Harry Kane’s hat-trick helped Gareth Southgate’s side roar past Montenegro and seal Euro 2020 qualification as England celebrated their 1,000th match in style.
Former captains and Three Lions greats were among those in attendance on a landmark occasion at Wembley, where onlookers were not only able to celebrate 147 years of history but enjoy another glimpse at an exciting future.
Southgate’s men sealed progress to the Euro 2020 finals with a match to spare as a rampant first-half display set up a 7-0 win against hapless Montenegro, with Kane’s treble doing the damage in front of Sir Geoff Hurst, a man who knows a thing or two about hat-tricks.
Securing automatic qualification for next summer’s tournament means all of the Three Lions’ group games will be staged at Wembley, where Southgate’s men will believe they can then return for the semis and final.
Southgate is under no illusions about the work still required ahead of the European Championship, but their fierce performance before the break underlined England’s attacking talent in front of greats such as Paul Gascoigne, Peter Shilton and Wayne Rooney.
The threat on the latter’s all-time scoring record of 53 increased against Montenegro as Kane netted a first-half treble that complemented efforts by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Marcus Rashford.
Kane scored two headers and swivelled to fire home a third to takes his tally to 31 goals, seeing him usurp Frank Lampard, Alan Shearer, Nat Lofthouse and Tom Finney in the standings.
Aleksandar Sofranac’s own goal and substitute Tammy Abraham‘s first for his country were the only efforts in the second period of a comprehensive win secured with star Raheem Sterling watching from the stands following his high-profile skirmish with team-mate Joe Gomez.