Foden pulls England strings in 5-0 Andorra thrashing

Man City playmaker runs show while Etihad teammate Jack Grealish scores first Three Lions goal

The heat was turned up at Estadi Nacional again on Saturday, a mere 24 hours after the outbreak of a fire in the tiny Andorran national stadium had thrown England and Andorra's World Cup qualifier into doubt.

On this occasion it was Phil Foden whom Andorra found too hot to handle, as the Man City man's passing masterclass saw the Three Lions to a 5-0 victory and all but seal their passage to next year's finals in Qatar.

His Manchester City teammate, Jack Grealish, added the coup de grace, coming on as a second-half substitute to score a mazy fifth - his first goal for England.

He wasn't the first player to score his first England goal during the match, however. That accolade went to Chelsea full-back Ben Chilwell who began the rout in the first half. Bukayo Saka made it 2-0 shortly before the interval.

AS Roma's Tammy Abraham, given a first start for four years, made it 3-0 with a tap-in and James Ward-Prowse then had a 79th-minute penalty saved before converting the rebound.

But the best was saved for last as Grealish dribbled around a tiring Andorra defence before slotting in a low shot.

In another mismatch, similar to England's 4-0 win at Wembley last month, Andorra offered hard graft and defended robustly but were no match for Southgate's much-changed side who eased to their sixth win from seven matches in the group.

England now have 19 points, four more than Albania, who won in Hungary, and five more than Poland. Two wins from their last three games will book their place in Qatar.

It was a night for England's peripheral players to make a mark and several will be happy with their work.

Phil Foden was the architect of much of England's best work while Jadon Sancho impressed.

It was Foden's ball which picked out Sancho in the 17th minute and the Manchester United player then teed up Chilwell to slot past Andorra's keeper Josep Gomes.

The goal was initially ruled out for offside but with all eyes on referee Kateryna Monzul, the first female official to take charge of a senior England international, she overturned the decision after a VAR check.

England had to wait until nearly halftime to double their lead with Foden picking out Saka to finish clinically.

After a messy start to the second half, England got back into their rhythm and Sancho delivered a cross from the left which an unmarked Abraham prodded in.

There was more work for Monzul when Chus Rubio sent Grealish tumbling in the box, the Ukrainian official pointing to the spot. Gomes made a great save but Ward-Prowse made no mistake when the ball popped back out.

Grealish put the icing on the cake of a lively cameo when he was picked out by a long throw out by England keeper Sam Johnstone before bamboozling Andorra's defence and firing a low shot through a crowd.

Updated: October 10th 2021, 4:47 AM
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