North Macedonia 1, England 1
Harry Kane’s presence ensured England finished the year unbeaten after a draw with North Macedonia following a controversial penalty.
And Gareth Southgate’s men will finish the calendar year unbeaten and will celebrate one of the best five group winners qualifying records to gain top seeding for the Euros draw after finishing top of their group with 20 points from 6 wins and 2 draws.
Kane was pleased to complete the year unbeaten with England and said he was looking forward to friendly games next year.
“We went 1-0 behind through a goal against the run of play
“Our goal came at the right time from the corner, I’m always trying to help but it’s a shame we couldn’t get another and finish the year with a win.
“We had to work our way back into the game after a sucker punch today.
And of England’s newest debutant, Rico Lewis, he added: “I thought Rico was really good without the ball and with the ball.
“It’s a shame about the penalty but I’m sure he will be back with us.”
Named England Captain for the first time in the absence of Kane, Kyle Walker was delighted for the recognition and proud of the debut for his Manchester City team mate Rico Lewis.
“It’s been a fantastic moment for myself and my family, I only wish we could have got a win.
“It was tough to come here but we dug in and we got a point.
“Rico deserves this cap because he’s been fantastic.”
Lewis, who celebrates his 19th birthday tomorrow, started at left back but inverted into midfield and added an extra dimension to England’s build-up play.
He said: “Overall I’m very happy, disappointed that the penalty decision went against me.
“It was lovely birthday present and I couldn’t have dreamed of having anything better.”
England were dominant in Macedonia but Lewis was harshly adjudged to have caught striker Bojan Miovski with his hand while both players went up for a header towards the end of the first half.
North Macedonia captain Enis Bardhi put his side ahead by slotting home the rebound from 6 yards out after Jordan Pickford had saved his own poorly struck spot kick after 41 minutes.
Jack Grealish thought he had equalised after volleying home Bukayo Saka’s cross from 1 yard out but VAR ruled it out for offside.
England were level after 59 minutes shortly after Harry Kane replaced Oli Watkins and Phil Foden’s corner went in off Macedonia defender Jani Atanasov under pressure from the England skipper who had only been on the pitch for a matter of seconds.