2020 European Championship Qualifying, Group Stage
  • Raheem Sterling (24', 62', 68')
  • Harry Kane (45'+2' PEN)
  • Tomás Kalas (84' OG)

Sterling nets hat trick as England breeze past Czech Republic in Euro qualifier

Raheem Sterling's hat trick helped England to a straightforward 5-0 win against Czech Republic to open their 2020 Euro qualification campaign at Wembley on Friday night.

With Marcus Rashford out due to injury, Dortmund teenager Jadon Sancho was handed his first senior start on the wing after impressing manager Gareth Southgate in training ahead of the match.

Eric Dier went down twice inside the opening 15 minutes and was replaced by Ross Barkley soon after, as England looked for their footing against a compact Czech side.

The hosts found their way through in the 24th minute as Harry Kane played Sancho in behind the Czech defence and he picked out Sterling for an outstretched, sliding finish at the back post to put England ahead.

England doubled the lead before the break after being awarded a penalty when Sterling was brought down in the area following an excellent buildup and Kane stepping up to dispatch the spot kick ahead of a second-half onslaught.

"It was a brilliant team performance, we pressed, we made it difficult for them, got the goals and were clinical," captain Kane said.

"We're playing good football, everyone is expressing themselves, we have young, hungry players and it showed tonight."

The visitors threatened twice from set pieces shortly after half-time, Tomas Soucek heading just wide of goal and David Pavelka firing right at Jordan Pickford in the England goal from close range.

Sancho was denied on the doorstep just before the hour mark, his tame shot blocked by the Czech defence after Kane picked him out with a perfect cutback pass from the endline.

However, the Three Lions found their third minutes later with a fine piece of finishing from Sterling, who settled the ball in the Czech penalty area, spun to his right and curled his second goal of the night in around Jiri Pavlenka.

Gareth Southgate brought on Declan Rice following the goal, allowing the West Ham midfielder to make his England debut after switching his allegiances from Ireland on Feb. 13 and enduring a controversial lead-up to the match because of a social media post he made in 2015.

Sterling was withdrawn from the match in the 69th minute after completing his hat trick -- his first ever for country -- making way for Chelsea teen Callum Hudson-Odoi, who was handed his first senior England appearance.

England play Montenegro in three days in another Euro qualifier before regrouping in June to face Netherlands in the semifinals of the Nations League in Portugal, with the hosts paired with Switzerland in the other last-four match.