Dominant England overcome Malta

In a game they dominated, England managed to earn a 2-0 win over Malta as Daniel Sturridge and Dele Alli's first half strikes made the difference for the Three Lions.

Daniel Sturridge of England celebrating with team-mates after scoring the opening goal during their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Malta
Daniel Sturridge of England celebrating with team-mates after scoring the opening goal during their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Malta

England created the first chance of the match on the 7th minute. Theo Walcott and Kyle Walker linked up well on the left side before delivering the ball towards Wayne Rooney. The England captain hit a strong shot from outside the penalty area that forced an excellent save from Andrew Hogg.

The English side had another opportunity on the 19th minute. Jordan Henderson delivered a through ball over the Maltese defence in the path of Jesse Lingard. The English striker attempted a volley that ended up wide.

Three minutes later, Hogg was on the alert once more to deny Dele Alli. Henderson crossed the ball towards Alli, who headed towards goal. However, Hogg managed another great save to deny the Tottenham player.

The Three Lions kept pushing forward and went ahead on the 28th minute. Henderson delivered a cross into the path of Daniel Sturridge, who peeled off his marker and sent an excellent header past Hogg.

Gareth Southgate's men kept piling pressure and were close to double the score on the 33rd minute. Sturridge sent a cross inside the Maltese penalty area that found Lingard. However, the Manchester United midfielder saw his close range strike being saved by Hogg.

Despite missing this chance, England only took two minutes to score again through Dele Alli. The twenty year old unleashed a shot from close range that was saved by Hogg, but could only parry the ball back in the path of the striker, who placed it inside the net.

Two minutes from half time, Hogg was on the alert once more to deny Sturridge. Walker managed to find Sturridge inside the penalty area. The striker went past his marker, but his close range shot was saved by the Hibernians goalkeeper.

England had another chance to score their third goal on the 52nd minute. From a free kick, Rooney sent a swinging shot that was neutralised by Hogg, who tipped the ball behind.

Hogg, who was Malta’s best player on the night, managed another excellent save on the 64th minute. Lingard went inside the penalty area from the left flank before sending a through ball towards Walcott. However, the Arsenal man was denied by Hogg's super stop.

Five minutes later, the English side went close once more. From a free kick, Lingard received the ball on the edge of the penalty area, but his low shot went wide.

The only chance for Malta came on the 80th minute. Substitute Michael Mifsud won a free kick after being fouled by Gary Cahill. From the resulting free kick, Paul Fenech sent an excellent cross towards Andrei Agius, whose shot forced a good save from Joe Hart.

England responded on the 84th minute. Marcus Rashford sent a low cross inside the Maltese penalty area towards Alli, but his first time effort went flying over the cross bar.

Malta will now play Lithuania on Tuesday.

Malta starting line-up: Andrew Hogg, Steve Borg, Zack Muscat, Andrei Agius, Ryan Camilleri, Alex Muscat, Bjorn Kristensen, Gareth Sciberras, Paul Fenech, Andre Schembri, Alfred Effiong.

England starting line-up: Joe Hart, Kyle Walker, Gary Cahill, John Stones, Ryan Bertrand, Theo Walcott, Wayne Rooney, Jordan Henderson, Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard, Daniel Sturridge.

Referee: Stefan Johannesson (Sweden)

Assistant referees: Fredrik Nilsson, Mehmet Culum

Fourth official: Mohammed Al-Hakim