England beat Kosovo in eight-goal thriller

England beat Kosovo in eight-goal thriller

England maintained their flawless start to UEFA European Championship qualifying with a 5-3 win over a resilient Kosovo side at St Mary's on Tuesday night.

It was mesmerising stuff from the 24-year-old, who then got his third assist just before half-time, skinning Amir Rrahmani down the line before squaring for Sancho to tap home his second. A mistake from England defender Michael Keane let Vedat Muriqi poach the ball just outside the penalty area, and the striker unselfishly passed to Valon Berisha, who scored an nearly unimaginable opening goal, releasing a tide of Kosovar joy from all corners of the stadium.

The task, as once again underlined during a chaotic start to the second half, is now not to see how many goals England can finish qualifying with but how to cut out the ridiculous mistakes.

England manager Gareth Southgate is delighted with his attacking options
England manager Gareth Southgate is delighted with his attacking options

England coach Gareth Southgate praised the "devastating attacking display" from his team - Sancho might have done enough to take one of the spots in the three-man attack off Marcus Rashford - but was clearly unhappy with the defending, with mistakes leading to all of Kosovo's goal.

"A lot of his development at United was as a wide raider and he isn't as strong as Harry [Kane] with his back to goal and holding play up", this boss said, via The Guardian.

"It is clear for me it will be a very, very hard game but it is a possibility for our very young team to show what is a very, very high level".

It was Sterling himself who had initially got the England's goal-chase underway. It is the first time since 1960 that England has scored five goals in three different matches in a calendar year.

POOR England! They're finding it so easy it's becoming boring.

There were no further goals as the game finished 5-3.

Sterling ended a barren 27-game sequence stretching back three years when he scored twice in England's 3-2 win in Spain nearly a year ago - now he is irreplaceable, a talent reaching full maturity.

Kosovo are the 50th Uefa nation to play England in a soccer match.

And in the seventh minute, much to the relief of fans around St Mary's stadium, in form winger Raheem Sterling headed home to save England's blushes. Rooney had only 14 goals after 40 England caps and Southgate believes Kane, 26, will run him close.

"We're delighted to be coming down to Southampton to play", he added.

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