Harry Kane scored a first-half hat-trick as England romped towards the 2022 World Cup with a 5-0 thrashing of Albania, but Italy still have work to do to reach Qatar after a 1-1 draw with Switzerland.
England still need a point to mathematically qualify when they visit San Marino on Monday, but boast a three-point lead and six-goal advantage on goal difference over Poland, who sealed at least a playoff place with a 4-1 win over 10-man Andorra.
The Three Lions can look ahead to Qatar with confidence as they bounced back to form at Wembley in style with all the goals coming before half-time.
“The first half was fantastic, as well as we’ve played for a long time,” said England boss Gareth Southgate.
“We’re best when we have an edge and this was a game that could put us on the verge of qualification for the World Cup.”
Harry Maguire put a difficult start to the season at club level behind him as the Manchester United captain opened the floodgates with a thumping header from Reece James’ free-kick.
Kane admitted on Thursday to also struggling physically and mentally from the exertions of England’s run to the Euro 2020 final added to the speculation over his future.
The England captain has scored just one…