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969 vs. Malta
Saturday, 8 October 2016
World Cup 2018 UEFA Group F qualification match

England 2 Malta 0 [2-0]

The National Stadium connected by EE, Wembley, Brent, Greater London
Kick-off (BST): 5.00pm.

Attendance: 81,781.

England kicked off 94 minutes 47:01 &  47:01 Match Summary
England Squad
Malta Squad
[1-0] Daniel Sturridge 29 28:24
 18-yard header from a Henderson cross
[2-0] Dele Alli 38 37:15
 7-yard tap in from his own rebounded shot
  Steve Borg 55 54:34

Commentator: Clive Tyldesley with Glenn Hoddle


Match Summary

Officials from Sweden




Referee (yellow) - Stefan Johannsson
44 (22 November 1971), Taby, FIFA-listed 2003.

Assistant Referees - Fredrik Nilsson, 44 (17 January 1972) and Mehmet Culum, 32/33 (1983)

Fourth official - Mohammed Al-Hakim, 31 (15 April 1985 in Najaf, Iraq), FIFA-listed 2015.

22 Goal Attempts 1
11 Attempts on Target 1
0 Hit Bar/Post 0
8 Corner Kicks Won 1
2 Offside Calls Against 0
7 Fouls Conceded 9
78% Possession 22%

England Team



FIFA (15 Sept 2016) 12th
EFO ranking Group 4
ELO rating 9th
Colours: The Nike 2016 home uniform - White v-necked jerseys with light blue sleeves and ice blue collared trim/side stripe and white cuffs, white shorts with ice blue side trim, red socks.
Capt: Wayne Rooney, 21st captaincy Manager: Gareth Southgate, 46 (3 September 1970), appointed caretaker manager on 24 September 2016.
first match, W 1 - D 0 - L 0 - F 2 - A 0.
England Lineup
1 Hart, C. Joseph J. 29 19 April 1987 G Torino FC SpA, Italy,
on loan from Manchester City FC
65 44 GA
2 Walker, Kyle A. 26 28 May 1990 RB Tottenham Hotspur FC 21 0
3 Bertrand, Ryan D., injured off 19th min. 26 5 August 1989 LB Southampton FC 10 0
4 Henderson, Jordan B. 26 17 June 1990 RM Liverpool FC 29 0
5 Cahill, Gary J. 30 19 December 1985 CD Chelsea FC 49 3
6 Stones, John 22 28 May 1994 CD Manchester City FC 12 0
7 Walcott, Theo J., off 68th min. 27 16 March 1989 RAM Arsenal FC 45 8
8 Alli, Bamidele J. 20 11 April 1996 CM Tottenham Hotspur FC 14 2
9 Sturridge, Daniel A., off 73rd min. 27 1 September 1989 CF Liverpool FC 23 7
10 Rooney, Wayne M. 30 24 October 1985 LM Manchester United FC 117 53
11 Lingard, Jesse E. 23 15 December 1992 LAM Manchester United FC 1 0
England Substitutes
scoreline: England 2 Malta 0
14 Rose, Daniel L., on 19th min. (18:30) for Bertrand 26 2 July 1990 LB Tottenham Hotspur FC 9 0
20 Rashford, Marcus, on 68th min. (67:24) for Walcott 18 31 October 1997 RF Manchester United FC 4 1
19 Vardy, Jamie R., on 73rd min. (72:57) for Sturridge 29 11 January 1987 CF Leicester City FC 12 4
result: England 2 Malta 0

unused substitutes:

12-Chris Smalling, 13-Fraser Forster, 15-Eric Dier, 16-Michael Keane, 17-Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 18-Michail Antonio, 21-Andros Townsend, 22-Tom Heaton.

team notes:

Caretaker manager Gareth Southgate was a 57th minute substitute the last time England played Malta in a June 2000 friendly.
Wayne Rooney extends his tally as the most capped outfield England player.
Southgate's victory makes him the ninth successive England manager to win their first game in charge.
England have won each of their last fourteen qualification matches.
4-2-3-1 Hart -
Walker, Cahill, Stones, Bertrand
(Rose) -
Henderson, Rooney -
(Rashford), Alli, Lingaard -

Averages (Starting XI):

Age 26.0 Appearances/Goals 35.1 6.6

Malta Team



FIFA (15 Sept 2016) =176th
EFO ranking n/a
ELO rating 160th
Colours: Made by Givova - Red collared jerseys with shadow diagonal stripes and white trim/cuffs, red shorts with white hem, white socks.
Capt: Andre Schembri, until 85th min. Manager: Pietro Ghedin, 63 (21 November 1962 in Scorze, Italy). Previously apptd 5 July 1993-5 November 1995, re-appointed on 8 May 2012.
37th match, W 6 - D 4 - L 27 F ? A ?.
overall - 65th match, W 60 - D 11 - L 44 - F - 40 - A 121.
Malta Lineup
1 Hogg, Andrew J. 31 2 March 1985
born in Kingston-upon-Thames
G Hibernians FC 48 0
17 Camilleri, Ryan 28 22 May 1988 CD Valletta FC 29 0
20 Muscat, Zach 23 22 August 1993 RB US Arezzo, Italy 16 0
4 Sciberras, Gareth 33 29 March 1983 M Birkirkara FC 48 0
5 Agius, Andrei 30 12 August 1986 CD Hibernians FC 62 1
6 Borg, Steve 28 15 May 1988 RB Valletta FC 21 0
Borg was cautioned in the 55th min. for Unsporting Behaviour, after he slid into a sprinting Lingard running along the touchline.
22 Muscat, Alexander 31 14 December 1984 LB Sliema Wanderers FC 32 0
8 Fenech, Paul 29 20 December 1986 LM Balzan FC 37 1
13 Schembri, Andre 30 27 May 1986 F Boavista FC, Portugal 75 3
19 Effiong, Alfred 31 29 November 1984
born in Nigeria
F Balzan FC 14 4
17 Kristensen, Bjorn 23 5 April 1993 CD Hibernians FC 16 0
Malta Substitutes
scoreline: England 2 Malta 0
10 Muscat, Rowen, on 85th min. (84:56) for Schembri 25 15 June 1991 M Birkirkara FC 26 0
9 Mifsud, Michael, on 76th min. (75:25) for Schembri 35 17 April 1981 F Valletta FC 120 40
result: England 2 Malta 0

unused substitutes:

