England became the first team to qualify for the 2016 European Championship by beating San Marino 6-0 on Saturday, with Wayne Rooney’s opening goal tying him for first place on the country’s all-time scoring list.
Rooney set England on its way to a seventh straight win in Group E by converting a 13th-minute penalty to move onto 49 international goals – the same total as Bobby Charlton.
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An own goal in the 30th minute was followed by second-half goals from Ross Barkley, Theo Walcott (two) and Harry Kane, ensuring England a top-two finish in the group with three games to spare.
Rooney was substituted in the 59th, denying him the opportunity to break Charlton’s record against San Marino’s part-timers. The next chance for Rooney to hold the scoring record outright should come at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday, when England hosts Switzerland.
Nearly 12 years after scoring his first international goal, Rooney was gifted the opportunity to move alongside Charlton on 49 when England was awarded a penalty for handball – even though England defender John Stones appeared to be the player to make contact with the ball with his hand.
There was a look of bemusement on the faces of both sets of players but Rooney did not mind, stepping up moments later to send the goalkeeper the wrong way. He was mobbed by teammates, then waved to family members in the crowd.
”It’s a great achievement,” Kane said. ”We are all buzzing for him.”
It was like a practice session at times for England against opponents who included a barman, a lawyer, a pharmacist and a student, and it was a laborer – Cristian Brolli – who headed in the own goal to make it 2-0.
Barkley headed in the third for England just 15 seconds after the restart, Walcott scored in the 68th and 78th minutes and Kane grabbed his first goal of the season in the 77th.
Also Saturday, Estonia beat Lithuania 1-0 through Konstantin Vassiljev’s 71st-minute goal. Second-place Switzerland hosts Slovenia later.