International

Internationals: England debut for Tomori and first goal for Mount

Fikayo Tomori made his England debut and Mason Mount scored his maiden goal at senior international level as the Three Lions beat Kosovo 4-0 in their final European Championship qualifier.

Gareth Southgate’s side confirmed their place at next summer’s tournament, which is being held across the continent, with an emphatic victory over Montenegro on Thursday night. They finished their campaign with a first-ever game in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, with three Chelsea players enjoying a memorable evening. 

Callum Hudson-Odoi was the only Blues player in the starting XI. A serious Achilles injury sustained in April meant Hudson-Odoi had not featured for his country at senior level for eight months, and on his return to the side he played an hour.

His brightest moment came with 30 minutes on the clock, as he embarked on a typically intricate dribble across the box before shooting straight at the hosts’ keeper from 16 yards. Barely 60 seconds later, Harry Winks opened the scoring, bursting into the box and finishing comfortably.

England didn’t find it easy against a country not long recognised by the footballing authorities, who had never lost a competitive game on home soil prior to tonight, but they scored three late goals to make the final scoreline more emphatic.

Before then Hudson-Odoi was replaced by Marcus Rashford, and Mount came on in midfield with 72 minutes gone.

In the closing stages Harry Kane scored his 12th goal in this qualifying campaign and Rashford finished confidently, before Tomori’s landmark moment six minutes from time. He replaced Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back and helped secure a clean sheet.

He follows Hudson-Odoi and Mount in making his Three Lions debut in 2019.

As stoppage time commenced Mount put the gloss on his and England’s evening, taking a pass from Kane in his stride and confidently finding the bottom corner with his left foot. His smile was that of a man enjoying a moment he will never forget.

England finish with seven wins out of eight and a record 37 goals scored. They begin Euro 2020 with a game at Wembley on June 14.

Later on Sunday night, France followed England’s lead and concluded their qualifying campaign with a comfortable win in the Balkans. Les Bleus beat Albania 2-0 with Olivier Giroud playing the full game at the newly-opened Air Albania Stadium in Tirana.

The French goals came in the first half, scored by Corentin Tolisso and Antoine Griezmann, and Giroud can count himself desperately unlucky not to have netted after the break. He was denied once by an incredible Etrit Berisha stop, and later kept out by the inside of the post after curling the ball beyond the Albania keeper.

Kurt Zouma and N’Golo Kante were unused subs for Didier Deschamps’ world champions, who will be hoping to lift more silverware next summer.

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