By Nilesh Patel
- England revel in 3-0 victory over Scotland
- A dismal day for Scots as loss sits them second from bottom in Group F
- Win maintains England’s first place position
WEMBLEY, ENGLAND – Pressure mounts for Scotland boss Gordon Strachan, as England claim biggest victory over their opponent since 1975.
In the midst of remembrance week and poppy controversy the fixture was certainly a glorious one to remember for Gareth Southgate and his England squad. For Scotland however, Armistice day was one to be forgotten as they suffered a 3-0 defeat to their greatest rivals.
The win moves Southgate closer towards being appointed England’s permanent manager and adds pressure to Scotland boss – Gordon Strachan – who has earned just 4 points so far in the campaign.
England sit on top of the group with ten points, just two points ahead of Slovenia but four ahead of Slovakia following their 4-0 thrashing of Lithuania.
In what was not a fully convincing performance from England, all three goals surprisingly came from headed shots.
Daniel Sturridge was the first to hit the net, courtesy of a driven cross from right-back Kyle Walker. The goal came from pure striker’s instinct which was a delight to England fans as Sturridge had found himself drifting away from the box throughout the first half.
Sturridge’s Liverpool team-mate, and eventual man-of-the-match, Adam Lallana scored the second header five minutes into the second half after a aerial pass from Spurs left-back Danny Rose.
Although England’s decent performance was good enough to beat Scotland, they did produce chances to breach England’s defence. Leigh Griffiths missed the opportunity to put his team mate into a goal scoring position, as well as James Forrest and Robert Snodgrass who missed chances to score before Lallana’s goal.
Nevertheless, it was Lallana’s glancing header which he expertly guided into the far post which put the game beyond Scotland’s reach. The in-form Liverpool star proved he was a man high on confidence as he completed 88% of his 42 passes in all. The 28-year-old was often the maestro behind England’s best attacking play.
For Scotland, as a consequence of their missed opportunities the game was declared over after Gary Cahill’s fierce header at 61mins, from a Wayne Rooney corner. In spite of the undeserved scoreline, the gap in quality between Scotland and their British counterparts was exposed in last night’s fixture.
Scotland’s uncoordinated side never looked like having the quality to overturn England and the lack of quality was exhibited in vital moments. Griffiths’ chance to play in Snodgrass for a one-on-on with Joe Hart, but instead dragging a shot wide was poor decision making in the final third. The disappointment for Scotland will be how despite their great effort and commitment they proved short of quality at Wembley.
The loss may place Strachan’s job at risk, as it is difficult to find an optimistic outlook on their qualification process so far. The aggressive 59-year-old has been the butt of criticism since their draw to Lithuania and 3-0 loss to Slovakia last month and has found himself being asked about his future as Scotland boss.
However, the Scottish FA will have to question whether there is a manager who could produce better results with the talent pool Scotland have at their disposal.
The situation for Southgate looks much rosier, as he is likely to be offered the full-time managerial position. The interim manager deflected any talk of his future role after the game despite being firm favourite for the permanent title. The confirmation of his appointment will likely come irrespective of England’s next friendly against Spain.
England’s last game of 2016 is a friendly versus Spain on 15 November, at 8pm GMT
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