Declan Rice became the first West Ham United player to score a FIFA World Cup qualifying goal for England in 40 years as the Three Lions beat Hungary 4-0 on Thursday evening.
The Hammers midfielder struck England’s fourth goal to complete an emphatic victory for Gareth Southgate’s side in Budapest, beating goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi with a low shot from outside the penalty area.
The goal, Rice’s second for his country on the occasion of his 25th cap, was the first World Cup qualifying goal scored by a West Ham player for England since Trevor Brooking netted against the same opposition in June 1981.
The Irons star enjoyed a superb evening, completing 61 of his 66 passes, making two tackles, two interceptions and a clearance, in addition to his late goal.
Earlier, Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane and Harry Maguire had also netted on a successful night for Gareth Southgate’s side, who are also being coached by West Ham’s Paul Nevin.
England have won four qualifiers out of four to go five points clear of Poland and Hungary at the top of Group I as they continue their quest to reach next year’s final tournament in Qatar.
Rice and company return to action at Wembley on Sunday evening, when they host Andorra.
Elsewhere, Tomáš Souček captained the Czech Republic to a dominant 1-0 win over Belarus in Group E in Ostrava, where fellow Hammers Vladimír Coufal and Alex Král also started for the victors.
Hellas Verona midfielder Antonín Barák struck the only goal of the game eleven minutes before half-time as the Czechs kept themselves in touch with group leaders Belgium and strengthened their hold on second place.
The Czech’s can draw level with the Belgians, who won 5-2 in Estonia on Thursday, on ten points if they can win in Brussels on Sunday evening.
Important points for the world cup qualification! Many thanks to Czech fans for all your support. You were amazing. Get ready for Sunday and wish us good luck. #CzechRepublic— Tomáš Souček (@tomassoucek28) September 2, 2021
Pablo Fornals was an unused substitute for Spain on his return to the senior international setup. As it turned out, Spain were beaten 2-1 in Sweden in Group B, meaning they drop to second in the standings behind their hosts ahead of Sunday’s home game with Georgia.
In African World Cup qualifying, Saïd Benrahma was introduced as a substitute on the hour-mark as Algeria thrashed Djibouti 8-0 in Blida.
Algeria were already six goals up when Benrahma entered the pitch, with former Leicester City striker Islam Slimani scoring four times against opponents reduced to ten men by Batio Youssouf’s early red card.
The Desert Foxes can expect to have a more challenging time when they face Burkina Faso in the Moroccan city of Marrakech next Tuesday.
At age-group level, Krisztián Hegyi started for Hungary U21s in their 2023 UEFA European U21 Championship Group B qualifier with Israel in Gyor, but ended on the losing side as the visitors triumphed 2-1.
Hungary will seek to bounce back when they travel to San Marino on Tuesday.