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England vs Albania Review: Harry Kane scores hat-trick as England smash Albania 5-0 at Wembley to put one foot into the 2022 Qatar World Cup

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Credit: @England Instagram

England completed a comfortable victory over Albania at Wembley on Friday evening – Southgate’s side need just a draw against San Marino to book a place in next years World Cup.

The Three Lions have all but secured their place in next years World Cup, needing just a point from their last qualifier against San Marino on Monday to secure their place in Qatar.

England opened the scoring within the opening 10 minutes courtesy of a Harry Maguire header from an inviting Reece James free-kick – a simple finish.

However, the Manchester United defender has since come under fire due to his controversial celebration which saw the centre-back hold both hands up to his ears in an attempt to “block out the haters.” 

Something that didn’t go down well with pundit Roy Keane at half-time. 

Credit: @England Instagram

Despite a few moments of sloppiness at the back from England, the goals came in regular intervals with Kane heading in from close range thanks to Jordan Henderson’s inch perfect cross to put the Three Lions two goals in-front. 

Minutes before Albania had a guilt-edged opportunity to level the scoring after Kyle Walker failed to put enough on a back-pass to Jordan Pickford, but striker Uzuni put his shot straight at the England goalkeeper.

Liverpool midfielder Henderson then turned goal-scorer after his mazy run and well-placed finished made it 3-0 in the 28th minute – Albania now looked ragged. 

Soon after Kane netted his second of the match as Sterling surged through the middle of the park before slotting the Spurs striker through on the left. With his growing confidence England’s number 9 impressively curled his shot into the top corner from inside the box on a tight angle.

The pick of the bunch came as Kane completed his hat-trick and made it 5-0 inside the first half. The corner from Phil Foden found its way to the back post where captain Kane was lurking to smash an emphatic scissor volley into the Albania net. 

Southgate made three substitutions early in the second half giving man-of-the-match Harry Kane, Man City star Phil Foden and midfield general Kalvin Phillips an early night. Unsurprisingly the second 45 didn’t live up to the excitement of the first as England continued to press for goals. 

Debutant Emile Smith Rowe was introduced late in the game, alongside exciting talent Jude Bellingham who created a number of chances for the team in white. Jack Grealish also entered the fray. 

All in all a pleasing evening for Southgate who showed tactical flexibility switching to an unexpected three at the back. 

England face the lowest ranked international team San Marino away on Monday knowing a point will secure their place in the 2022 Qatar World Cup which is set to start on 21st November next year.

Elsewhere in the qualifiers

Group A – Republic of Ireland frustrate Ronaldo’s Portugal.

Following their unexpected 0-0 draw in Ireland on Thursday evening, Portugal face a winner-takes-all game against Serbia on Sunday with both sides knowing a win would secure a place at the 2022 World Cup.

Ireland had the better chances throughout the game and were unlucky not to secure an impressive victory over Fernando Santos’ side as veteran defend Pepe saw red in the closing stages.

Serbia go into the must-win battle on Sunday with increased confidence after remaining unbeaten up until the final round of fixtures. Striker Aleksandar Mitrovic is in inspired form, netting 20 times in his opening 17 Championship games. 

All eyes will be on this one.

Group E – Gareth Bale is hoping Wales can keep their qualification hopes alive with a win against bottom of the group Belarus.

Wales face Belarus this evening, five points behind group leaders Belgium who play Estonia, also at 19:45pm. 

Credit: Gareth Bale Instagram

The Red Devils can secure their qualification with a win but Ryan Giggs’ side need three points just to keep their World Cup hopes alive.

Czech Republic remain second in the group on goal difference but have played a game more than the sides around them – anything can happen going into the final week of fixtures.

Group F – Scotland secure World Cup play-off after impressive 2-0 win in Moldova

Scotland booked themselves a play-off place on Friday evening with a game to spare. Che Adams netted on 65 minutes to seal the win in their penultimate game, after Nathan Patterson gave the away side the lead just before half-time.

Credit: Scotland Football Instagram

Steve Clarke’s side can’t be caught in second place but are also unable to go above Group winners Denmark who sit seven points clear. 

However, the Scots know that a win over the Danes in their final game at Hampden Park will mean they are seeded going into the play-offs. 

What are your thoughts?

Is Harry Kane back in form? Will Wales get an unlikely play-off place? Do Scotland have enough to be seeded? Who are you backing – Serbia or Portugal?

Join in the conversation on social media and have your say…

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Meet the British Woman Hoping to End F1’s 46-year Wait For a Female Driver

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The modern sports industry remains a very male dominated field. Historically motorsport especially being one of the most inaccessible to women.

