Three Lions maul toothless San Marino
Braces from skipper Wayne Rooney and United team-mate Danny Welbeck, and a goal from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain saw England pick up another three points in their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.
England controlled possession from the outset and camped in the San Marino half. As a testament, Joe Hart touched the ball just four times in the entire half.
The home side were forced into an early substitution though, as Aaron Lennon replaced Theo Walcott, who went off injured after a collision with goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini - a challenge which should have seen the Sammarinese man sent off.
Still, it took 33 minutes to break the deadlock, and that was through a penalty; Simoncini bought down Welbeck after the striker’s prod took the ball away from the advancing keeper. Rooney thumped the ball into the back of the net for his first goal of the season.
Two minutes later it was 2-0 as Welbeck repeated his trickery from the Euros to back heel Aaron Lennon’s cross past Simoncini.
But it was a half England won’t be too pleased about. Considering the amount of squandered chances against the world’s worst team, it should have been four or five by half time.
It was the same after the break, all England possession and 11 men behind the ball for San Marino. However, just like the first half, Roy Hodgson’s men were restricted to pot-shots from the edge of the area, and had little sense of creativity.
A Leighton Baines free-kick was the first genuine attempt of the second half, but the Everton full-back’s attempt skimmed the roof of the net.
Minutes later, Rooney made it 3-0 after a brilliant passage of play. Substitute Jonjo Shelvey, making his first team debut, crossed an excellent ball to Baines, who headed the ball to Aaron Lennon. The Tottenham winger’s heavy touch ran into Rooney’s path and the stand-in skipper’s instinct saw him curl the ball into the far corner with his first touch.
His 31st goal for England also saw Rooney move into fifth place on the all-time England top-scorers list.
Welbeck took advantage of the gaps in the San Marino defence to convert Tom Cleverley’s cross past Simoncini to make it 4-0, before Oxlade-Chamberlain made it five with an exquisite curling shot into the top corner from another Cleverley set-up.
The Manchester United youngster almost scored a goal of his own in the last minute of normal time, but his shot was blocked by the sea of San Marino shirts in the area.
The visitors produced one shot all game. National “legend” and top goal-scorer Andy Selva was one-on-one with Joe Hart before firing wide. That was it for a team who quite obviously came with no intention other than try to keep the score below double figures.
ENGLAND: Hart 8, Walker 6, Cahill 7, Jagielka 6, Baines 8, Carrick 5, Walcott 4, Cleverley 8, Oxlade-Chamberlain 8, Welbeck 7, Rooney 8. Subs: Lennon (Walcott ’10) 7, Shelvey (Carrick ’66) 7, Carroll (Rooney ’73) 6.
Not Used: Ruddy, Forster, Cole, Lescott, Shawcross, Milner, Johnson, Defoe.
SAN MARINO: Simoncini 7, Vitaoli 5, Simoncini 5, Brolli 5, Palazzi 5, Cibelli 4, Coppini 4, Rinaldi 4, Della Valle 4, Gasperoni 4, Cervellini 4. Subs: Buscarini (Coppini ’75) 4, Selva (Rinaldi ’78) 4, Bacciocchi (Vitaioli ’83) 4.
Not Used: Valentini, Bollini, Mazza, Vannucci, Marani, Vitaioli.
Booked: Simoncini, Rinaldi.
Quays News Man of the Match: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - The young Arsenal man worked his socks off throughout the game, he always wanted the ball, and was always trying to retrieve it. His first goal for the senior national team was special and capped a fantastic night for the youngster.. Hodgson will be in no rush to let Stuart Pearce have him back for the Under-21s.
By Will Moorcroft
THE iconic Racecourse Hotel will soon be another also-ran ... Read more
ONE hundred thousand Manchester United fans lined the city's stre ... Read more
WITH one half of Manchester left reeling from the news ... Read more
WITHINGTON residents are celebrating a ... Read more
HAZEL Blears has defended the Labour Party's refusal to ... Read more
ALTRINCHAM runner, Dave Norman has told how he beat frostbite ... Read more
A DOMINOES league has taken its ... Read more
CHIEF Constable of Greater Manchester Police Peter Fahy has suggested ... Read more
PROTESTORS gathered in Ashton-Under-Lyne in Greater Manchester today t... Read more
FIGURES released last week show that long-term unemployment has increa ... Read more