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There were no surprises at Wembley yesterday, as England continued their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign with a comfortable 5-0 demolishing of San Marino. It wasn’t the most thrilling of displays from Roy Hodgson’s side, but in typical English fashion they did enough to get the job done.
The Three Lions dominated from the start, as expected, and went ahead with Jagielka’s header midway through the first half. Captain Wayne Rooney doubled the lead from the penalty spot just before half-time, followed by Welbeck and Townsend netting in the second half.
The England captain is now onto 42 international goals, two behind Jimmy Greaves, six behind Gary Lineker, and seven behind Sir Bobby Charlton. Rooney won the penalty, after nearly getting kung-fu kicked by Andy Selva. He stepped up with class fashion and great technique, while burying it in the upper 90. However, in the second half he missed several crucial opportunities to further his tally.
Unfortunately, these games are horribly formulaic, San Marino flooded their defense and were stubborn for a while, but they were outclassed throughout and overwhelmed by the end.
“Against teams of this stature, sometimes the results are worse,” offered the manager, Pierangelo Manzaroli. “In the first half, England actually overachieved a bit.” That was a reflection of the hosts’ initial inability to infiltrate the ranks with any great fluency but, inevitably, they improved as the visitors tired.
San Marino have now conceded 300 goals in 65 qualifying games since drawing with Latvia in 2001. It is increasingly hard to justify their participation when the limit of their ambitions is to avoid conceding a cricket score, but they even seemed satisfied to have departed with only five against their name.