Report: England 2-0 Malta
- E. Pepe (8′OG)
- H. Kane (75′)
- F. Tomori (26′)
- H. Kane (28′)
- P. Mbong (23′)
- M. Guillaumier (39′)
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Highlights: England 2-0 Malta
See the best of the action from Wembley as England see off Malta in their final home game of 2023
England v Malta
UEFA European Qualifier
7.45pm GMT, Friday 17 November 2023
Live on Channel 4
Wembley Stadium connected by EE
Malta in profile
Nickname: The Falcons
Coach: Michele Marcolini
Captain: Steve Borg
Match Facts and Stats
● England have won all six of their matches against Malta, scoring 18 goals and conceding just once, with that coming via an own goal by goalkeeper Richard Wright in a 2-1 win in June 2000.
● Malta’s two away games against England have ended in a 5-0 defeat in a European Championship qualifier in 1971 and 2-0 loss in a World Cup qualifier in 2016, which was Gareth Southgate’s first match as England manager.
● England are unbeaten in their last 36 home European Championship/World Cup qualifying matches (W32 D4), since a 3-2 loss to Croatia in November 2007. The Three Lions have scored 120 goals across these matches, an average of 3.3 per game.
● Malta have never won an away European Championship qualifying match in 59 attempts (D5 L54), losing their last eleven away qualifiers in a row.
● England conceded first but came back to win 3-1 against Italy in their last international match. The Three Lions have won six of their nine games under Gareth Southgate when conceding the first goal at Wembley (D2 L1).
● Malta have lost all seven of their qualifiers for EURO 2024. Not since EURO 2000 have they lost 100 per cent of their games in a complete qualifying campaign (World Cup and European Championship combined).
● Harry Kane has been directly involved in 33 goals in his last 30 appearances for England (27 goals and six assists), including either scoring or assisting in each of his last ten games for the Three Lions.
● In a run stretching back to October 2019, Marcus Rashford has scored eight goals in his last nine starts for England in all competitions, including the eventual winner against Italy last time out.
● England have posted the highest shot conversion rate in this EURO qualifying campaign (25.3%) netting 19 of their 75 attempts on goal, while only Portugal (32 goals in 8 games) and Switzerland (20 goals in 7 games) have scored more goals than the Three Lions.
● England will be looking to win their opening four home EURO qualifiers for a third consecutive qualifying campaign (also doing so for the 2016 & 2020 tournaments).
● England remain unbeaten in 2023 across all competitions, winning seven of their eight games (D1), scoring 23 goals and conceding just four.
● The Three Lions haven’t lost any of their last 19 games at Wembley stadium across all competitions (W15 D4), since a 0-1 loss to Denmark in the UEFA Nations League.
● Four of England’s nine goalless draws under Southgate have come on a Friday (44%), with their most recent 0-0 draw coming against USA at last year’s World Cup on a Friday. Indeed, the Three Lions have kept eleven clean sheets in their 13 Friday encounters under Southgate, keeping a shutout in each of their last three such games.
● England haven’t lost a home game in the month of November since a 0-1 loss to Germany in a friendly back in 2013, going unbeaten in each of their last 12 such games, and winning each of the last six by an aggregate scoreline of 24-1.
The Three Lions squad is missing a number of players, but the double-header still provides Southgate’s men with the chance to finish their qualification campaign with a flourish.
“You always have to adapt and ten days ago, we’d maybe have written two possible teams for the two games but you never really know what’s going to come your way,” admitted Southgate.
“We have lost more players than is normal and there’s some long-term injuries amidst that, which is a big shame for the players themselves, but then there’s always opportunities for the players coming in.
“In terms of the selection of the team we’re looking at things like what is the right balance with the different qualities of the players that we’ve put together so we have the best possible attacking output but also structure and balance behind that.”
England have enjoyed big wins over both Malta and North Macedonia in the reverse fixtures of the group, and despite having secured qualification after their win over Italy last month, Southgate has emphasised to his players how important it is to pick up two more victories.
“We need to win games, not only to make sure that we’re one of the top seeds next summer but also with England, you always have to win matches,” he said.
“The bigger message is around our standards every day on the training pitch. We aim to be a top team, and we have been consistent for a period of time now and that stems from everything you do and the things that nobody else sees.
“You’ve got to have good habits every day and there’s never a day off from that. If you’re a top player, you’ve got to have those standards about you all the time, not just while you’re training but when you’re away from training as well.
“You’ve got to maximise the opportunity that you’ve got because it’s a short career so you’ve got to be a good professional and our senior players in particular set a great example.
“We also have lots of young players who have great habits.”
Joining Southgate for the pre-match press conference in north London was Trent Alexander-Arnold, who scored against Malta last time the nations met during an impressive midfield performance.
And the Liverpool man is hoping to play in that role for his country more often as attention starts to turn to next summer’s EURO 2024 Finals in Germany.
“He’s [Southgate] always said that there’s opportunities in there for me, but it’s up to me to take them,” he said.
“That’s all I can ask for and all any player really wants so.
“We sit down with the manager and Steve [Holland], we watch games back and watch clips and see how we can get the best from me and what’s best to do to get the best from me to help the team win games.
“That’s all any player ever really wants – to help the team win games. I try to do that to the best of my ability and I just want to get on the ball and do that.”
He’s more renowned for his role as an attacking right-back at Anfield but for England, the midfield role is something he’s played in going back to his days with the development teams on the international stage.
“It’s something I think about often and it’s something that motivates me,” he said.
