left to complete the comeback.