England thrashes San Marino 8-0 in WCup qualifier
England showed no mercy in its World Cup qualifier against San
Marino on Friday, thrashing the joint-bottom team in the FIFA
rankings 8-0 to record its largest win in 26 years.
Jermain Defoe scored in each half, Wayne Rooney took his
international tally to 34 goals, and there were other goals from
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Frank Lampard, Ashley Young and Daniel
Sturridge at the Stadio Olimpico.
An own goal by Alessandro Della Valle set the visitors on the
way to their biggest margin of victory since an 8-0 win over Turkey
in a European Championship qualifier in 1987.
It was the perfect warm-up for England’s attackers ahead of
Tuesday’s crunch match against Group H leader Montenegro, which is
two points clear of Roy Hodgson’s side after five games and halfway
”It couldn’t have been much better could it?” Hodgson said.
”I thought it was a very, very good, professional performance and
obviously we are a class above our opponents.”
Little can be read into this performance by a largely
second-string England lineup, however.
It was always going to be a case of how many the visitors racked
up against a team with just one win in history – in a friendly
against Liechtenstein in 2004 – and which was heading into the game
on the back of 50 losses in a row.
And by halftime, when England was 5-0 ahead, there was a chance
the national team’s record win – 13-0 over Ireland in 1882 – could
It was embarrassingly one-sided, and Germany coach Joachim Loew
would have used this game as evidence after arguing this week that
there should be a pre-qualifying round for the so-called smaller
nations. There was ironic applause whenever England goalkeeper Joe
Hart touched the ball.
The likes of captain Steven Gerrard, Ashley Cole and Glen
Johnson should return on Tuesday after being rested here, giving
fringe players a chance to stake their claims.
”I think it was one of those games where everyone brought his
straw to the water,” Hodgson said. ”I wouldn’t like to criticize
”It was really good to see so many players, who haven’t got
many caps to their name, showing they deserve to be in the England
squad. When it’s their turn to play they can come up with the
The match gave England’s players a chance to boost their goal
tallies – and Rooney’s goal inches him closer to Michael Owen, who
is fourth on the country’s all-time list with 40.
The first goal was actually scored by a San Marino player,
center back Della Valle turning the ball into his own net in the
12th from a cross by marauding left back Leighton Baines.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, who volleyed against the bar early on, made
it 2-0 in the 28th after exchanging a one-two with Rooney and then
headed down for Defoe to tap in for his first goal for club or
country in 2013.
There was still time in the final six minutes of the first half
for Young to smash in a wonderful 30-yard strike off the underside
of the bar, before Lampard coolly slotted in a sidefooted finish
after Rooney dummied a cut-back from Baines.
It was the first time England had scored five goals in a first
half since a win over Luxembourg in 1999, and the visitors weren’t
stopping there with Rooney getting in on the act with a curling
free kick in the 54th. Unsure of his place in Manchester United’s
starting lineup at present, Rooney is still the No. 1 striker for
England and he has now scored in four straight international
Substitute Sturridge grabbed his first England goal by heading
in Young’s cross in the 70th, and Defoe wrapped up the scoring in
the 77th by flicking in a cross from Tottenham teammate Kyle
”Often when you’re leading by that margin at halftime, the
second halves tend to die out but this one didn’t,” Hodgson
England has a central-defensive injury crisis at the moment,
with Rio Ferdinand, Michael Dawson and Gary Cahill all pulling out
this week. But a backline containing no first-choice defenders
wasn’t troubled once in a professional display by Hodgson’s