News Matches

England v Bulgaria Live Commentary, 07/09/2019

4 - 0
H. Kane (24)
H. Kane (49 pen)
R. Sterling (55)
H. Kane (73 pen)
Wembley Stadium


That's all from England's 4-0 victory over Bulgaria. Thank you for staying with us and, until next time, goodbye!
The win means England return to the top of Group A after temporarily losing top spot to Kosovo, following their win over the Czech Republic earlier today. These two sides meet on Tuesday at St Mary's Stadium and Kosovo might prove to be the Three Lions' toughest test of the campaign. For Bulgaria, it's a friendly against Ireland on Tuesday, resuming their qualification campaign in October.
Well England left a lot to be desired, but they were ultimately comfortable throughout and end up winning 4-0. They led by one at the break through Kane and the England captain added another two goals from the spot in the second half. He also provided the assist for Sterling's goal to cap a wonderful performance from the striker. Bulgaria didn't exactly roll over - despite the scoreline - and had chances to test Pickford in the first half, but the gulf in quality between the two sides was just too pronounced.
D. Rose
Yellow Card
90' + 2' Rose goes into the book very late on for a needless slide tackle on Nedyalkov. He gets the ball, but it's a strong challenge and the referee deems it sufficient for a yellow card.
90' + 1' We're into two minutes of added time at the end of the second half.
89' Bulgaria haven’t qualified for the European Championships since 2004, where they finished bottom of Group C without winning a game. Following this defeat today, their hopes of reaching Euro 2020 are all but over.
88' ILIEV SAVES! Rashford gets into the box after a one-two with Barkley and tries to dink it over the keeper from around seven yards out, but Iliev makes a great save!
85' Play is stopped as Sarmov is down for a breather. He blocks a powerful Rashford shot with a rather sensitive area and needs a minute to recover. He has to leave the pitch, but he returns shortly after.
84' This is lovely from England, with Rose and Oxlade-Chamberlain combining beautifully on the left-hand side of the box. Rose manages to beat his markers and get a shot away too, but it's blocked.
D. Mladenov
G. Ivanov
82' Bulgaria make their final change, bringing off Ivanov for Mladenov, the 32-year-old making his international debut!
81' England now with a chance to break, and Barkley tries to find Rashford with the final pass, but he doesn't execute it well and Iliev can collect.
79' Mount picks up the ball outside the box and passes into Sancho. The Dortmund winger tries to slip Mount back in, but he doesn't continue his run and the ball rolls out of play for a goal-kick. They aren't quite on the same wavelength.
A. Oxlade-Chamberlain
H. Kane
77' Kane departs after another excellent performance, and Oxlade-Chamberlain comes on, making his first England appearance for 18 months.
76' Popov lines up a free-kick from a decent position just to the right of the penalty area, and he forces a good save from Pickford! He has to get across quickly and manages to tip it over the bar.
75' Although he hasn't been given long to make his mark on the game, all eyes will be on Sancho. He's arguably one of the best young talents in the world and he's impressed again so far this season, scoring three and assisting four goals in five games for Borussia Dortmund in 2019-20.
H. Kane
Penalty Goal
73' GOOAAL! IT'S 4-0! Kane completes his hat-trick - his second for England - with another thunderous penalty, this time into the left side of the goal.
73' PENALTY GIVEN! England win another penalty, this time Dimitrov catching Kane's feet from behind. Dimitrov was only just brought on for the man that gave away the first penalty!
J. Sancho
R. Sterling
71' Southgate makes another change, bringing off goalscorer Sterling for Sancho, another exciting young Englishman.
70' Bulgaria launch a counter, Wanderson slipping in Nedyalkov, but Maguire gets across to cover and ends up winning a throw for England.
69' Mount offers his first contribution to proceedings, trying to test Iliev with a shot from distance, but it's way off target.
68' Mount has been one the Premier League's most impressive players so far this season. He's got two goals in four games and there's a lot of excitement about his England debut.
K. Despodov
67' Marcelinho is the next Bulgarian to come off, replaced by Despodov.
M. Mount
J. Henderson
67' Southgate makes his first change and takes off Henderson for Mount, who makes a highly-anticipated international debut.
K. Dimitrov
N. Bodurov
65' Bodurov, who gave away the penalty, comes off for Dimitrov, another centre-back.
64' Bulgaria have everyone back behind the ball except striker Marcelinho and - despite Sterling and Rashford occupying wide positions - the defence stay narrow and deny England any space.
62' England have a chance to counter through Henderson. He sends the ball onto Sterling, but the winger turns back and recycles possession to switch the point of attack.
61' Henderson looks to combine with Sterling on the right, but Malinov intercepts and clears the danger to provide some welcome respite from the England pressure.
