England 5-0 Albania: Harry Kane’s perfect hat-trick blasts Gareth Southgate’s side towards Qatar

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England 5-0 Albania: Harry Kane’s perfect hat-trick blasts Gareth Southgate’s side towards Qatar
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Harry Kane scored a first-half hat-trick as England roared past 5-0 Albania to effectively seal qualification for next year’s World Cup.

Gareth Southgate’s side were five up at the break, and they now need just a point against San Marino on Monday in their final Group I match.

Kane’s goals took his tally to 39 in competitive matches for his country, past Wayne Rooney who had held the record with 37.

It was a stunning first-half from England, with the match put well beyond doubt in the opening 30 minutes.

Harry Maguire was left unmarked from a free-kick and headed home for the opener, before Kane made it two after similarly slack marking.

Jordan Henderson combined well with the England captain before bursting into the box to make it three inside half an hour, and Kane extended the lead just five minutes later with an emphatic left-footed finish.

It was five for England and a hat-trick for their striker on the verge of half-time, delivered with a brilliant scissor-kick finish as Albania once again proved unable to deal with a ball into the box.

The second-half understandably failed to live up to the excitement of the opening period, with the crowd more entertained by Mexican waves and paper planes.

Emile Smith Rowe came on for his senior England debut, and Jack Grealish and Jude Bellingham had some bright moments off the bench.

But all the damage was done in the first 45 minutes, as Southgate and his team closed in on Qatar 2022.

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