On the day that Dos-a-cero became uno-a-dos, Gary Cahill helped maintain some semblance of normalcy with a solid display next to John Stones, who also contributed to the status quo with his usual brand of "defending" as England beat Scotland 3-0 at Wembley.
Fortunately for England, Scotland failed to take advantage of several clear-cut and wide-open opportunities while at the other end a trio of clinical headed finishes from Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana (!), and Gary Cahill staked the hosts to what turned out to be a comfortable, somewhat formulaic win over the struggling visitors. This is now Scotland's third 3-0 defeat in five matches, which is rather amusing as a neutral but probably less so amusing if you're a fan.
Gareth Southgate, who's auditioning for the permanent job as manager with altogether way too much gusto considering what's happened to basically all his predecessors, joined the match announcers in building-up the win as something significant and blah blah blah. Good for him, in all seriousness.
e team to play out from the back. At times we were sloppy in the way that we did that but it's an area we can improve on. At the beginning of both halves, we encouraged Scotland to press but some of our use of the ball once we got through that phase was fantastic. We played with balance, interchanged positions, there were some superb individual performances and we managed the game reasonably well as it went towards the end."
"I was asked to take the job for the four games and keep the country at the top of the group. Tonight was an important moment, not just for the supporters but for the team. It's important they came through a pressure game and won and had a feeling of what that's like at Wembley."
"I've loved doing the job, there's no doubt about that, but I'm just content that we've won tonight - that was the most important thing. I know what it meant to our supporters to win the game. I've been reminded of it everywhere I've been in the last four weeks! I'm delighted to deliver that result for everybody. Today was a step forward in the players' belief. They have shown elements of what they are capable of individually and collectively."
-Gareth Southgate; source: The FA
England take on Spain next; Gary Cahill will be available despite picking up a yellow card and a one-match suspension. Apparently that only applies to qualifiers?
Elsewhere, N'Golo Kanté got all of two minutes and change at the end of France's 2-1 win over Sweden (featuring surely the best goal of the day from a non-hockey-playing Forsberg) — KNUCKLEBALL! — and Tomáš got even less, zero minutes to be exact, as Czech Republic finally scored a couple goals and got themselves a win in World Cup 2018 qualifying as they beat Norway 2-1.