England vs Malta LIVE: Euro 2024 result and highlights after Three Lions win at Wembley

England 2-0 Malta: Gareth Southgate’s side are still unbeaten in Group C though they struggled against a stubborn Malta team

Michael Jones
Saturday 18 November 2023 10:34 GMT
Cole Palmer on his first England call-up

England ensured a top seeding at Euro 2024 with a laboured 2-0 home victory against Group C makeweights Malta that will not live long in the memory of an underwhelmed Wembley crowd.

Until the 75th minute all that separated Gareth Southgate’s lacklustre side from 171st-ranked Malta was an early own goal by Enrico Pepe and they endured some anxious moments in between.

Captain Harry Kane finally doubled England’s lead with his 62nd goal for his country after good work by Bukayo Saka before Declan Rice had an effort ruled out for offside.

There was precious little to get enthused about though as several England fringe players wasted the chance to make a statement of intent to Southgate.

England had already qualified for next year’s finals in Germany and victory over Malta ensured they will win Group C, regardless of what happens in North Macedonia on Monday.

Relive the action from the Euro 2024 qualifiers plus get the latest odds and tips right here:


Trent Alexander-Arnold receiving the keys to England’s midfield suggests one thing

Trent Alexander-Arnold stood and surveyed. He saw the run from Marcus Rashford and the pass was a delight; cutting across the ball from right to left, it floated into the space. But what followed was like something out of a cartoon drawn specifically to show what England struggling to beat Malta at home would look like. As Rashford’s run into the box was stopped and Malta cleared, Alexander-Arnold controlled and drove forward in one movement. But it was too much: Alexander-Arnold crashed into Rashford. Wembley groaned. Rashford limped off.

It was that kind of night. The paper aeroplanes quickly overtook England to lead: more had landed on the Wembley pitch than England had managed shots against the side ranked 171st in the world. Sailing down from high up in the stands, those folded pieces of A4 perhaps made for a more entertaining sight than Gareth Southgate’s side as they toiled and strugged and led only to Enrico Pepe’s eighth-minute own goal. That, sufficient to say, was not enough to please the masses.

It took until the 74th minute for England to finally click. Alexander-Arnold surging through a challenge in midfield to play in Kyle Walker. Phil Foden cleverly finding Bukayo Saka with a slided pass, Harry Kane dropping into position to tuck away England’s second and final goal of the night with what was only their second shot on target. Soon enough, Declan Rice curled in a pleasing third, only for VAR to disallow it due to Kane being stood in an offside position. It was more frustration for Kane, who was booked for simulation after he was brought down by the Malta goalkeeper Henry Bonello in a dismal first half.

Trent Alexander-Arnold receiving the keys to England’s midfield suggests one thing

England 2-0 Malta: On a forgettable night at Wembley, one thing stood out

Jamie Braidwood17 November 2023 22:03

More from Southgate

Gareth Southgate speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live: “If you don’t start games well it’s very difficult to pick it up and we didn’t. We know the level we’ve got should be better, can be better.

“Those games that you know you can win at a canter, the number of games these players are playing, it’s almost a self-regulation.

“We didn’t hit the heights that we have done this calendar year.

“So not enough quality on the ball, and not enough chances created but I have been a player and I know exactly how those games feel and clearly it’s possible we could have had three or four with the decisions as well but we didn’t create enough clear chances to deserve that anyway.”

Mike Jones17 November 2023 22:19

Southgate on Alexander-Arnold

“He has got outstanding quality. He and Phil [Foden] were the two in the first half that looked like opening the game up for us.

“Marc Guehi was good at the back and the changes brought more quality. They don’t lose by fives and sixes and obviously, we didn’t create as many chances as we’d like to.”

Mike Jones17 November 2023 22:10

Post match reaction from Gareth Southgate

England manager Gareth Southgate speaking to Channel 4: “It was a game when we didn’t start well and if you don’t start well it’s hard to pick the game up. “e got a goal out of nothing really.

“But the quality on the ball is not normally at that level and it was a game where the players knew they could win at a canter and didn’t extend themselves.

“These players have played so many games and have done so well for us so I am not going to hammer them for it. We weren’t where we [should be] but we got the win.”

Mike Jones17 November 2023 22:06

FT England 2-0 Malta

Harry Kane has been directly involved in 33 goals in 20 appearances for club and country this season.

Bayern: 16 games, 21 goals, 7 assists

England: 4 games, 4 goals, 1 assist

Mike Jones17 November 2023 21:55

FT England 2-0 Malta

Cole Palmer became the 13th Chelsea player to appear for England under Gareth Southgate; the most players from a single team to have featured for the Three Lions under the current manager.

Mike Jones17 November 2023 21:52

Full-time! England 2-0 Malta

90+6 mins: The full-time whistle goes and this dull affair comes to a close. England have won but it’s a hollow victory due to the manner in which they played.

It was far from their most positive or fun performance but the victory is in the bag.

Mike Jones17 November 2023 21:40

England 2-0 Malta

90+3 mins: Cole Palmer, relatively quiet on his debut so far, goes on a fine run down the left wing. He dances into the box and has a go but the effort is blocked out for a corner.

Malta then defend the set piece without too much trouble.

Mike Jones17 November 2023 21:36

England 2-0 Malta

90 mins: No they can’t.

There board is raised on the side of the pitch and there’s going to be six minutes of added time.

Mike Jones17 November 2023 21:34

England 2-0 Malta

87 mins: Trent Alexander-Arnold takes another shot from range and works the goalkeeper into a nice save down low to his right.

A foul over on the left side of the pitch brings England a free kick. Can they work the keeper again?

Mike Jones17 November 2023 21:32

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