Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

World Cup Qualifiers

WCQ: England Stay Top With 2-0 Win Over Lithuania

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 26: Jermain Defoe of England celebrates after scoring to make it 1-0 with Kyle Walker of England during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between England and Lithunania at Wembley Stadium on March 26, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images)

England defeated Lithuania by two goals to nil in a somewhat straight-forward win at Wembley Stadium, Jermaine Defoe and Jamie Vardy bagging the goals.

Defoe’s last outing came against Chile in November 2013 but he vindicated his recall after extending his fine goalscoring form for Sunderland with a 21st-minute strike from Raheem Sterling’s cross.


Substitute Jamie Vardy added a second as England extended their lead at the top of Group F to five points with the other four teams in action later this evening.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Gareth Southgate will welcome the positive result which keeps England firmly on track for Russia but England laboured for long periods against well-organised and stubborn opponents.


Vardy’s 66th-minute effort eventually gave England some welcome breathing space and Southgate can now look forward to a June double-header – a qualifier against Scotland followed by a friendly in France – from a position of strength.

Once underway, the pattern was set early on as Lithuania, ranked 107th in the world by FIFA, sat deep and defended in numbers, putting the emphasis on England to break them down – a task they regularly face in qualification mismatches such as this.

Southgate reverted to a 4-2-3-1 system having experimented with 3-4-2-1 in Wednesday’s 1-0 friendly defeat against Germany with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replacing Jake Livermore in central midfield, Sterling recalled and John Stones partnering Michael Keane at centre-back.

Embed from Getty Images


England were a little slow into their stride but came alive after 20 minutes. Adam Lallana produced a clever reverse pass to release Sterling in the inside-right channel but Lithuania goalkeeper Ernestas Setkus rushed off his line to make a smart save.

England would not be denied for long. A minute later, Sterling popped up on the opposite flank, bursting into the box before producing a low cross which Defoe met first-time, sidefooting coolly past Setkus.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Lithuania offered almost nothing as an attacking force – Fiodor Cernych dragged a shot tamely wide in a rare foray forward – and Defoe almost doubled England’s lead shortly before the half-hour mark when a trademark snapshot from the edge of the box arrowed just wide of Setkus’ right-hand post.


England’s dominance was so absolute it came as a shock the visitors almost equalized on the stroke of half-time. Nerijus Valskis – clearly offside but not flagged – beat England captain Joe Hart to a long header forward but Stones was able to clear the ball away to safety as it trickled towards the net.

Valskis went close again shortly after the restart as Hart was forced into a save low to his right.

Aside from Oxlade-Chamberlain taking a moment out from an error-strewn display to test Setkus from long range, England looked sluggish and Southgate attempted to freshen things up with a double substitution on the hour: Marcus Rashford and Jamie Vardy for Defoe and Sterling.

Vardy took seven minutes to make his presence felt. Kyle Walker fired a pass into Lallana on the edge of the box and the Liverpool midfielder cutely turned it into Vardy’s path with a deft touch. The finish was clinical and composed.


Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

He was unable to replicate those qualities when sent clear late on by Rashford’s clever through ball, capping a lively cameo from the Manchester United youngster, but England had long since completed the job adequately enough.

Keep it right here on The Stoppage Time, powered by Azteca Soccer, for more football news. Stay connected on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, LinkedIn and subscribe to our YouTube page.


More Footy You May Also Like

World Cup

Belgium beat England by two goals to nil in the battle for third place in St Petersburg on Saturday. Gareth Southgate’s team were unable...

World Cup

An extra-time goal from Mario Mandzukic gave Croatia a 2-1 win over England to take them to the 2018 World Cup final against France...

World Cup

Goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli got England a 2-0 win against Sweden in the World Cup Quarter-final. Gareth Southgate’s men deserved the...

World Cup

England beat Colombia 4-3 on penalties after an intense, physical 1-1 draw. Eric Dier was the hero after Jordan Pickford made a showstopping save...

World Cup

England will face Colombia in Moscow in the World Cup’s last 16 after Adnan Januzaj’s spectacular strike ensured Belgium finished top of Group G...

World Cup

Thursday night saw England finish second in Group G after losing 1-0 to group winners Belgium. I take a look at what this means...

World Cup

England thrashed Panama 6-1, setting up a great finale to the group when they face Belgium on Thursday. Harry Kane scored a hat-trick and...