Bukayo Saka has scored the first hat-trick of his career as England made it four wins out of four Euro 2024 qualifiers by thrashing North Macedonia at Old Trafford.
Gareth Southgate’s side are well on course to qualify for the tournament in Germany next summer and, even though North Macedonia provided meagre opposition, England still demonstrated the dazzling array of attacking options they have at their disposal.
And at the heart of it all was Arsenal’s Saka who struck a superb treble before departing to a standing ovation with the game won.
England actually laboured in the early stages in the face of determined Macedonian defence but once captain Harry Kane scored his 57th international goal – turning in Luke Shaw’s cross at the far post after 29 minutes – the floodgates opened.
Saka added the second from Kyle Walker’s pass nine minutes later and Marcus Rashford scored a third on the stroke of half-time after unselfish work by Jordan Henderson.
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The highlight of this one-sided affair came two minutes after half-time when Saka controlled a perfect long pass by Trent Alexander-Arnold before sending a thunderous left-foot finish high past keeper Stole Dimitrievski.
Saka completed his landmark hat-trick after racing clear on to Kane’s pass, prompting Southgate to make a host of changes which allowed substitute Kalvin Phillips to get in the act with a simple tap-in to make it six.
Kane scored his second from the spot with 17 minutes left after John Stones had been fouled as England went on a goal rampage to record their biggest win since the 10-0 victory over San Marino in November 2021, and inflict North Macedonia’s heaviest defeat.
Written by: Debby Eselebor