It wasn’t a particularly thrilling game, and the broad consensus seems to be that England should’ve put four or five goals past Malta. But the Three Lions got the job done, and Gareth Southgate began his newest stint as caretaker manager with a crucial win in World Cup Qualifying.
After a few close calls— and one not-so-close call— Daniel Sturridge opened the scoring in the 29th minute with a header placed just beyond the reach of English-born Malta keeper Andrew Hogg. It was Sturridge’s first goal for England at Wembley since May 2014, when he tallied in a 3-0 win over Peru.
Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli scored the gamewinner nine minutes later. England pushed for more goals but Malta’s sturdy defensive set-up managed to stop the bleeding and fend off the home side’s advances.
After the game, Reds skipper Jordan Henderson took home the Man Of The Match Award.
For his part, Hendo said they could’ve done a bit better.
“Yes, we had chances for it to be more. That was one disappointment, not getting any more goals. We got a bit sloppy as the game went on and that's something we really need to work on. But it was good to get the three points and we scored two good goals, so we have to be happy with that.”
England travel to Slovenia on Tuesday to try and make it three wins in a row in their Group F campaign.