Home England England’s 7-0 Victory Over North Macedonia Provides Southgate with Selection Conundrum

England’s 7-0 Victory Over North Macedonia Provides Southgate with Selection Conundrum

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Bukayo Saka achieved a remarkable milestone in his career as he scored his first-ever senior hat-trick in England’s dominant 7-0 triumph over North Macedonia.

Saka, the 21-year-old prodigious talent known as “Starboy” among Arsenal supporters, showcased his brilliance on the field, leaving a lasting impact during England’s commanding victory at Old Trafford. His exceptional performance was highlighted by an unforgettable moment when he affectionately kissed the match ball upon completing his hat-trick.

The crowd at the stadium rose in unison to applaud Saka when he was substituted, acknowledging his exceptional contribution. The overwhelming support for him echoed the overall sentiment towards the England team, which has secured four consecutive wins in their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.

England’s victory over Italy in Naples, regarded as their toughest test so far, solidifies their path to qualification. The team’s remarkable progress is in stark contrast to a year ago when England suffered a demoralizing 4-0 loss to Hungary in a Uefa Nations League match at Molineux, prompting heated criticism from fans back home. The adverse reaction played a role in Gareth Southgate’s contemplation of his managerial future after the World Cup. However, given the remarkable talent at his disposal, Southgate decided to continue leading the team.

It is important to note that the recent victories against North Macedonia and Malta came against relatively weaker opposition. England’s true test against elite teams may only come in the Euro 2024 tournament when they face the likes of Germany. Nevertheless, the quality exhibited by England’s attacking prowess cannot be denied, with Saka shining as the standout performer in the recent game. Saka’s burgeoning partnership with Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, who was deployed in midfield by Southgate, has shown promising signs and is expected to yield positive results in the future.

Alexander-Arnold’s pinpoint long pass set up England’s first goal against North Macedonia, and their connection resulted in a breathtaking moment after halftime. Saka expertly controlled the ball with his chest before unleashing a sensational volley into the net, leaving the opposing goalkeeper helpless. The jubilant celebrations of Saka’s teammates upon his completion of the hat-trick and their gesture of presenting him with the match ball underscored his immense talent and popularity among the squad.

In addition to Saka’s heroics, England’s regular goal-scorer Harry Kane found the back of the net twice, breaking the deadlock and converting a penalty. Marcus Rashford also contributed a goal, courtesy of an unselfish pass from Jordan Henderson. Southgate had the luxury of bringing on Manchester City’s Phil Foden and Jack Grealish, both instrumental in their Champions League success, from the bench. Grealish, in particular, received an ecstatic reception at Old Trafford, further enhancing his reputation following the celebrations that followed their victory over Inter Milan in Istanbul.

Unfortunately, young sensation Jude Bellingham, considered by many as England’s standout star of the future, missed out on the match due to injury. However, once he recovers, Bellingham is expected to reclaim his spot in the team. Southgate now faces a delightful predicament, with qualification almost secured and an atmosphere of confidence and optimism permeating the camp.

The lineup that triumphed over North Macedonia is likely to form the core of England’s squad for the Euros. Nevertheless, when fit, Chelsea’s Reece James will present a challenge to Kyle Walker’s position at right-back. Harry Maguire’s regular playing time, possibly away from Manchester United, will be crucial to fend off competitors vying for his place.

In midfield, the spotlight is already on Alexander-Arnold’s successful transition to an advanced position, mirroring his recent role for Liverpool. Declan Rice is a certain starter, and Bellingham’s presence is unquestionable. The question remains whether Southgate will opt for the safer choice of either Kalvin Phillips or Jordan Henderson alongside Rice or trust in Alexander-Arnold to fulfill the role.

Undoubtedly, much will depend on the upcoming season, but England finds itself in an enviable position to secure qualification for Germany next summer. With their abundant quality, there should be no excuses for England not only reaching Euro 2024 but also making a deep run in the tournament as they strive to surpass their previous runner-up finish to Italy at Wembley.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about selection dilemma

What was the final score of the match between England and North Macedonia?

England secured a resounding 7-0 victory over North Macedonia.

Who scored the first hat-trick of their senior career in the match?

Bukayo Saka, the 21-year-old Arsenal player, achieved the first hat-trick of his senior career in the game against North Macedonia.

How did the crowd react to Saka’s performance?

The crowd showed immense appreciation for Saka’s outstanding performance by applauding him when he was substituted and again at the end of the match. His teammates celebrated his hat-trick with evident joy and presented him with the match ball.

How has Trent Alexander-Arnold’s role in the team changed?

Trent Alexander-Arnold, normally a right-back, was deployed in a midfield position by Gareth Southgate for the recent matches. This experimental move has proven successful, as Alexander-Arnold demonstrated excellent chemistry with Saka and played a crucial role in setting up goals.

Will England face tougher opponents in their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign?

While England has enjoyed success against North Macedonia and Malta, their real test against top-quality teams will come in the Euro 2024 tournament. The team’s performance against stronger opposition remains to be seen.

Who are the potential contenders for England’s midfield positions?

The midfield options for England include Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham (when fit), Kalvin Phillips, Jordan Henderson, and Trent Alexander-Arnold. Gareth Southgate will need to make decisions based on their performances and tactical considerations.

Which players could challenge for starting positions in the England team?

Reece James is expected to provide competition for Kyle Walker at right-back when he returns from injury. Additionally, the performances of Phil Foden and Jack Grealish from the bench make them strong contenders for starting roles on the flanks.

How confident are England in qualifying for Euro 2024?

With four consecutive victories in their qualifying campaign and an atmosphere of confidence and optimism building within the team, England is in a strong position to secure qualification for the Euro 2024 tournament.

Can England go further than their previous performance in the Euros?

England aims to surpass their previous runner-up finish in the Euros and go deep into the tournament. Their abundance of quality players increases their chances of achieving this goal.

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footballfan90 June 19, 2023 - 11:59 pm

wow england 7-0 against North Macedonia. hat-trick by bukayo saka! he’s a talent, gunners call him “starboy”. saka and trent alexander-arnold combo is lit. england will surely qualify for euro 2024. gooo england!

sportsfanatic1 June 20, 2023 - 5:34 am

england demolished north macedonia, 7-0, what a scoreline! saka is on fire, that boy’s got skills. but let’s see how england performs against tougher teams. southgate’s got a tough job picking the best midfield combo, lots of options. hoping for a deep run in euro 2024!

soccerlover22 June 20, 2023 - 1:33 pm

england’s win over north macedonia was amazing! saka’s first hat-trick was epic, such a talented player. hope he keeps shining for england. southgate’s decision to put trent in midfield was risky but it worked. can’t wait for the euro 2024, england has a strong squad.


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