59' The temptation now, though, is that England relax and lose some focus. They need to keep their foot on the gas and stay alert at the back. Now they're three goals to the good, perhaps this is the time for Southgate to introduce some substitutes.
57' This is Sterling's fifth goal in three qualifiers so far in this campaign. After two goals in the first six years following his October 2012 international debut, the Manchester City forward has finally found the golden touch with his country. He's now got seven goals since October 2018.
H. Kane
55' Kane isn't just a goalscorer! He starts the move by winning the ball back and ends up getting the assist after a neat give-and-go with Rashford.
R. Sterling
55' GOAAAL! IT'S 3-0! Kane wins possession high up the pitch and lays it off to Rashford. He passes back to Kane, who crosses into the six-yard box and Sterling throws himself towards the ball and turns it in.
54' Sterling now tries to take on Nedyalkov one-on-one, but the Bulgarian does well and makes a clean tackle to get the ball away and launch a counter.
53' Rashford finds Barkley on the left of the box, and he creates some space with some close-quarters footwork, but he doesn't find a team-mate and Bulgaria clear.
51' Kane now has five goals in his last six games for England. He scored six in the previous 10 before that, dating back to the 2018 World Cup, where he won the Golden Boot.
H. Kane
Penalty Goal
49' GOAL! ENGLAND LEAD 2-0! Kane sends Iliev the wrong way and smashes his penalty into the top-right corner. He's lethal from the spot and converts another one today.
49' PENALTY GIVEN! England break immediately after that Pickford save and centre-back Bodurov is sent the wrong way by a tidy Rashford turn. He lunges in and catches the winger, so the referee points to the spot!
48' PICKFORD SAVES! England have started this half very slowly and Pickford is called into action to deny Wanderson at his near post from very close range. The winger is sent through by Marcelinho and another good chance goes begging for Bulgaria!
47' Wanderson releases Nedyalkov down the left, and the wing-back gets his cross away, but Maguire clears.
46' KICK-OFF! Bulgaria restart the action, looking to overturn a 1-0 deficit.
Will we see any changes at the break or soon after? The problems are in midfield, with Barkley required to shoulder most of the creative burden in the middle third. England are crying out for one of Mount or Maddison to cause some havoc. Sancho, too, will be keen to come on after watching a quiet half from Rashford.
This game feels all too familiar. Bulgaria sitting deep and focussing on defence, and England struggling to find a way through. However, The Three Lions lead, Sterling pouncing on a defensive error from Iliev to set up Kane in the 24th minute, but they need to raise their game. Bulgaria have missed two solid chances to score themselves and there could be more to come unless England sort themselves out.
44' CHANCE! Kane can make it two from Trippier's deep cross, but he heads it straight into Iliev. He does well to make space for himself, but doesn't get the right contact on the ball.
42' Did you know that Bulgaria last won a European Championship qualifier in October 2015? It was a 2-0 victory over Azerbaijan. They're behind at Wembley, but have spurned two good opportunities to equalise. Will they come to rue them?
40' Here's Rice now driving forwards from midfield, but he runs out of space and is forced to turn back.
38' This is nice from England. Rashford, Barkley and Rose all combine on the edge of the box, and it leads to a crossing opportunity for Rose, but he fails to pick out a team-mate.
N. Bodurov
Yellow Card
36' Bodurov is shown a yellow card for dragging Rashford back by the shirt on the halfway line. It's cynical as Rashford is away here.
35' Rashford picks out Rose with a wonderful througball on the turn, and Rose then crosses into the box, but he perhaps chooses the wrong option. Kane was open, but the left-back decides to pick out Sterling, who was under pressure, and his first touch is heavy.
33' England have been in control so far and they lead, but the fact they've been opened up twice already should be cause for concern - especially when both Henderson and Rice are playing.
32' CHANCE! Ivanov should do better! He has a great chance to equalise with a header from the penalty spot - assisted by Strahil Popov with a cross - but he heads it down into the ground and gets no power on it.
M. Keane
Yellow Card
30' Keane is the first player to be shown a yellow card for coming through the back of Marcelinho on the halfway line. Letting your opponent know you're there, perhaps?
29' Kane tries to pinch the ball off Marcelinho in a good position, but the referee awards a free-kick to Bulgaria. Sterling and Rashford were running in behind as well, so it's a lucky break for the visitors.
27' Bulgaria should be disappointed with that. They'd set up for a defensive game and, by all accounts, had played well at the back. But poor decision-making lets them down - why didn't they clear the ball?!
26' That's Kane's 23rd goal for England. It means he leapfrogs Peter Crouch and Tommy Lawton in England's all-time top scorers list.
