Hello and welcome to Sports Mole
's live text coverage of the Euro 2020
qualifier between England
and Czech Republic
at Wembley Stadium. The Three Lions reached the semi-finals of last year's World Cup and have already booked their place in the last four of the inaugural Nations League, which concludes in the summer. Gareth Southgate
has just two matches to come before that semi-final showdown with the Netherlands, starting with this opening Group A game against a Czech side ranked 44th in the world.
ENGLAND TEAM NEWS!
STARTING XI (4-3-3): Pickford; Walker, Keane, Maguire, Chilwell; Henderson, Dier, Dele; Sancho, Kane, Sterling
SUBS: Heaton, Butland, Trippier, Rose, Tarkowski, Rice, Ward-Prowse, Barkley, Wilson, Hudson-Odoi
CZECH REPUBLIC TEAM NEWS!
STARTING XI (4-3-3): Pavlenka; Kaderabek, Celustka, Kalas, Novak; Soucek, Pavelka; Gebre Selassie, Darida, Jankto; Schick
SUBS: Kolar, Koubek, Coufal, Zmrhal, Dockal, Frydek, Masopust, Kral, Suchy, Kudela, Vydra, Skoda
Following a minute's applause for the late, and indeed great, Gordon Banks, Czech Republic get us underway at Wembley. The big team news from England's perspective is that Sancho is handed his full senior debut.
Plenty of eyes will be on Henderson and Dier in the engine room, particularly with Rice on the bench and raring to make his England debut. There have been plenty of withdrawals over the past week, so this is a big chance for fringe players to make an impact.
England are dominating possession in the early stages, which will likely be a theme throughout each of their qualifying matches. The Three Lions are expected to finish top of the Group A standings, ideally with an unbeaten record.
Dier, who has little playing time under his belt at club level over the past couple of months, slides in on Gebre Selassie to concede a free kick.
Chilwell and Walker are offering plenty of width for England. The hosts have seen plenty of the ball but they have not created anything of any note so far. Henderson makes a good run and clips the ball into the box, where Pavlenka is waiting to push it away from goal.
Walker has options in the middle but his cross is cut out by Janko. England are not afraid to commit bodies forward, with four players in white waiting for that cross. Henderson's corner, and the follow-up, are both headed clear.
Soucek follows through on Dier and is rightly given a telling-off by the referee, but no booking. Incidentally, Montenegro and Bulgaria have already played out a 1-1 draw in today's other Group A match - a good result for both England and Czech Republic, you feel.
Now that the match has settled, it is clear to see that England are going with a 4-3-3 as apposed to a 4-2-3-1, with Dele playing in a midfield three alongside Henderson and Dier. The latter of that trio is now down receiving treatment following the challenge from Soucek a couple of minutes ago.
Rice was sent to warm-up as Dier received treatment, but the Tottenham midfielder is back on the field for the time being.
Kane clips the ball into the path of Sterling, who cannot bring it under control with his first touch under pressure from Kaderabek. Sterling went to ground but there was not enough contact to warrant a penalty.
ENGLAND SUB! It is another injury setback for Dier as he hobbles off the field, unable to recover following the clattering from Soucek. Barkley is the man on in his place, not Rice. Think the England fans in attendance are a little disappointed by that!
There is no rhythm to England's game so far. Nearly a quarter of the match has been played and we have yet to see a shot at goal. Czech Republic seem happy to hold out for a point, which would be a great point on their travels.
Novak is having to work hard down the Czech left to keep Walker and Sancho quiet. The Three Lions' play is far too slow at the moment and each cross into the box is being dealt with. Still a long, long way to go, of course.
England have had 72% of the ball so far but have not registered a single shot, as has been the case for the visitors. It is fair to say that the match has not really got going so far.
SHOT! Kaderabek covers plenty of distance down the right and picks out Darida on the edge of the box. The Czech captain decides to have a go at goal for the game's first shot, but it is horribly struck and sails high and wide of the target.
GOAL! ENGLAND 1-0 CZECH REPUBLIC (RAHEEM STERLING)
Sterling's 22nd goal of the season for club and country gives England lift-off in their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign. Kane played a superb reverse ball inside Novak for Sancho to tee up Sterling in front of goal with his first-time pass. A well-worked England goal from their first serious attacking move of the evening.
That is now three goals in three England games for Sterling, who is replicating his club form on the international stage. Credit to Kane and Sancho for their part in the goal, too, with the former dropping deep to collect possession and the latter getting in behind down the right for the first time today.
England are playing with a little more freedom now, with Kane at the heart of everything. This latest pass from deep, aimed towards Sterling, is collected by Pavlenka in the Czech goal. The hosts look good value for a second goal before the break.
for the first time today, the visitors enjoy a sustained spell on the ball in England's half of the field. Schick holds up the ball and it is worked out to the left, where Jankto's cross is blocked. The loose ball is pounced on by a player in red, who in turn is fouled by Barkley.
