England tapped into their goalscoring potential on Friday as they smashed 5 past the Czech Republic, with the brilliant Raheem Sterling scoring a hat-trick.
It’s been a long time coming for Raheem Sterling in an England shirt. The winger has nearly 50 caps to his name at just 24 years of age, but went more than 3 years without a goal for England between October 2015 and October 2018. He ended that drought against Spain, and now he’s nearly doubled his previous tally of 4, by scoring an exceptional hat-trick against Czech Republic, who are very much in a transition period. There were many young faces in the England squad as usual, but most notably the ones of Jadon Sancho and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who both put in good performances.
England XI: Pickford; Walker, Keane, Maguire, Chilwell; Henderson, Dier, Alli; Sancho, Sterling, Kane
England and Sterling’s first goal was a thing of absolute beauty. The goal came through a bit of patient build-up, in which the goalscorer was heavily involved. The ball eventually came to Harry Kane in a deeper position, and his through-ball to Jadon Sancho allowed the winger to get in behind and feed Raheem Sterling in front of goal. It was a beautiful move orchestrated by the starting front 3, further proving how complete Harry Kane’s game is. The 2nd goal was a penalty from Kane, but Sterling was the one who won the foul after he was sandwiched in the box by 2 Czech players trying to stop his run. As usual Kane slotted home the spot-kick with conviction to grab his 21st goal for England.
Once again Sterling was a key part of the 3rd goal which came in the 2nd half, as he caused a boatload of problems for the Czech defence with his runs in behind. After Walker’s initial entry-pass was blocked, the ball fell to Sterling who gracefully turned towards goal and curled the ball into the corner for another aesthetically pleasing goal. By this point it was clear England was running away with the match.
Sterling’s hat-trick goal was a deflected goal, although his initial strike was heading towards goal at a vicious pace. It was well-deserved and rounded out an incredible day for the Manchester City winger and his national team. England added a 5th late-on, as Tomas Kalas quite comically kicked the ball into his own net following a save from his goalkeeper.
Raheem Sterling stole the headlines, but Harry Kane, Ben Chilwell, Harry Maguire, and 18-year-old debutant Callum Hudson-Odoi also put in admirable performances. Declan Rice, the West Ham prospect who recently switched allegiance from Ireland to England, also made his debut on the evening. Hudson Odoi became the 8th youngest player to make an appearance for England.
It was an emphatic win for the Three Lions who are growing in confidence and stature ahead of Euro 2020, where they just may be one of the favourites. Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, and Jadon Sancho form a devastating front 3, and if England can sort out their midfield, they will be a force on the international stage for years to come.