TA’ QALI, June 17 (AP): Harry Kane scored a record-extending 56th goal for England as they routed Malta 4-0 in European Championship qualifying on Friday.
The striker became England’s outright leading scorer in March when he surpassed Wayne Rooney’s total of 53, struck his 50th in competitive games and Gareth Southgate’s team maintained its 100% start to Euro 2024 qualifying.
Kane scored from the penalty spot in the 31st minute to give England a 3-0 halftime lead at Ta’ Qali National Stadium after Ferdinando Apap’s own goal and a stunning strike from Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Callum Wilson slotted the second penalty of the game to round off the scoring.
England has won its opening three games in Group C, which also contains defending European champion Italy.
England was always expected to win comfortably against a team ranked 172nd in the world and was on course for victory from as early as the eighth minute when Ferdinando Apap put the ball into his own net with Kane threatening.
Alexander-Arnold doubled the lead with a strike worthy of the No. 10 he wore on his back after being tried out in a midfield role.
Southgate had said he would deploy the defender in a more advanced position in the absence of Jude Bellingham, who has just completed a move to Real Madrid. Alexander-Arnold collected the ball 25 yards out and whipped a shot beyond Malta goalkeeper Henry Bonello. It was his first competitive goal for his country.
“It’s somewhere I can see myself playing,” Alexander-Arnold said. “I want to make sure I am regularly on the team sheet and today was a good foundation to build on.”
Kane was brought down by Matthew Guillaumier in the box and coolly converted the spot kick.
Another penalty was awarded late after Wilson’s cross struck Steve Borg, and the substitute striker converted.