Dele is the latest player to stay down after being clattered into. Southgate will be hoping that the Tottenham midfielder can run off the injury, unlike clubmate Dier who left the field early on. England are looking very comfortable at the moment.
The match has gone very flat over the last three or four minutes. England looked bright in the five minutes or so after their goal but since then the tempo has dropped. Henderson is the latest player to go to ground, but he is soon back to his feet.
STAT! Sterling's goal ended a sequence of 25 passes, with 10 of England's 11 players touching the ball in the build-up to the goal. It was a very well-worked team goal, culminating in Kane and Sancho linking up for Sterling to slot into an empty net.
England are starting to turn the screw a little as we edge closer to half time. Barkley gets in behind but is unable to pick out Sterling in the middle. Sterling and Sancho also got away from their runners but could not find a way through on goal.
Maguire's ball across the six-yard box is cleared by a visiting player. The Czechs get forward and win their first corner of the match through Dele's clearance. The set-piece is met by the head of Soucek, but only after a foul was conceded.
SHOT! Some good build-up play from England nearly leads to the game's second goal. Barkley feeds the ball into the feet of Kane, whose shot inside the deflects off Kalas and behind for a corner. The hosts need to make this pressure count.
PENALTY! England have a chance to double their lead as the referee has pointed to the penalty spot. Following a sustained spell of pressure, Dele backheeled the ball into the path of Sterling, who was blocked off by Kaderabek and Kalas.
GOAL! ENGLAND 2-0 CZECH REPUBLIC (HARRY KANE, PEN)
It is not the greatest of pens from Kane, but it has enough power on it to get the better of Pavlenka. The Czech keeper got a slight hand to the ball and will be disappointed not to have kept it out.
HALF TIME: ENGLAND 2-0 CZECH REPUBLIC
England take a commanding 2-0 lead into the interval thanks to a close-range finish from Sterling and a penalty from Kane, who played a big part in the opener. Czech republic have offered next to nothing all match and look beaten already.
was forced into an early reshuffle when Eric Dier suffered another injury setback as he limped off the field following a strong challenge from Tomas Soucek, leading to the introduction of Ross Barkley. That change further disrupted the hosts' flow and it took until the 23rd minute for the first shot to arrive, coming via Czech captain Vladimir Darida, whose shot sailed high and wide.
England were in front a minute or so later, though, as a flowing move of 25 passes, which included a touch or more from 10 of their 11 players, culminated in Jadon Sancho
getting in behind Filip Novak and latching on to Harry Kane
's first-time reverse pass. Sancho played the ball across goal for Raheem Sterling
to slide in at the back post, making it three goals in three England appearances for the in-form forward.
The visitors enjoyed the odd spell on the ball, but they never once looked like troubling Jordan Pickford in the first half - Darida's poor attempt included - and they soon found themselves two behind. Sterling got on the end of Dele Alli's backheeled pass and was sandwiched by Pavel Kaderabek and Tomas Kalas
, giving Kane the chance to notch his sixth successful international penalty in a row, though Jiri Pavlenka got something to the ball and should have kept it out.
ENGLAND SUBS: Heaton, Butland, Trippier, Rose, Tarkowski, Rice, Ward-Prowse, Wilson, Hudson-Odoi
CZECH REPUBLIC SUBS: Kolar, Koubek, Coufal, Zmrhal, Dockal, Frydek, Masopust, Kral, Suchy, Kudela, Vydra, Skoda
KICKOFF: England, leading by a couple of first-half goals, get us back underway at Wembley Stadium. The Czechs have it all to do if they are to avoid defeat in their Group A opener, and Silhavy has brought on Vydra for Jankto.
The home side's play is a little frantic at the moment. Czech Republic enjoy a rare attacking move, which ends in a disappointing manner as Darida drives the ball into an England player.
It is England's turn to counter now, but an intended pass in behind for Barkley has a little too much on it and is dealt with. There has been a more even feel to the second half compared to the first.
CLOSE! This is undoubtedly the closest the visitors have come to finding the back of the net. A delivery from the right is glanced goalwards by Soucek and it misses the far post by a matter of inches. Pickford would not have got there.
SAVE! Some good defending from Chilwell halts this latest Czech attack down the right, albeit at the expense of a corner. The visiting side have come out for the second half fired up and should be level. The corner is poorly dealt with and Pavelka has a free shot, which he sends right at Pickford.
SAVE! You have to wonder why the visitors did not play like this in the first half when they are clearly capable of doing so. The ball is helped into the box and Vydra flicks it towards goal with his head, but it is far too central to beat Pickford.
