England celebrated their 1,000th game with aplomb as a thoroughly entertaining 7-0 win over Montenegro ensured their qualification for Euro 2020.
Before all that though, the reveal of the home side's lineup sparked a very heated debate on social media - as it so often does.
The principle concern was the continued absence of Leicester City star James Maddison, though even skipper Harry Kane wasn't immune from criticism - with many calling for the Tottenham striker to be dropped for the in-form Tammy Abraham.
Those Kane t
Starting Mount over Maddison is a sackable offense. https://t.co/fOURpJ9YR0— Tom (@CynicalLive) November 14, 2019
Tammy Abraham should be in the 11. Inform and scoring goals. Harry Kane should be dropped #teacherspet— Lewis (@waynelewiscfc) November 14, 2019
All joking aside, joining #mufc would all but guarantee James Maddison a starting spot in the England team.— ً (@utdrobbo) November 14, 2019
The only reason Mason Mount is starting is because he plays in South London. pic.twitter.com/otmfJmKuSc
Even more amusing than the meltdown that ensued after the line up was posted, was the fact that #SouthgateOut actually started to trend before kick off.
Some of the tweets were obviously ironic but as for some of the others... I'm not so sure.
Stones is crap. He wouldn't get in the Palace back four. Cahill, Tomkins and Kelly all better. Sorry but true. #SouthgateOut— Steve Brookstein (@stevebrookstein) November 14, 2019
All the abuse was largely forgotten ten minutes in when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain latched onto the end of Ben Chilwell's lofted pass to fire England into the lead.
The goal was the Liverpool midfielder's first since June 2017 and social media was awash with praise for a player who has only recently returned from injury.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is the best midfielder England have.— Sam McGuire (@SamMcGuire90) November 14, 2019
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's last six goals:— bet365 (@bet365) November 14, 2019
- A 30-yard screamer
- Drilled into the bottom corner from 25 yards
- A golazo with the outside of his foot
- Half-volley into the top corner
- 25-yard strike into the bottom corner
- A well-struck shot into the bottom corner pic.twitter.com/NnSl88JPIU
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has scored his first England goal since June 2017.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 14, 2019
A welcome sight for the midfielder. pic.twitter.com/LaFyklJiQd
The creator of England's opening goal would soon be celebrating an unconventional hat-trick of assists as the home side grabbed a stranglehold on the game.
Chilwell provided the deadball deliveries for Kane to head home the Three Lions' second and third goals, rightly attracting a huge amount of love on Twitter for their quality.
A hat-trick of assists for Ben Chilwell. I’m going to hazard a guess that he’s the first ever leftback to do that in the opening 25 minutes of an @England international in 1000 games.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) November 14, 2019
Chilwell out here growing peaches. Great deliveries.— Alex Goldberg (@AlexGoldberg_) November 14, 2019
Ben Chilwell tonight:— Football Tweet (@Football__Tweet) November 14, 2019
⏱ Minutes: 24
Assists: 3 pic.twitter.com/88V5SSgovt
England weren't finished there either, with Marcus Rashford adding a fourth goal before Harry Kane completed his hat trick to make it 5-0.
The Three Lions were on fire! Or are Montenegro just not very good at playing football?
Twitter largely chose to focus on the latter theory...
Montenegro are currently putting up less of a fight than Sterling and Gomez did in the St George's Park canteen.— James Olley (@JamesOlley) November 14, 2019
England 5 Montenegro 0 - Kane completes his hat-trick. At this rate Wayne Rooney could see his all-time scoring record go tonight...— Simon Peach (@SimonPeach) November 14, 2019
Montenegro's defence when England ask if they can score another goal: pic.twitter.com/TqCv3KGoxt— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) November 14, 2019
With England on cloud nine, the second half witnessed a momentous moment as Maddison was finally given his Three Lions debut - albeit from the bench.
Kane was also withdrawn, to be replaced by Abraham and two darlings of fantasy football were given a rousing reception.
Maddison finally makes an appearance for England. pic.twitter.com/U6Jv0frWmJ— Harry (@Harrylcfc123) November 14, 2019
Let’s go Tammy — CarefreeYouth (@CarefreeYouth) November 14, 2019
Congratulations to James Maddison. A fully deserved 1st England cap — Arlo White (@arlowhite) November 14, 2019
After an own goal had stretched England's lead to six, fans were treated to another notable substitution.
Joe Gomez, who was involved in an altercation with Raheem Sterling in the week, replaced Mason Mount with twenty minutes left to play - apparently to some subdued boos.
Yes, the TV cameras did cut to Sterling sheepishly applauding his teammate in the stand, and yes, Twitter did have a field day.
Did I really hear some booing for Joe Gomez there? Pathetic.— Phil McNulty (@philmcnulty) November 14, 2019
The big man on for England. Ludicrously Gomez appears to get a few boos— Matt Dickinson (@DickinsonTimes) November 14, 2019
Very strange reaction there... a smattering of boos when Joe Gomez came on. Bizarre. His behaviour has been impeccable after the bust-up. You could see Raheem Sterling clapping him from the stands when Gomez came on.— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) November 14, 2019
England put the gloss on a near perfect performance with a SEVENTH goal - this time courtesy of Abraham.
It was his first international goal and capped off a supreme display from Southgate's side who maybe, just maybe, could do something special in this summer European Championships.