England annihilated North Macedonia 7-0 in their European Championship qualifying match at Old Trafford after Bukayo Saka scored an exhilarating hattrick. With this win, England maintained their flawless start in Group C, accumulating 12 points from four matches.
Harry Kane also made a significant contribution to the win, scoring two goals and extending his national record to 58 goals for England. Marcus Rashford and substitute Kalvin Phillips also found the back of the net, adding to the team’s goal tally.
Saka’s hat trick was particularly remarkable considering that he played through an injury. In the first half, he struck an unstoppable shot into the top corner near the post, showcasing his skill. Early in the second half, Saka exhibited individual brilliance by unleashing a dipping shot from the edge of the box that eluded North Macedonia goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski. Just four minutes later, he completed his hat trick by displaying composure and finishing with finesse.
After securing a 4-0 victory over Malta on Friday, Gareth Southgate’s team elevated their performance to a new level at the renowned home of Manchester United, Old Trafford.
England initiated their goal-scoring spree in the 29th minute when Kane converted assists from Rashford and Luke Shaw. Saka added the second goal in the 38th minute, connecting with a pass from Kyle Walker on the right flank. Just before halftime, Rashford increased the lead to 3-0, making good use of a pass from Jordan Henderson on the left.
The second half commenced with a flurry of goals, as Saka completed his hat trick in rapid succession, benefiting from assists by Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kane. Phillips, who entered the match as a substitute, made an immediate impact by converting a close-range opportunity in the 64th minute. Later, Kane added to his goal tally by successfully converting a penalty in the 73rd minute, awarded after John Stones was fouled by Egzon Bejtulai in the box.
It has been slightly over a year since Southgate and the England team faced criticism from fans after being booed off the field following a 4-0 defeat to Hungary in the Nations League. However, following their quarterfinal elimination in the World Cup in Qatar, England is now reigniting optimism among supporters, as Euro 2024 approaches, with hopes of securing their first major trophy since the 1966 World Cup.