England had made the perfect start to the Euro 2028 qualifiers, with two wins from their first two matches. But things were about to get very special indeed in what was, admittedly, a relatively weak group.
And, there were lots and lots of goals…
Euro Qualis part one
Our path to Euro 2028 continued with a qualifier against Bosnia & Herzegovina. We got off to a great start as Jude Bellingham fired home the loose ball after a Phil Foden free-kick, then Mason Greenwood robbed a defender and raced through to score to send us in 2-0 up at the break.
Foden added a third after the break, his 25th goal for his country, before Raheem Sterling went and got himself a straight red card with a “horror tackle.” The result saw us set a record 11th consecutive win.
A few days later was Cyprus away and Harvey Elliott came into the team for Sterling, with Sancho moving to the left. Unsurpisingly, that man Bellingham was at it again, scoring in the 19th and 20th minutes after nice moves both assisted by Jadon Sancho. And Declan Rice made it three on the verge of half-time from a Harvey Elliott corner.
Greenwood made it four just after the break, after Rice cleared a corner to him and he ran 60 from inside his own half and converted. Trent Alexander-Arnold wrapped things up with a sublime free-kick from all of 30 yards for a routine 5-0 success. That put us joint-top with Bosnia with a game in hand.
Euro Qualis part two
The next round of games began with a trip to Poland and Greenwood continued his fine form. He hit a delicious scissor kick from the edge of the box to open the scoring after 4 minutes then teed up Sancho to double the lead after 8 minutes. Elliott finished things off late on to confirm a 3-0 win, in a game in which we handed a debut to exciting 19-year-old Coventry City striker Aristide Guei.
Next up was Kazakhstan at home and I expected a big win. And we got a great start as Sancho went down the left and won a penalty inside 16 seconds. Elliott stepped up to coolly convert.
But what followed was, well, pretty special, even if it was against a very poor Kazakhstan side. Fikayo Tomori doubled the lead on 4 minutes, then Greenwood scored two in two minutes to make it 4-0 inside 15 minutes. He wrapped up a hat-trick on 32 minutes and the floodgates truly opened with Foden, a brace from Sancho and Tomori wrapping up a hat-trick. And, the Kazakhs had a player sent off on 44 minutes. We’d had 35 shots and scored 10 goals.
Half-time: England 10 (Ten)-0 Kazakhstan
The second half wasn’t as mad, but we still bagged 7 more goals. Elliott scored twice to collect his hat-trick, Bellingham got on the scoresheet, Sancho got his hat-trick, Greenwood got his fourth and Faustino Anjorin came on to score twice.
All of our front three scored hat-tricks, Elliott, Greenwood and Bellingham all got assist hat-tricks. While Greenwood’s haul took him to 32 goals in 47 caps and saw him score in five matches in a row.
It’s easily the highest score I’ve ever had on FM and the highest score I’ve ever seen on the game. In fact, it also broke England’s all-time record win of 13-0 over Ireland in February 1882, in which Aston Villa’s Howard Vaughton scored five.
England 17 (Seventeen)-0 Kazakhstan
This crushing win saw us top of the group with 6 wins out of 6, 37 goals scored, and zero goals conceded. And we were basically through to the Euros, six points clear with only two games remaining.
Euro Qualis part three
The qualifying campaign closed with a trip to closest challengers Bosnia & Herzegovina then Cyprus at home. But our plans were affected by Bellingham picking up a hamstring injury that ruled him out.
We immediately went on the attack in Bosnia but, despite dominating them, went in at 0-0 at half-time. But we soon got ourselves in front as Foden’s relatively tame looking shot was fumbled in by the keeper. Bosnia had offered nothing so I wasn’t concerned by them equalising, but substitute Raheem Sterling got us a second in injury-time.
And that 2-0 win confirmed our place at Euro 2028!
I decided to change things up for the final game, with Harry Kane and Sterling starting alongside young Fulham midfielder Curtis Morton, Arsenal holding midfielder Tom Lakowski and Crystal Palace right-back Jonathan Simpson. Interestingly, that meant that in 2027 we had a familiar looking front three of Sancho, Sterling and Kane.
And one of this trio got things going, as Sterling scored on 29 minutes. He then doubled his tally after a cheeky assist by Foden to tee him up for his 30th goal for England. At the other end of the scale, centre-back Jason Knight scored his first goal for his country from a Morton free-kick shortly after half-time. The latter then also got his first England goal as he went for goal directly from a free-kick.
A landmark moment as Harry Kane then became the first player ever to score 60 goals for England in his 110th cap. Then Sancho got in on the act – with Foden getting his third assist – in the 54th minute, making it 4 goals in 6 minutes.
I made a few changes and that basically killed the game off. But a 6-0 win saw us wrap up the group in style and qualify with a 100% record having not conceded a single goal – which no other team achieved – and scoring 45. Poland qualified with us by beating Bosnia 2-1 on the final day.
Kylian Mbappe finished as the top scorer in qualifying, scoring 21 of France’s impressive 55 goals – although they did play 10 games. However, Phil Foden was the best player in the qualifiers, with an average rating of 8.73 ahead of Mbappe’s 8.71.
This saw Foden break the Euro qualifying average rating record, while his 7 assists this season was also a new England record. Furthermore, our eight games without conceding was also a new Euro qualis record.
Join us next time as we join Europe’s best in the European Championships 2028 in Italy.