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2018 World Cup Qualifying - UEFA, Group Stage
  • Jermain Defoe (21')
  • Jamie Vardy (66')

Jermain Defoe scores on England return in win vs. Lithuania

Jermain Defoe scored in his first international appearance in over three years as England beat Lithuania 2-0 at Wembley in World Cup qualifying.

Defoe, winning his first cap since November 2013, scored with a close-range finish in the first half before Jamie Vardy grabbed another from off the bench in the second to make sure of the three points and consolidate England's place at the top of Group F.

England dominated possession from the off, but with Lithuania happy to sit back and defend in numbers, the hosts struggled to create any real chances in the early stages of the game.

That was until the 21st minute when Adam Lallana played a clever ball through to Defoe, but the Sunderland man was denied by Ernestas Setkus.

Just seconds later, however, and this time Defoe was on target as he finished first time into the back of the net to score his 20th England goal after Raheem Sterling had done well to burst down the left before cutting the ball back into his path.

Defoe was involved for Gareth Southgate's side again in the 29th minute, receiving the ball on the edge of the area before taking aim at goal and sending a low drive whistling just past the post.

England, struggling to play with much urgency, were given a scare on the stroke of half-time when Joe Hart's sliced clearance was headed into the path of Vykintas Slivka, who managed to divert the ball over the outcoming goalkeeper, only for John Stones to race back and clear his effort off the line.

The home side had a great chance to double their lead just minutes after the restart when Ryan Bertrand delivered a ball across the face of goal that Sterling met at the far post, but the Manchester City winger failed to make proper contact with his connection.

Lithuania fashioned their second real opportunity after 53 minutes when Slivka's shot from the edge of the box brought a save out of Hart, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain produced his own hit from distance down the other end a few moments later, forcing Ernestas Setkus into the stop.

Defoe was replaced by Vardy shortly before the hour-mark, and just eight minutes later the Leicester striker had doubled England's lead, slotting past Setkus after Lallana had slipped him in on goal.

England were able to see out the closing stages of the game with ease, and could well have found a third before the full-time whistle with Vardy crashing a strike over the bar and Eric Dier heading off-target from a corner.

WC Qual - UEFA News