England Close On A Decade Undefeated

Last updated : 11 September 2019 By Three Lions

Another comfortable Euro 2020 qualifier for England on Saturday saw the Three Lions ease past Bulgaria by four goals to nil, making it 14 in three matches to date.

It also means that England have not tasted defeat in a qualifying game since a dead rubber against Ukraine in October 2009.

That record, as impressive as it is, brings potential problems of its own. Phil McNulty of the BBC wrote on Sunday of the danger that the Three Lions coming up short against quality opposition after being fed a diet of routine qualifiers before sitting down for the main course.

Gone are days, it seems, when you might be paired with an Italy (as in the 1998 World Cup qualifiers) or Germany (four years later) as the rapid expansion of the game in Europe via the myriad new nations expand the quantity of the qualifiers but not the quality.

But there is always an exception of course and Kosovo are proving just that, their victory at home to the Czech Republic on Saturday lifting them to second in the Group A table and setting up what may be England’s most difficult game to date at St Mary’s on Tuesday evening.

The visitors will, however, have to deal with Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling whose partnership stepped up another gear at Wembley on Saturday with a hat-trick for Kane, one for Sterling and an assist from each for the others.

Not quite in the classic mould of strike partners, despite their differing sizes, the Tottenham man and his Manchester City colleague are nonetheless developing an almost telepathic understanding with the Bulgaria game being the 31st time they have been on the field together in an England shirt.