A devastating first-half showing from England was enough to repel a brave Kosovo 5-3 in a pulsating European Qualifier at St Mary’s.
After falling behind after just 35 seconds to Valon Berisha, England responded emphatically, scoring five goals in the opening 45 minutes with Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho causing havoc.
Sterling headed home the equalizer (8) before Harry Kane (19) fired England in front. Sancho – starting in place of Marcus Rashford – exploded into the game just before the break forcing Mergim Vojvoda into an own goal and then helping himself to his first two international goals after some phenomenal play from Sterling on the counter-attack.
Kosovo – unbeaten in their last 15 matches in all competitions – played bravely after half-time and were rewarded with goals from Berisha (49) and Vedat Muriqi (55).
Despite creating ample opportunities on the break, England failed to add to their total with Kane missing from the penalty spot (65).