In its entire 72-year history, only two women have ever driven in a Formula 1 grand prix. The last was the pioneer Lella Lombardi, the Italian who competed in 12 races between 1974 and 1976 for teams including Williams.

Now, Britain’s Jamie Chadwick is aiming to end the 46-year wait for a woman to sit behind the wheel of a car on the starting grid at the very top level of racing.

The 23-year-old from Bath, is the most prominent woman in world the world of motorsport thanks to the strong results she has earned in the early stages of her career across multiple categories.

Chadwick is about to embark on her third season in W Series, an all-female racing championship launched in 2019 which aims to ensure more women are able to make professional careers out of motor racing.

The aim means that, in conjunction with the heated rivalry that understandably comes with battling for the championship on track, the athletes competing in W Series feel they share a common goal to help one another improve and make overall progress for women in motorsport too. Chadwick has won the title in both of W Series’ first two campaigns.

Speaking to Metro she said:  ‘Everyone expects us not to get on [because we are rivals] but we really, genuinely do. The big reason in my opinion is that we’ve all been through such a similar experience in the sport individually. We can share those experiences with each other and push each other to bring one another on, and hopefully leave the sport in a better place for the next generation coming through.’

Do you think she stands a chance of making it?

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Newcastle co-owner says Chelsea’s Abramovich having to sell isn’t fair

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Credit: Chelsea FC Instagram

Newcastle co-owner Amanda Staveley “doesnt think its particularly fair” that Roman Abramovich is selling following the Russia-Ukraine war.

The businessman announced he had made the “incredibly difficult decision” in a statement on the Premier League club’s website.

There has been calls for Abramovich to be sanctioned, as Chris Bryant alleges leaked Home Office document from 2019 shows he had links to Russian state as well as to “corrupt activity and practices” – the Guardian reports.

Speaking at the Financial Times Business of Football Summit, Staveley said: “We’re always going to have geopolitical issues.

I’m really sad that someone is going to have a football club taken away because of a relationship he may have with someone.

“I don’t think that’s particularly fair to be honest. But I also think that we have to hold all of our relationships to account.”

In his statement, Abramovich said: “I have always taken decisions with the club’s best interest at heart.

“In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the club, as I believe this is in the best interest of the club, the fans, the employees, as well as the club’s sponsors and partners.

“The sale of the club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process.”

Abramovich has said that he won’t be asking for loans to be repaid.

He added: “I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated. The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine.”

The businessman bought Chelsea back in 2003 for £140m, and has since loaned the club over £1.5bn.

Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss has told Swiss newspaper Blick that he has the chance to buy Chelsea.

However he says that at the moment Abramovich is “asking far too much.”

What are your thoughts?

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Russia’s captain Aleksandr Golovin speaks out on Russian invasion

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Credit: Aleksandr Golovin Instagram

Russia’s football captain Aleksandr Golovin has spoke out about the Russia-Ukraine war.

In a post uploaded to Instagram on Wednesday, the footballer said he hadn’t before now because he wasn’t an expert in politics.

However, he said he would now express his opinion, because he has been drawn to this topic from “all sides.”

It follows furious backlash from Ukrainian players Vitalii Mykolenko and Andriy Yarmolenko about Russian players staying quiet about the invasion of Ukraine.

The captain wrote: “War is a frightful thing. But I am shocked by human aggression and hatred, which every day acquires some sort of unprecedented scale.

“I am against discrimination based on nationality. I’m not ashamed that I’m Russian. I am proud to be Russian. And I don’t understand why athletes should suffer now.”

He continued he was “against double standards.”

Golovin added: “Why is it that one can do everything, but all the dogs are hanged on us. Why has everyone always shouted about sports outside of politics, but at the first opportunity, when it comes to Russia, this principle is completely forgotten?”

He expressed that “anger, dirt and bile” is being poured on Russian people, “regardless of their position and profession.”

The Zenit St Petersburg forward concluded: “P.S. And to some colleagues in the workshop who sit on their ass in mansions in England and say nasty things: it cannot offend us, we understand everything! Peace and goodness to everybody!”

On Tuesday in an Instagram post, Everton’s Mykolenko criticised Russia’s international players for remaining silent whilst “peaceful civilians are being killed in Ukraine.”

The 22-year-old wrote: “You will be locked in your dungeon for the rest of your life and most importantly the lives of your kids. And I’m glad.”

West Ham’s Yarmolenko also hit out at Russian players on Tuesday.

In a video uploaded to Instagram, he said: “Guys, why are you sitting like shitheads and not saying anything? In my country they’re killing people, killing wives, killing our children. But you’re saying nothing, you’ve given no comments.”

Russia has been suspended from all competition, Fifa and Uefa have ruled.

 

 

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