England 2, Malta 0
Harry Kane scored as England moved to within touching distance of seeded qualification for the European Championships next summer with a 2-0 victory over Malta at Wembley.
England took a fortuitous first half lead when the lively Phil Foden’s cutback was stabbed past his own goalkeeper by Malta defender Enrico Pepe after just eight minutes at Wembley.
Chances were few in a poor quality first half as England failed to record a shot on target in the first half at Wembley for the first time since November 2017 against Germany.
Harry Kane was booked for diving in an attempt to win a spot kick while Marcus Rashford escaped punishment after he went over after being double teamed by a pair of Malta defenders.Embed from Getty Images
Rashford still looked under-par on the night, failing to make the most of the balls that England tried to get through to him.
There was a flurry of second half substitutions by Gareth Southgate including an England debut for ex-City winger Cole Palmer after 61 minutes when he replaced Rashford to become the 60th debutant under Southgate.
There wasn’t a single shot on target from either side until Henry Bonello saved Trent Alexander-Arnold’s half volley after 63 minutes.
The Liverpool man, given a chance in an experimental midfield, sent a free kick won by Palmer high and wide 4 minutes later.
Kane finally found some rhythm when Walker moved the ball to Foden who threaded a first time pass to Bukayo Saka who slid the ball to his captain who did the rest from 6 yards out with 15 minutes to go to notch his 62nd international goal.
And 93 seconds later Declan Rice thought he had made the scoreline look a lot better with a low curling drive from outside the area that beat Bonello to nestle inside the back post but a VAR check revealed two England players including Kane in an offside position, distracting the keeper as the ball went past him.
Foden’s shot was blocked by Steve Borg while Rice put another effort wide and Alexander-Arnold had another long range effort parried by Bonello as England eased their way to victory in a very forgettable game.