England v San Marino
9 Oct 2014 - 7:45 PM
England cruised to an expected victory over San Marino as Wayne Rooney edged closer to two personal records.
The Three Lions skipper scored a first-half penalty to take his tally to 42 in 98 games as Roy Hodgson’s side won the game 5-0.
In truth, it could have been more with the ball rarely out of San Marino territory, but the visitors defended in numbers throughout, keeping the score to a minimum. And, with three more points on the board, England will be content as they go to Estonia for their next game on Sunday.
England’s previous meeting with the Sammarinese at Wembley also ended 5-0, and on that night two years ago it took 35 minutes for Wayne Rooney to open the score. This time around, it was ten minutes earlier, as Phil Jagielka nodded the home side in front.
Rooney’s spot-kick, Danny Welbeck, Andros Townsend and an own-goal ensured a comfortable margin of victory.
It was Rooney who had the first sight of goal, forcing an early punch clear from Aldo Simoncini on what was a busy night for the keeper. Then Welbeck’s strike seconds later took a deflection off Gary Cahill to send it wide of the mark.
But it took until the 18th minute for the Three Lions to get another shot on goal, again from the skipper, as the visitors opted for the ‘safety in numbers’ approach on the edge of their box. Only striker Andy Selva was stationed in a more advanced position, but still often deep in San Marino territory.
Raheem Sterling then had a chance, beating the offside trap before forcing another parry from Simoncini. From the resulting corner England took the lead. James Milner’s delivery from the left floated towards Jagielka, whose leap seven yards out took him head and shoulders above everyone else. The keeper came looking to take, but lost his footing and the ball dropped into the unguarded net.
In a rare attack, Matteo Vitaioli carved out a chance with a run down the left, cutting in and shooting, but it narrowly missed Joe Hart’s goal as the City stopper marshalled it out of play.
Five minutes before half-time England looked to have made it two when Welbeck attacked a Kieran Gibbs cross, but somehow Simoncini clawed it away in spectacular fashion. However, with England still on the attack, a clumsy, high challenge from Selva on Rooney gave the referee no choice but to award a penalty kick.
And in the 42nd minute, Rooney dispatched with power to net his 42nd goal for his country.
Hodgson made a double switch at the break bringing on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana for Sterling and Jordan Henderson, and it was the Ox who created England’s third.
Charging down an attempted clearance from left-back Manuel Battistini, the Arsenal man was onto the loose ball before pulling back for Welbeck to slip home past Simoncini for his third of the campaign.
Chamberlain had a couple of chances himself, too. First with a 25 yard volley wide of the mark, then with a glancing header inside the box which was flicked away by the keeper.
His third long-distance drive took a deflection off Lallana standing on the penalty spot that sent the ball into the corner of the net, but the assistant referee considered it offside, and the goal was ruled out.
England kept coming and another substitute, Andros Townsend, did grab the fourth and it was a similar finish to his debut goal against Montenegro a year earlier. The Spurs make drifted in from the right and lashed a low left-foot strike which sneaked inside the post, just out of Simoncini’s reach.
Rooney was the instigator in number five, but his subdued celebration suggested even he thought it was an own-goal as his cross was diverted past Simoncini by Allessandro Della Valle.
No doubt the Manchester United striker would have love to have moved closer to Sir Bobby Charlton’s record of 49 goals for England, but he’ll only have to wait three days before having another go in Tallinn.
England (4-3-1-2): 1 Joe Hart (Manchester City); 2 Calum Chambers (Arsenal), 6 Phil Jagielka (Everton), 5 Gary Cahill (Chelsea), 3 Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal); 4 Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), 8 Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), 7 James Milner (Manchester City); 11 Raheem Sterling (Liverpool); Wayne Rooney (Manchester United; captain), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal).
Substitutes: 17 Adam Lallana (Liverpool) for Sterling, ht; 18 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) for Henderson, ht; 19 Andros Townsend (Tottenham Hotspur) for Welbeck 66.
Substitutes not used: 12 Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton), 13 Ben Foster (West Bromwich Albion; GK), 14 Leighton Baines (Everton), 15 Fabian Delph (Aston Villa), 16 Jonjo Shelvey (Swansea City), 20 Rickie Lambert (Liverpool), 21 Fraser Forster (Southampton; GK).
Goals: Jagielka 24, Rooney 43pen, Welbeck 49, Townsend 72, A Della Valle 77og.
Manager: Roy Hodgson
San Marino (5-4-1): 1 Aldo Simoncini (captain); 2 Mirko Palazzi, 4 Fabio Vitaioli, 6 Allesandro Della Valle, 5 Cristian Brolli, 3 Manuel Battistini; 7 Adolfo Hirsch, 8 Nicola Chiaruzzi, 9 Luca Tosi, 11 Matteo Vitaioli; 10 Andy Selva.
Substitutes: 16 Lorenzo Gasperoni for Tosi, 63; 19 Lorenzo Buscarini for Palazzi, 73; 17 Danilo Rinaldi for Selva 86.
Substitutes not used: 12 Ella Bennedettini (GK), 13 Davide Cesarini, 14 Michele Cervellini, 15 Mattia Stefanelli, 17 Danilo Rinaldi, 18 Enrico Gollinucci, 19 Lorenzo Buscarini, 20 Alex Gasperoni, 21 Valentini Carlo, 22 Pier Filipo Mazza.
Bookings: Selva, Rinaldi.
Head coach: Pierangelo Manzaroli.
Referee: Marcin Borski (Poland).
Assistant referees: Rafal Rostkowski and Marcin Boniek (Poland)