England downs Lithuania to make it a perfect 10


England cruised to a 3-0 victory over Lithuania in Vilnius to ensure it finished its Group E qualifying campaign with a perfect 10 wins from as many matches.

Ross Barkley opened the scoring with a deflected effort midway through the first half and it was two before the break when Harry Kane's shot bounced in off Giedrius Arlauskis for an own goal.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sealed the three points with a powerful strike after the break, while Danny Ings came off the substitutes' bench to make his England debut.

The win means Roy Hodgson's side is the only team in EURO 2016 qualification to finish with a 100 per cent record and just the sixth team ever to do so in the history of European championship qualification.

England made eight changes from its last game against Estonia, with Adam Lallana, Barkley and Kane the only players to remain in the starting XI.

Early on, Kane cut inside from the left and Arlauskis did well to push his shot wide, before the Tottenham Hotspur striker forced the goalkeeper into another parried save after Lallana's pass.

Kane was looking the most likely source of a goal and did well to receive Barkley's pass and turn on the edge of the area before testing Arlauskis with his third effort of the opening stages.

The same duo combined again as England took the lead after 29 minutes. This time it was Kane who fed Barkley and the Everton star's long-range shot deflected off Tomas Mikuckis and bounced in via the post.

Lithuania threatened for the first time when a quick break led to Fedor Cernych finding Lukas Spalvis, whose shot from the edge of the area was pushed away in a good one-handed save from Jack Butland.

England doubled the lead 10 minutes before the break. Kane and Lallana linked up with a neat one-two and the 22-year-old's shot hit the near post before bouncing back in off Arlauskis.

It should have been three for England early in the second half after Oxlade-Chamberlain seized on an error from Linas Klimavicius down the right.

The Arsenal man squared for Kane, who saw his initial effort saved by Arlauskis, before his poorly-struck left-footed follow-up was blocked by Georgas Freidgeimas.

From the resulting Lallana corner, Barkley diverted a strong header towards the bottom corner but Arlauskis got down well to deny him.

The third goal did arrive in the 62nd minute. Kyle Walker made a timely interception and slipped a pass through to Oxlade-Chamberlain, with the winger blasting his shot high past Arlauskis, who could not make a save at the near post.

Ings struck a powerful shot towards goal as he looked to mark his debut in style, but Arlauskis was equal to it as England concluded qualifying with 31 goals scored in the group and only three conceded.

Slovenia eventually claimed a 2-0 win over San Marino to book a play-off spot in the European championship qualifiers after finishing third in Group E.

San Marino, which had claimed just one point from its previous nine matches, went close to adding to its solitary goal of the campaign early on.

Alex Gasperoni hit a shot high and wide before Andy Selva and Adolfo Hirsch were also wasteful in the opening half-hour, before Bostjan Cesar opened the scoring for the visitor with a free header in the 55th minute.

Nejc Pecnik doubled the lead with another headed goal 20 minutes later as Slovenia secured a play-off place.

Estonia saw its qualifying hopes end as it suffered a 1-0 defeat to Switzerland at A. Le Coq Arena.

Magnus Pehrsson's host held out slim chances of making the play-offs, needing to defeat the Group E runner-up and for San Marino to see off Slovenia, but both results went against it as a late own goal from Ragnar Klavan ended all hope in Tallinn.

The host started brightest and Konstantin Vassiljev forced Switzerland goalkeeper Marwin Hitz into action within the opening five minutes before Granit Xhaka fired over twice for the visitor.

Eren Derdiyok came close to opening the scoring 10 minutes after the break but his overhead kick from the centre of the penalty box was comfortably caught by home stopper Mihkel Aksalu.

But it took until the 90th minute until the deadlock was broken and Augsburg defender Klavan unfortunately sent Breel Embolo's close-range cross into his own net to hand Switzerland the three points.

Source Omnisport, PA Sport