SAVE! England have finally managed to wake up after a slow start to the second half. Henderson's cross is cleared by Kalas into teammate Novak - hitting him on the arm - and the loose ball has to be dealt with by Pavlenka. It was a good save in the end to prevent the own goal.
The Czech Republic have already had three times as many shots in the second half (three) as they did in the first half (one). It has been an incredible turnaround and Silhavy will argue that his side should at least have one goal to show for their efforts.
CHANCE! England could do with a third goal to seal the three points, and they so nearly get it through Sancho. Sterling links up with an onside Kane, who cuts it back to Sancho. The youngster's shot hits Novak and is cleared away before it can trickle over the line, the clearance hitting Dele and spinning over the bar.
GOAL! ENGLAND 3-0 CZECH REPUBLIC (RAHEEM STERLING)
Sterling's incredible season continues as he makes it two braces in three England outings. The Man City forward picks up the loose ball following some good work from Walker through the middle, sees that there is no pass on and curls the ball just inside the post. Great finish!
ENGLAND SUB! With his (new) side three goals to the good, Rice is brought on for his England debut. Dele, who was able to shake off a knock picked up in the first half, is the player to make way.
Sterling has scored 23 goals for club and country combined in 2018-19 (19 for Man City, four for England). The hosts are playing some really nice football now, with Barkley's dinked pass at the end of a positive move being cleared away.
GOAL! ENGLAND 4-0 CZECH REPUBLIC (RAHEEM STERLING)
Sterling has his first ever England hat-trick! This really is a young man at the very top of his game. Barkley powers through the middle and passes the ball to Sterling, who cuts inside and bends the ball past Pavlenka via a huge deflection off Celustka. The shot looked to be on target so Sterling should be credited with the goal.
ENGLAND SUB! This is a strange one. Hudson-Odoi is brought on for his senior England debut, despite never having started a Premier League matches for club side Chelsea. Hat-trick hero Sterling is the player to make way.
STAT! Sterling is the first England player to score a hat-trick at Wembley since Jermain Defoe in September 2010 (vs. Bulgaria), netting with each of his three shots in the game. England are cruising towards three points, with 17 minutes to go.
CLOSE! Walker is caught sleeping and Schick nearly makes him pay, curling the ball inches wide of England's goal with Pickford diving across to his right. Up the other end of the field, Soucek blocks Henderson's shot on the edge of the box.
SAVE! England do not look done just yet, as they push for a fifth goal. Hudson-Odoi is stopped in his tracks but Kane takes over and is only denied by a save from Pavlenka at full stretch. Good goalkeeping!
STAT! Hudson-Odoi (18y 135d) is the youngest player in the history of the England national team to win his first cap in a competitive match (18y 135d), breaking the record held by Duncan Edwards since April 1955 (18y 183d).
England do very well to pas their way out of trouble. Their is a real swagger about the home side's play, with each pass being greeted by cheers from the home fans. The visitors are unable to get anywhere near their opponents at the moment.
CLOSE! Southgate's men switch off and again come close to conceding - not that it will matter in the grand scheme of things. Schick lays the ball off to Vydra in the middle and the Burnley striker's shot flies wide of the target. Good chance, that!
CZECH REPUBLIC SUB! Skoda is on for Schick in the visitors' third and final change. Henderson has once again changed position, moving to the left of the midfield three, having also filled in on the right and through the middle today.
GOAL! ENGLAND 5-0 CZECH REPUBLIC (TOMAS KALAS, OG)
This is a proper shocker from Kalas, who converts the ball into his own net. Pavlenka does well to keep out Hudson-Odoi's fierce shot, but Kalas is unable to adjust his feet in time and the loose ball ricochets into an empty net.
Sterling, unsurprisingly, has just been announced as the sponsors' Man of the Match. This is the first time since 2014 that England have scored five goals at Wembley, and that was against San Marino. Czech Republic, while not brilliant, are far stronger opposition than San Marino.
Hudson-Odoi is fouled by Vydra and lands awkwardly. The youngster is able to continue but that looked like a nasty one. Two minutes have been added on at the end of the match.
FULL TIME: ENGLAND 5-0 CZECH REPUBLIC
It is the perfect start to Euro 2020 qualifying for England as they crush Czech Republic 5-0 at Wembley Stadium in their Group A opener. Sterling will grab the headlines with his hat-trick, but this was a good team display that included a full debut for Sancho and first caps for Rice and Hudson-Odoi. Kane also got on the scoresheet with his first-half pen and Kalas rounded off the scoring late on with a comical own goal.
That concludes Sports Mole
's live text coverage of events from Wembley. An on-the-whistle report can be found by clicking here
, and be sure to join us again tomorrow as we bring you updates from the internationals involving Brazil and Spain. See you then!