Jermain Defoe makes scoring return as England beats Lithuania
LONDON (AP) — Jermain Defoe made a scoring return after more than three years out of the England team as the Group F leaders eased to a 2-0 victory over Lithuania in World Cup qualifying on Sunday.
The 34-year-old Defoe, who was accompanied onto the pitch by terminally ill five-year-old mascot Bradley Lowery, netted his first England goal since March 2013 in the 21st minute at Wembley Stadium. The Sunderland striker swept in his 20th England goal on his 56th appearance after Raheem Sterling glided through the Lithuanian defense before crossing the ball sweetly to the striker's feet.
Defoe played almost an hour before being replaced by Jamie Vardy and the forward scored with his first touch, carrying his resurgent form for Leicester into international duty. As with Sterling for the opener, the hard work came from Adam Lallana as the creator. It was the Liverpool midfielder's flicked layoff that allowed Vardy to slot the ball low past goalkeeper Ernestas Setkus.
There was increased security in north London and a somber start to the game as Wembley paid tribute to the four people who were killed in a rampage next to the British parliament on Wednesday.
At the midway point in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, England is the only team in Europe yet to concede a goal. Gareth Southgate's side is five points clear of Slovenia, which was at Scotland later Sunday. Slovakia was also playing Malta in a later game.