Kane Seals Victory For Unbeaten England
2018 World Cup Qualifier Report: Lithuania v England 08 October 2017
2018 World Cup Qualifier
Result: Lithuania 0-1 England
Date: 08 October 2017
Venue: Vilniaus LFF Stadionas
Having already booked their spot at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, England rounded off their qualification campaign with a 1-0 win over Lithuania at the Vilniaus LFF Stadionas courtesy of a Harry Kane penalty.
As expected, England had the lion’s share of the ball early on. However, Lithuania did have chances of their own — and came close in the 11th minute as Darvydas Šernas flicked the ball wide of Jack Butland’s near post and into the side-netting after receiving a cross from Vytautas Andriuškevičius.
In the 26th minute, England finally got the lucky break they needed. Dele Alli was fouled in the penalty area just as he was about to shoot and the referee pointed to the spot. Kane then stepped up and blasted the penalty in off the inside of the post.
England stepped up the tempo following that goal and Marcus Rashford came close to doubling their lead in the 39th minute, forcing a save from Ernestas Šetkus from inside the box.
Five minutes later, Fedor Černych almost caught Butland off guard with a powerful volley, but ultimately fired just wide of his near post.
England went into the break 1-0 up and looking relatively comfortable.
They were handed a chance to give themselves some more breathing space in the 52nd minute, as Šetkus palmed a cross into the path of Harry Winks — who fired it straight back at him from just outside the box and forced a diving save.
However, Lithuania nearly had a stroke of luck in the 56th minute as Cernych’s cross deflected off Keane and forced Butland to make an alert save at the far post.
Setkus was called into action again at the other end in the 69th minute as Aaron Cresswell fired a header in off Jordan Henderson’s cross.
England continued to mount pressure on Lithuania’s defence and went close again in the 82nd minute, when Daniel Sturridge shot just wide of the near post.
Deivydas Matulevičius had a chance to equalise two minutes later, but fired his half volley straight down Butland’s throat.
Sturridge had a strike blocked in stoppage time, but Lithuania’s efforts in defence were ultimately in vain as they were unable to get a lucky break at the other end.
In the end, England held on for a deserved win — albeit not a convincing one. They finished unbeaten in Group F with 26 points from 10 games and will now set their sights on the finals in Russia.