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Euro 2020 Qualifiers: 3 reasons why England beat Bulgaria

Scott Newman
SENIOR ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
08 Sep 2019, 00:22 IST

Harry Kane scored a hat-trick as England beat Bulgaria 4-0
Harry Kane scored a hat-trick as England beat Bulgaria 4-0

England’s last two Euro 2020 qualifiers yielded ten goals and two wins, and this afternoon’s game against Bulgaria at Wembley didn’t prove to be much different. Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions beat their opponents 4-0 and now lead their group comfortably, looking on course to qualify for next summer’s tournament with ease.

With all that said, this wasn’t really a convincing performance and if anything, the 4-0 scoreline flattered England as they huffed and puffed through large periods of the game despite enjoying 68% possession and didn’t create too many clear-cut chances. But in the end, a hat-trick from Harry Kane and a goal from Raheem Sterling – his 7th for England in as many appearances – was enough to claim the three points.

Here are 3 reasons why England beat Bulgaria.

#1 Bulgaria were an extremely weak opposition

Bulgaria's negative tactics made it a tough game to watch
Bulgaria's negative tactics made it a tough game to watch

After tough games in the summer’s Nations League finals against the Netherlands and Switzerland, tonight’s game was never going to be as much of a challenge for England. As it turned out, it was tough in a different way; Bulgaria were simply terrible opposition, but their tactic of putting as many men behind the ball as possible made them tricky to truly open up.

The ridiculous thing is that when they made rare attacks on England’s defence, the Three Lions didn’t exactly look watertight. The first half saw Wanderson fire a shot directly at Jordan Pickford, while Galin Ivanov also missed a free header on goal. And in the second half, Wanderson again wasted a clear-cut chance when the game was still just 1-0.

That’s why it was so frustrating to see them simply look to shut England down and seemingly pray for a draw. England won 4-0 in the end anyway, so what did Bulgaria achieve with their negative tactics? Absolutely nothing. The truth is that they were always likely to lose this game – they’re just not close to England’s level right now – but to see them simply avoid any kind of attacking football was disappointing and in all honesty, rather pointless.

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