Hat-trick hero Harry guides England to comfortable win over Bulgaria

Tom Homewood
Assistant Producer

Harry Kane’s hat-trick helped England beat Bulgaria 4-0 in their Euro 2020 qualifier to remain top of Group A.

Kane put the Three Lions in front at Wembley, making Bulgaria pay for a goalkeeping mistake inside 25 minutes.

After Wanderson wasted a chance, it was 2-0 moments later as Marcus Rashford won a penalty which Kane emphatically converted.

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The Tottenham striker turned provider for Raheem Sterling to hand England their third, before he rounded off his hat-trick from the spot.

The win leaves Gareth Southgate’s men with three wins from three, having beaten Czech Republic and Montenegro already, before facing Kosovo on Tuesday.

Kane celebrates after scoring the opener (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Bulgaria showed their cards early, opting for a 5-4-1 formation, making it hard for England to break them down.

A tactic which almost paid off after five minutes, the away side had the first real chance of note after a smart break, but Wanderson’s effort was straight at Jordan Pickford.

Kane had a goal ruled out for offside in the 19th minute after a wonderful ball from Sterling. The England captain applied a smart finish, but was a comfortable yard past the last defender.

The England captain found the opener just five minutes later after a mistake at the back for Bulgaria. Goalkeeper Plamen Iliev tried to find his left back, but passed it straight to Sterling inside the box, he found Kane and the Spurs striker applied the simple finish into an empty net.

Bulgaria remained unchanged in their approach as England enjoyed the majority of possession, but it was the away side who had the next best chance.

Strahil Popov found himself in plenty of space down the right wing and played a perfectly weighted cross to an unmarked Galin Ivanov, but his header again was no trouble for Pickford as he gathered with ease.

Continuing to find it difficult to break Bulgaria down, Kane should have doubled England’s lead from a corner. He met Kieran Trippier’s delivery but failed to get enough behind it and it was easy for Iliev.

Kane scores from the spot to make it 2-0 (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

England made a slow start to the second half and Wanderson should have put the away side level, but again his effort despite being well struck, was straight at the goalkeeper.

Immediately Southgate’s side broke and Rashford was brought down inside the area by Mikolay Bodurov and with no hesitation England were awarded a penalty.

Kane stepped up and doubled their lead with a powerful strike into the top right-hand corner.

Sterling made it 3-0 and put the result beyond doubt in the 55th minute. Rashford burst down the left hand side, laid it off to Kane who found the Manchester City forward and he knocked it into the roof of the net with his right thigh.

Kane wasn’t done yet and scored his third in the 73rd minute with his second from the spot to make it 4-0. This time dispatching it into the top-left hand corner after he was bundled over inside the box by Kristian Dimitrov.

Pickford’s brilliant save denied Bulgaria a consolation with 15 minutes to go, after captain Ivelin Popov’s curling free-kick.

Rashford and Ross Barkley then combined with pace but the Manchester United man was denied by a fine save by Iliev after he was put in behind by Barkley.

And the win leaves England in strong position to qualify for the European Championships next year, with the chance for a fourth win from four on Tuesday.

Sterling celebrates his goal with Kane (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

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