“When I’m here, when I’m not here, it’s something that I think about - how I can try and get into the team next summer and how I can take the opportunities I’ve been given and be a part of the plans for the summer and a big part of those plans specifically.
“It’s a target I’ve set for myself and with the help of the manager and the staff, the analysts and the guys that help players, I’ve been trying to learn as much as possible and it’s something that I think I can go and do.”
Last time out: Malta 0-4 England
A look back at our most recent encounter with Malta, during the 2018 World Cup qualification campaign
Head to head
The Three Lions have met Malta on five previous occasions over the years, with England enjoying a 100 per cent win ratio against the Red Falcons.
Our first game came back in February 1971, when it ended in a 1-0 draw in Gzira courtesy of a first-half goal from Martin Peters.
Malta were also the first opposition for current England boss Gareth Southgate, as he took charge as interim manager for our game at Wembley in October 2016.
You can see details of our last three games below:-
Malta 0-4 England, 1 September 2017, Ta'Qali National Stadium
England 2-0 Malta, 8 October 2016, Wembley Stadium
Malta 1-2 England, 3 June 2000, Ta'Qali National Stadium
From the archive: Malta 1-2 England
A look in the archives from 2000, when the Three Lions travelled to face Malta in a EURO 2002 qualifier
England Squad News
How to watch or stream
This game will be shown live on Channel 4 in the UK.
England earned a 2-0 win against Malta to sign off their final home game of 2023 with a win.
Enrico Pepe’s early own goal was the difference between the sides until late in the second half when Harry Kane sealed all three points.
The victory maintains the Three Lions’ healthy lead at the top of Group C in UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying, having already previously booked their place in Germany next summer, ahead of Tuesday’s final fixture against North Macedonia.
It was Malta who made the brighter start in London, with Teddy Teuma firing just wide of Jordan Pickford’s post inside 30 seconds.
But England soon gained control of the contest and made the breakthrough after eight minutes.
Phil Foden broke in behind the Maltese defence before his cross was turned into his own net by the retreating Pepe.
That early setback did not stymie the visitors’ ambition, however, and Paul Mbong was next to have a sight of goal, but the striker could only fire wide after intercepting a misplaced pass inside the England half.
The Three Lions then thought they had a chance to double their lead from the penalty spot after Kane went down under a challenge from goalkeeper Henry Bonello after the England captain intercepted the stopper’s pass inside the box.
But referee Luis Godinho pointed the other way, with Kane instead booked for simulation.
England continued to dominate possession but struggled to find a way through a resolute rearguard action from Malta.
It was not until almost the hour mark that the Three Lions began to create clear-cut chances. Marcus Rashford saw his cross blocked after getting in behind before substitute Bukayo Saka’s shot was deflected behind after a neat one-two with Trent Alexander-Arnold prised open the Malta defence.
Rashford then found space in behind again just a minute later but was crowded out before releasing a shot, and Alexander-Arnold saw a volley easily fielded by Borello.
England continued to knock on the door, Alexander-Arnold saw a free-kick curl over the bar after debutant Cole Palmer was felled on the edge of the box.
The second goal finally came 15 minutes from time as Kane finished off a flowing move down the right, which saw Kyle Walker, Foden and Saka all combine.
The Three Lions thought they had a third less than a minute later as Declan Rice curled home from outside the box only for a VAR check to chalk the effort off for offside.
Malta continued to threaten on the break but Yannick Yankam could only find the side netting as the time ticked away at Wembley.
But England were able to see out the contest and seal an unbeaten calendar year at home.
England (4-3-3): 1 Jordan Pickford (Everton), 2 Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United), 3 Fikayo Tomori (AC Milan), 4 Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), 5 Marc Guéhi (Crystal Palace), 6 Harry Maguire (Manchester United), 7 Phil Foden (Manchester City), 8 Jordan Henderson (Al-Ettifaq), 9 Harry Kane (Bayern Munich), 10 Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), 11 Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)
Substitutes: 12 Kyle Walker (Manchester City) for Gallagher 46, 17 Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) for Tomori 46, 18 Declan Rice (Arsenal) for Henderson 61, 21 Cole Palmer (Chelsea) for Rashford 61
Substitute not used: 13 Sam Johnstone (Crystal Palace), 14 Ezri Konsa (Aston Villa), 15 Jack Grealish (Manchester City), 16 Rico Lewis (Manchester City), 19 Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa), 20 Jarrod Bowen (West Ham United), 22 Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal), 23 Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City)
Goals: Pepe own goal 8, Harry Kane 75
Yellow Cards: Fikayo Tomori 26, Harry Kane 28
Head coach: Gareth Southgate
Malta (5-3-2): 1 Henry Bonello, 3 Ryan Camenzuli, 4 Steve Borg, 6 Matthew Guillaumier, 7 Joseph Mbong, 9 Paul Mbong, 10 Teddy Teuma, 13 Enrico Pepe, 14 Kemar Reid, 20 Yannick Yankam, 21 Jean Borg
Substitutes: 19 Bjorn Kristensen for Guillaumier 59, 11 Jodi Jones for P Mbong 59, 17 Kyrian Nwoko for Reid 79, 22 Zach Muscat for J Borg 79, 2 Cain Attard for J Mbong 86
Substitute not used: 5 Kurt Shaw, 8 Stephen Pisani, 12 Matthew Grech, 15 Adam Overend, 16 Rashed Al-Tumi, 18 Nikolai Muscat, 23 Ferdinando Apap
Yellow Cards: Paul Mbong 23, Matthew Guillaumier 39
Head coach: Michele Marcolini
Referee: Luis Godinho