This is England second World Cup 2018 qualification match. The first match was the away match against Slovakia. Adam Lallana’s late goal secured the three points in this first match. A victory at home against Malta would be very welcome for England. Malta isn’t a big country in European football so a big defeat should be possible. This is the first time Gareth Southgate is coaching a match of England’s first team. Read my analysis on England versus Malta.
England versus Malta line-ups
Joe Hart, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Gary Cahill, Ryan Bertrand, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Wayne Rooney, Jesse Lingard, Theo Walcott, Daniel Sturridge.
Andrew Hogg, Steve Borg, Zach Muscat, Andrei Agius, Ryan Camilleri, Alexander Muscat, Bjorn Kristensen, Gareth Sciberras, Paul Fenech, Andre Schembri, Alfred Effiong.
England struggled in the beginning of the match although the opponent isn’t one of the strongest in world football. A big disappointment was Bertrand’s injury early in the game. Danny Rose replaced him in the 19th minute of the mach. Andrew Hogg saved a header by Dele Alli which gave Sturridge a change for open goal. He never realised how big this chance was and fired the ball in the audience. He made up for his miss in the 29th minute by scoring England’s first goal. Dele Alli secured England’s win in the 38th minute with the 2-0. This goal should have give his team some wings to fly towards a big defeat.
Unfortunately they played a very poor first half. Awhile ago I posted an article about England’s biggest problem: The lack of creativity. This match proved my right. The three attackers are really fast, but they would do better against opponents who try to press England down. Lingard, Walcott and Sturrigde are very poor in matches like this, where they play against the opponents penalty box for most of the time. I rather see for example Marcus Rashford in the attacking line. Jordan Henderson was really good in this match, but he isn’t the creative type who puts his colleague 1-on-1 with the keeper 5 times during the match. Wayne Rooney is too slow and lacks creativity on the number 10 position. England really needs a playmaker like David Silva or Juan Mata.