Perfect 10 for England in Euro 2016 qualifying
England eased into the European Championship after its qualification campaign ended with yet another win.
A 3-0 victory away to Lithuania on Monday saw Roy Hodgson’s side finish with the best record in qualifying following 10 straight wins.
Having secured a place in France with two matches to spare, Hodgson is under no illusions over the sterner tests his side will face at the championship.
”We know going to France we’re going to come across better opposition, stronger opposition, teams which are more capable of causing us problems than we’ve found in the last couple of games,” remarked the England manager.
The match got underway amid an air of caution after riot police were called in to halt skirmishes between rival fans behind one of the goals before kickoff.
It took until the half-hour mark before England got its opener following a series of saves from goalkeeper Giedrius Arlauskis. Ross Barkley eventually made the breakthrough after stepping inside his marker and curling a right-footed shot beyond Arlauskis and in off the post.
Arlauskis, who was excellent throughout, was unfortunate to be credited with England’s second. After a neat reverse flick from Adam Lallana found Harry Kane, the Tottenham striker hammered a shot at goal which cannoned off the keeper and into the net in the 35th.
Kane should have netted his second after the interval, but following another excellent stop from Arlauskis, he sent his follow up into the ground allowing it to bounce up and cleared.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain added a third in the 62nd lashing into the roof of the net after being played through by Kyle Walker.
”To get ten wins out of ten is never easy in these qualifying groups so we’ve got to be satisfied with it and take a bit of pride in it,” Hodgson added.
Elsewhere, second-placed Switzerland beat Estonia 1-0 after an own goal from defender Ragnar Klavan in fourth minute of second-half stoppage time.
The already-qualified Swiss finished on 21 points, nine adrift of England but five ahead of third-placed Slovenia.
Slovenia will face a playoff after ending its campaign with a 2-0 away win to San Marino. Second-half goals from Botjan Cesar and substitute Nejc Pecnik sealed the win.
Estonia and Lithuania finished in fourth and fifth, respectively having collected 10 points.
Bottom-placed San Marino lost nine of their ten matches, with its sole point following a goalless draw at home to Estonia.