Crowd trouble sours England’s perfect 10

Lithuania 0 England 3: England made it a perfect 10 with a beating in the Baltic, but their record-breaking achievement was marred by fighting between the visiting fans and their Lithuanian counterparts.

Goals from Ross Barkley and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, as well as an own goal from Lithuania stopper Giedrius Arlauskis, meant Roy Hodgson’s men ended their pristine Euro 2016 qualification campaign with a 3-0 win.

“I’m very proud of the players ’ performance,” said Hodgson. “The quality of our play was good and to get 10 wins out of 10 is never easy so we’ve got to take pride in it.”

England’s group may have been the easiest in qualifying, but the achievement should not be sniffed at, and the likes of Barkley, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana showed glimpses of class against a weak yet stubbornly-well organised Lithuania side.

England’s performances and form will not worry Hodgson, but his bosses at the FA will be concerned at the disturbances in Vilnius last night.

The Lithuanians had not sold out the 5,500-seater stadium so tickets went on sale earlier this week and the England fans who travelled to the Baltic nation clearly snapped them up. That meant Lithuanians and English supporters mixed in the same stand and that spelled trouble.

The skirmishes started before kick-off as England fans who bought tickets in the home end, clashed with their Lithuania counterparts. The supporters brawled and missiles were thrown before riot police stepped in to break up the fighting and separate the fans. The Lithuanian supporters booed God Save The Queen, before the England fans started singing anti-IRA songs.

On the pitch, Tottenham striker Harry Kane drew three impressive saves from Arlauskis within the first 22 minutes, but he then played an important part in England’s opening goal.

Kane rolled the ball to Barkley, who got the ball out from under his feet before cracking a shot into the goal off the upright, via a slight deflection.

England went 2-0 up as Lallana set up Kane, who unleashed a low drive which hit the post and struck the goalkeeper’s back before the ball rolled into the net.

Arlauskis produced a top save to deny Barkley from the resulting corner but the Lithuania stopper could do nothing to stop Oxlade-Chamberlain’s fine strike just after the hour to seal the win which sent England to France on the back of a 10-match winning streak.

LITHUANIA:

Arlauskis, Freidgeimas, Mikuckis, Klimavicius, Andriuskevicius (Vaitkunas 82), Novikovas (Petravicius 63), Panka, Zulpa, Cernych, Slivka, Spalvis (Matulevicius 85).

ENGLAND:

Butland, Walker, Jones, Jagielka, Gibbs, Barkley (Townsend 73), Shelvey, Lallana (Alli 67), Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kane (Ings 59), Vardy.

Ref:

Kenn Hansen (Denmark).


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