Lithuania 0 England 1: Kane proves spot-on

PUBLISHED: 19:21 08 October 2017 | UPDATED: 19:21 08 October 2017

England face the camera before their match against Lithuania at the LFF Stadium in Vilnius (pic Mike Egerton/PA)

England face the camera before their match against Lithuania at the LFF Stadium in Vilnius (pic Mike Egerton/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Harry Kane was the matchwinner as England once again disappointed in victory against Lithuania in the final competitive match before next summer’s World Cup.

Tottenham's Harry Winks made his senior England debut in Lithuania (pic Mike Egerton/PA) Tottenham's Harry Winks made his senior England debut in Lithuania (pic Mike Egerton/PA)

Qualification for the finals in Russia may have been wrapped up with a game to spare, thanks to Kane’s winner against Slovenia at Wembley, but there was only a modicum of positivity surrounding the Three Lions after Thursday’s ponderous performance.

Gareth Southgate shouldered the responsibility and hoped to make amends with an entertaining display against Lithuania, yet Kane’s first-half penalty was the only moment to celebrate as England beat a side ranked 120th in the world.

The main enjoyment for the travelling hordes were the struggles of old foes Scotland in Slovenia, while they resorted to gallows humour by likening England’s play to watching Brazil – next month’s opponents at Wembley after world champions Germany’s visit.

Those friendlies could make for grim viewing from an England perspective unless things drastically improve from this week, with captain Kane’s performances among few genuine positives.

England's Harry Kane scores from the penalty spot against Lithuania (pic Mike Egerton/PA) England's Harry Kane scores from the penalty spot against Lithuania (pic Mike Egerton/PA)

The 24-year-old striker made it 15 goals in his last 10 matches for club and country by slotting home what proved to be the first-half winner after Dele Alli won a penalty.

Tottenham team-mate Harry Winks showed promise on his senior debut, but the three-man defence clearly needs work given by the number of times Jack Butland was worked as an unbeaten Group F campaign ended limply.

England’s travelling hordes gave polite applause at the end, with many fans still bedecked in ponchos as rain fell for the majority of the night in Vilnius.

Unfortunately, the Three Lions’ display was as drab as the weather in the first half as an experimental side dominated possession without the necessary bite.

Things could have been different had debutant Harry Maguire connected with an early header, but it was Lithuania taking the great risks in pushing for an opener.

Arvydas Novikovas was proving a nuisance and Darvydas Sernas nearly capitalised on a defensive slip, going close from left-back Vytautas Andriuskevicius’ fine cross.

Butland, making his second competitive appearance at the venue of his first, comfortably held on to a strike by Ovidijus Verbickas – the player guilty of gifting England a 27th-minute lead.

Michael Keane’s snapshot wide was a warning shot that appeared to rattle Lithuania momentarily, with Verbickas downing Alli in the box.

In-form Kane stepped up to fire home the resulting penalty, hitting a fierce, low shot out of Ernestas Setkus’ reach and off the inside of the post.

The England captain saw another attempt blocked, before debutant Winks played a quick pass down the line for Marcus Rashford.

The Manchester United forward showed quick feet and got away an effort that called Lithuania’s goalkeeper into action.

Butland appeared to get a touch on a fine Fedor Cernych half-volley that rippled the netting as an underwhelming first half came to an end.

Winks showed composure to jink into space and test Setkus when play resumed after the break, only for Butland to be forced into a fine one-handed save to prevent Keane turning into his own goal in the 55th minute.

Sernas was unable to provide a finishing touch when Lithuania had attempts of their own.

Alli flashed over at the end of a well-worked move that was followed by chants of ‘It’s just like watching Brazil’. Scotland’s issues were also providing amusement for the fans.

Setkus clawed away Aaron Creswell’s goalbound header from a Jordan Henderson cross, while Kane dragged just wide of the Lithuania goal as England pushed for a second.

Alli headed well wide and substitute Daniel Sturridge fashioned himself a late chance, only to strike into the side-netting.

Substitute Deivydas Matulevicius had England hearts in mouths when running through only to shoot straight at Butland, with Sturridge glancing wide and seeing a close-range effort blocked before full-time.

England: Butland, Trippier, Cresswell, Keane, Maguire, Stones, Winks, Henderson, Kane, Alli (Lingard 81), Rashford (Sturridge 72). Unused subs: Smalling, Pickford, Walker, Cahill, Dier, Livermore, Defoe, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sterling, Forster.

Latest Hackney Stories

Yesterday, 18:27

An unbeaten half-century from James Harris saw visitors Middlesex complete an outstanding recovery to beat Leicestershire by one wicket in a marvellously tense finish to their Specsavers Division Two county championship match at the Fischer County Ground, Grace Road.

Yesterday, 17:28

Belgium and Tunisia have met on three previous occasions in all competitions, with a win apiece and a draw. The encounters have been tight affairs, with victories decided by one-goal margins, but today’s match didn’t follow the same trend.

Yesterday, 12:00

Gareth Southgate’s promising young England side look ready to make a mark on the world stage and help atone for the disappointments of recent tournaments.

Yesterday, 08:30

The drama surrounding the threat to Gillett Square continues apace with over 1,500 new signatories in the past month to the petition to Save Gillett Square, writes Adam Hart FRSA, chief executive officer Hackney Co-operative Developments (HCD) 1996-2012, co-director Vortex Foundation, resident and parent for over 35 years.

The temperature nudged the mercury towards nearly 30c as the man sat down on a bench, sited between Grace Road’s evocative pavilion and the sight screen.

Middlesex ended day three of their County Championship match at Grace Road on 82-3, 299 runs adrift with only seven wickets remaining.

Fri, 16:33

Brazil and Costa Rica were winless in their opening matches at the World Cup and were both hoping for their first victory of the tournament at the Saint Petersburg Stadium.

Middlesex bowled Leicestershire out for 186 in their second innings on a baking hot afternoon at Grace Road, to leave the visitors facing a challenging target of 381 to win.


To celebrate LGBT history month, Hackney resident Amanda talks about her journey to becoming a foster carer, with the council’s support and training.

Newsletter Sign Up

Hackney Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read sport

Show Job Lists