R. Sterling
24' Great play from Sterling to press the Bulgaria defenders inside their own box and win the ball back in a goal-scoring position.
H. Kane
24' GOAAAL! ENGLAND FIND THE BREAKTHROUGH! It's poor defending from Bulgaria, trying to play out of trouble. Sterling presses, wins the ball and crosses back to Kane in the centre of the box. All the captain needs to do is pick his spot - he makes no mistake, as you'd expect.
23' It's a sign of how frustrated England are getting early on here, with Rashford firing off a wayward shot from outside the box.
21' Here come England again, this time through Henderson. He plays a pass into Barkley, but the Chelsea midfielder has his back to goal and opts to pass back into defence, rather than turn and move towards goal.
19' OFFSIDE! Kane has the ball in the back of the net, but the assistant flags for offside! It's a superb counter, though - Barkley unleashing Sterling down the right flank, with the winger playing in Kane. England are getting closer to opening the scoring.
17' This game has set into a familiar pattern for England. Lots of possession around the box, but no penetration as they struggle to break down a packed defence that's set up very deep inside their own half. It raises the question of why Southgate left the likes of Mount, Maddison and Winks on the bench.
15' CHANCE! Wanderson misses a clearance as the ball drops to Rose. He crosses it back towards Henderson at the edge of the box and the Liverpool midfielder attempts a volley from around 30 yards - but it's wide. That's a good move!
13' Henderson tries to find Kane early with a chipped throughball towards the centre spot, but Iliev is off his line to sweep up. The pass is just slightly overhit, but the idea is right.
11' Sterling gets involved now - beating Popov with a change of pace to get into the box - but Bodurov gets his head to the near-post cross and sends it behind for an England corner.
9' Barkley finds Rose with a clever throughball into the left-hand channel, but Rose's cross is blocked and England win a throw.
8' Rashford now tries to surge towards the box, but he can't beat Nedyalkov and Bulgaria get the ball away.
7' Well England have dominated possession so far, but they haven't created anything just yet. Barkley is trying to make something happen with long diagonal passess into the channels, but the Bulgarian back five are coping well - and it's the visitors with the first chance of the game.
5' CHANCE! Pickford has to make an early save to deny Wanderson. Trippier was caught high up the pitch and out of position, creating the space for Wanderson to get his shot away. It's all a little too easy for Bulgaria on the break.
3' It seems as though Bulgaria have set up with a back five, not a back four. Sarmov, the defensive midfielder, is sitting in between the centre-backs. With Barkley the only creative passer in midfield, the Three Lions could find the Bulgarians tough to break down.
1' KICK-OFF! England get the game started.
The teams are out and kick-off is coming up next!
Can Kane and Sterling continue their scoring streaks in this qualifying campaign? Both players have scored in each of England’s two games so far, Kane netting twice and Sterling four times, including that hat-trick in the 5-0 drubbing of the Czech Republic.
Well, Gareth Southgate’s selection certainly isn’t short of talking points. He’s opted for two defensively-minded midfielders in Henderson and Rice, so the likes of Maddison and Mount start on the bench. Rashford is preferred to in-form Sancho, while there’s a start for Trippier in place of Alexander-Arnold. Uncapped Mings has also been overlooked as Keane partners Maguire at the back.
SUBS: Nikolay Dimitrov, Hristo Ivanov, Simeon Slavchev, Bozhidar Kraev, Kristian Dimitrov, Georgi Pashov, Georgi Milanov, Daniel Mladenov, Martin Lukov, Georgi Terziev, Ivan Goranov, Kiril Despodov.
BULGARIA XI (4-1-4-1): Plamen Iliev; Strahil Popov, Nikolay Bodurov, Vasil Bozhikov, Anton Nedyalkov; Georgi Sarmov; Galin Ivanov, Ivelin Popov, Kristiyan Malinov, Wanderson; Marcelinho.
SUBS: Tom Heaton, Nick Pope, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Chilwell, Tyrone Mings, Joe Gomez, Harry Winks, Mason Mount, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Maddison, Jadon Sancho, Callum Wilson.
ENGLAND XI (4-3-3): Jordan Pickford; Kieran Trippier, Michael Keane, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose; Jordan Henderson, Declan Rice, Ross Barkley; Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford.
Perhaps England can take confidence from this - they’re unbeaten in 10 matches against Bulgaria, winning six and drawing four. In fact, they’ve only conceded twice in this time - once in 1968, then again in 1999.
England have been cruising in Group A so far with a 100 per cent record, the only minor blemish being the goal they conceded against Montenegro. The Three Lions are expected to make it three from three against a Bulgaria side that are yet to win in this qualification campaign - they’ve drawn two and lost two, and another defeat would effectively end their hopes of reaching Euro 2020.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of England’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria.