England 2-0 Malta: Sturridge and Alli score to ensure victory in Southgate's first game in charge

Goals from Daniel Sturridge and Dele Alli in the first half ensured that Southgate's first game in temporary charge, ended in a comfortable victory for the hosts.

England 2-0 Malta: Sturridge and Alli score to ensure victory in Southgate's first game in charge
Alli celebrates with his teammates after scoring the second goal (Picture source: Shaun Botterill / Getty Images)
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England: Hart, Walker, Cahill, Stones, Bertrand (Rose, min. 19), Alli, Henderson, Walcott (Rashford, min. 68), Rooney, Lingard, Sturridge (Vardy, min. 73).
Malta: Hogg, Sciberras, Agius, Borg, Fenech, Schembri (R.Muscat, min. 86), Camilleri, Kristensen, Effiong (Mifsud, min. 76), Z.Muscat, A.Muscat.
SCORE: 1-0, min. 29, Sturridge. 2-0, min. 38, Alli.
REFEREE: Stefan Johannesson (SWE). Booked: Borg (min. 55)
INCIDENTS: 2018 World Cup Qualifying Group F match between England and Malta, held at Wembley with 81,781 spectators in attendance.

England successfully made it two wins from two in Group F of their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign by comfortably defeating Malta 2-0 at Wembley.

Both goals were scored in the first half of a game that promised so much more from England. Daniel Sturridge netted the opener with a fine header just before the half-hour mark and Dele Alli scored the second at the second attempt after his first shot was saved.

It means that Gareth Southgate oversaw a win in his first game in temporary charge of England, which is what matters at this stage of the campaign. 

Slow start from Southgate's men

In the early stages of the game, the hosts found it difficult to break down a Maltese defence, who were sitting very deep from the start of the match, which meant that the England attackers couldn't get much space.

This was until a good cross from Jordan Henderson into the box found Alli, who saw his goalbound header well saved by Malta goalkeeper Andrew Hogg and then from the follow-up, Sturridge blasted a shot over the bar which he should have done better with.

Sturridge opened the scoring with a great header

The Liverpool striker though didn't let that miss effect him as he gave England the lead a few minutes later. Again it was Henderson who provided the cross for the goal which found Sturridge in the box and the striker placed his header well into the bottom-left hand corner of the goal to give the team a much-needed breakthrough.

Sturridge celebrating opening the scoring at Wembley | Photo:
Sturridge celebrating opening the scoring at Wembley | Photo: Mike Hewitt / Getty Images

The hosts from there started to get into their stride and should have gone two goals up a few minutes later when a good cross from Sturridge found Jesse Lingard in on goal but he saw his header well saved by Hogg.

Alli doubled England's lead before half-time

It didn't matter much though as England did get the second goal that their play deserved as Alli stabbed the ball home at the second attempt. The move saw at least 20 passes leading up the goal which was superb but it was finished off by Alli, who saw his first attempt saved by Hogg.

Southgate's team kept on pressing right up until half-time but couldn't get the third goal, but overall it was a much more pleasing performance for everyone to see in the first half as everything was played at a much higher tempo than in recent games.

Sloppy second half from England

The start of the second half mirrored that of the start of the first as the hosts struggled to create any decent openings in the first part of the half.

This was until a great through ball from Lingard found Theo Walcott one on one with Hogg but the winger saw his attempted chip well saved by the impressive Hogg, who closed the space down well. 

Walcott went close to adding a third for England in the second half | Photo: Shaun Botterill / Getty Images
Walcott went close to adding a third for England in the second half | Photo: Shaun Botterill / Getty Images

Throughout the second half though England didn't really get going as the game started to get really scrappy.

Nothing was shown more just before the end when a good cross from second half substitute Marcus Rashford found Alli at the back post with an empty net at his mercy but he somehow put the ball over the bar.

The game, therefore, ended 2-0 when it promised so much more after a good attacking display at the end of the first half but overall the win is what matters at this stage.

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