Tammy Abraham scored his first senior goal for England and Olivier Giroud bagged his 39th for France as both nations sealed qualification for next summer’s European Championship finals on Thursday night.
Abraham started on the bench for the Three Lions at Wembley against Montenegro, though there was a return to midfield for Mason Mount as the midfielder won his fifth international cap on the night England marked their 1,000th international fixture.
The home side’s performance matched the occasion as they raced into a 4-0 lead after half an hour, with Harry Kane’s brace sandwiched in between strikes from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Marcus Rashford.
Ben Chilwell claimed a hat-trick of assists after teeing up all three of the opening goals, with Kane heading in two of the Leicester left-back’s set-piece deliveries after Oxlade-Chamberlain had lashed in the breakthrough after just 11 minutes.
Kane completed his treble before the break as England took advantage of some terrible defending from the Montenegrins and the captain was replaced before the hour mark by Abraham, who played his part in the sixth 13 minutes later.
It was the substitute striker’s neat layoff into the path of Rashford that initiated the danger, with the Manchester United forward’s saved effort falling invitingly for Mount. The 20-year-old made half-decent contact with his volley but the ball was flying wide before it ricocheted off a visiting defender and in for an own goal.
Abraham’s moment came six minutes from time as he connected confidently to a centre from Jadon Sancho to register his first senior international goal and his 12th of the season in all competitions.
The 7-0 scoreline is England’s biggest at Wembley for 32 years, confirming their position as group winners and securing their place at Euro 2020 next summer. The final tournament takes place across 12 cities in 12 different countries, with England’s three group games now guaranteed to be played at Wembley. The national stadium will also host the semi-finals and final.
In Paris, Giroud and N’Golo Kante started as Les Bleus came from behind to beat Moldova 2-1 at the Stade de France. The hosts suffered an early blow as they conceded inside 10 minutes but Raphael Varane equalised before the break and Giroud fired in the winner from the penalty spot late on. The French had secured qualification before kick-off following Turkey’s goalless draw against Iceland.
At the Under-17 World Cup in Brazil, Ian Maatsen’s Netherlands lost out on a place in the final by the finest of margins. Our young defender started in midfield, his customary position for the national team at that age group, and successfully converted the first Dutch spot-kick in the shootout following a 1-1 draw in normal time.
However, Mexico battled back to triumph 4-3 on penalties. They will take on either France or Brazil in the final on Sunday.
Earlier in the day, Tariq Lamptey started for England Under-20s as the young Lions recorded an impressive 4-0 victory away in Portugal. The teenager lined up at right-back for Keith Downing’s side, who put in their brightest performance of the season to climb to third in the Elite League standings.
In Under-19 Euro qualification, Thierno Ballo scored one of Austria’s 14 goals without reply in a thrashing of Gibraltar. The game was due to take place 24 years earlier but was postponed due to heavy snowfall in Salzburg. Ballo netted the eighth after coming on as a half-time substitute.
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