There was technically a new person — new persons in fact, with Chelsea assistant coach Steve Holland continuing his role as Gareth Southgate's assistant, too — in the England dugout, but the product on the field was rather indistinguishable from previous England editions.
That should not have been surprising, considering that Southgate selected basically the same exact people his predecessors have been selecting for some time now. Sure, he deployed Dele Alli in a slightly further forward role while continuing to pretend that Wayne Rooney is a proper pivot midfielder, but against Malta, he could've played just about any combination of the England squad and still walked away with a similar 2-0 win as they did on Saturday night. Dabbing-fool Alli and dancing-fool Sturridge were the goalscorers.
Opta: Jordan Henderson completed 165 passes for England. Whole Malta team managed 160— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) October 8, 2016
Hurray for international football!
Former Chelsea boy Ryan Bertrand collected an unfortunate injury in this useless, yet official fixture. Current Chelsea man Gary Cahill managed to make it through unscathed and largely untested. Prior to the match, Malta center forward Alfred Effiong boasted about his own abilities when going up against the likes of Chiellini and Bonucci, but other than an elbow to Cahill's throat, was rather anonymous for the 75 minutes or so that he played.
England have now gone six straight Euro or World Cup qualifying matches without conceding a goal. Decent.
Denmark's ambitions to not concede a goal went out the window within the first 20 minutes of their match against Poland. Less than a half hour later, they were behind 3-0, as Robert Lewandowski completed his hat-trick.
It was not a good day for young Andreas Christensen, who was directly at fault for at least one goal...
...partially at fault for another (completely losing Lewandowski off his left shoulder) ...
...and was lucky to not be at fault for a fourth (this time losing Milik, again off his left shoulder).
Despite their defensive issues, Denmark made it close late on thanks to a hilarious own goal from Glik and a goal from Yussuf Poulsen, but Poland hung on for the 3-2 victory.
Elsewhere, Burkina Faso got a late-late equalizer from Banou Diawara to split the points with South Africa. Diawara had replaced Bertrand Traoré in the 75th minute. Fellow loanee Victorian Angban did not play in Ivory Coast's 3-1 win over Mali.