3-Joseph Zerafa, 7-Clayton Failla, 11-Steve Pisani, 12-Harry Bonello, 14-Jean Paul Farrugia, 15-Mark Scerri, 16-Ryan Scicluna.
5-3-2 Hogg -
Z.Muscat, Agius, Kristensen, A.Muscat -
Kristensen, Sciberras, Fenech -

Schembri (R.Muscat), Effiong (Mifsud).

Averages (Starting XI):

Age 28.8 Appearances/Goals 36.2 0.8


    Match Report by Mike Payne

Who would have thought that I would be writing this report, with yet another new manager in charge of the team?  Gareth Southgate's first match as interim manager was pretty much a foregone conclusion, result wise, with the visit to Wembley of Malta, another of the minnows of World football.  However, as has been proved many times before, no matter what type of opposition you face, you still have to earn the right to the three points.  England did that, but not with any real conviction.

When games are this easy for players at the top level, there is a tendency to go into a lackadaisical mode, and that is what happened here with quite a few of the team not really 'busting a gut' so to speak.

The pattern of the match was soon clear to see as England dominated possession, trying to find a way past a bank of four and a bank of five.  Malta were organised and disciplined and frustrated the crowd and the England players.  It was not a question of whether England would score, more a case of when they would.  It took seven minutes for a goal attempt, when Wayne Rooney's free-kick was charged down, but the ball was soon back and after it was laid back to the England skipper he fired in another effort from just outside the box and only a fine save by goalkeeper Andrew Hogg prevented a goal.  It was not to be the last time the keeper would save his side.

Kyle Walker and Ryan Bertrand were trying to make headway around the wings of the defence and both put in good crosses.  On 12 minutes Bertrand's cross was patted out to Jesse Lingard, but the Manchester United striker scuffed his goal attempt wide.  Daniel Sturridge then twisted and turned in the box, but his eventual shot was weak and easily saved.  England then suffered a blow as Bertrand had to go off with a hamstring problem, and on came Danny Rose to replace him.  Immediately Rose was in the action and he fired in a cross from the left, which was cleared.  Lindgard then made a fine run to meet Jordan Henderson's pass, but scuffed his shot when well placed.  It was certainly England's best chance so far.

Just three minutes later Henderson put in another fine cross, met sweetly by the head of Deli Alli.  A goal looked certain but somehow Hogg managed to get a hand to it and save.  Even then the ball dropped to Sturridge, for what appeared to be a simple tap-in.  Unfortunately, Sturridge somehow contrived to blaze the ball way over the bar.

At this point it was virtually total possession for England and one-way traffic towards the Malta goal and their eleven man defence.  Chances were beginning to come more often, with Rooney playing a lynchpin role, spreading the play from side to side with ease, although not too many passes went forward, into the danger area.  But, at last, on 29 minutes, England finally had their breakthrough.  Another lovely ball in from the lively Henderson found Sturridge on the edge of the Malta box.  This time the header was perfect as he guided a lovely effort just inside the far post with Hogg beaten at last.

Four minutes later Lindgard had another attempt and was actually unlucky to see his header hit the knee of the keeper and squirm just wide of the post.  Credit Hogg though, for spreading himself well.

The pressure was intense now as England had upped the pace and were starting to create some gaps.  With 38 minutes gone a welcome second goal came along, and once again Henderson was heavily involved.  The midfield player burst onto a loose ball, powered into the box and flicked the ball to Alli.  The Tottenham player's first attempt was blocked by Hogg, but Alli followed up and prodded home with his second attempt.

As the half wound down, Sturridge again forced a good save from Hogg, and then headed another chance into the keeper's hands.  England were playing some good football and the extra pace to their game had brought their reward.  Only Hogg had been between England and a rout, but everyone left the field at the break thinking that the same again would bring even greater dividends.  Unfortunately, as soon as the second-half began England fell back into that lackadaisical mode that I mentioned.  The build-up play was slow and lacked the intensity of earlier, and some of the players just went through the motions a little, knowing that the points were safe.

What was a little disconcerting was that England rarely fashioned a decent chance in the half, and Malta were able to easily soak up the attacks.  Southgate tried a couple of substitutions, replacing the ineffectual Theo Walcott with Marcus Rashford, and then switching Sturridge for Jamie Vardy.  But things did not noticeably improve, although it must be said that England were in total control.  Credit to Malta, who worked incredibly hard, and indeed, on 80 minutes, they forced a save from Joe Hart at his near post.  That would have been just a tad embarrassing, had we conceded a goal, but England coasted to the end.  Rooney did force another good save from Hogg with a free-kick and Alli should have scored his second when Rashford's cross reached him at the far post, only for Alli to blaze his shot over the bar from close range.

After all that had gone on before the game, Southgate will be glad of a match like this to get him off and running.  There were a few positives to take from the performance, but the hard graft will start in a few days time when we travel to Slovenia for our third group match in this qualification tournament.  We go into the game with plenty of confidence though and everyone will be aware as to what will be expected of them.

Source Notes

BBC Sport
Mike Payne - football historian and contributor