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Dublin: 9°C Monday 26 October 2020

England score 5 in second gear as Rooney nears record

Nine Euro qualifiers took place this evening.

Wayne Rooney celebrates his goal.
Wayne Rooney celebrates his goal.
Image: PA Wire/Press Association Images

ENGLAND MADE IT two wins from two in Euro 2016 qualifying with a routine 5-0 defeat of perennial whipping boys San Marino at a subdued Wembley Stadium on Thursday.

Wayne Rooney took his international goal tally to 42 and forced Alessandro Della Valle into a late own goal, while Phil Jagielka, Danny Welbeck and substitute Andros Townsend also found the target.

Roy Hodgson’s side toiled before finally erecting a scoreline that reflected the gulf between the two teams, but against a country classed 208th and joint-last in the current FIFA ranking, it was a game from which the England manager will have learnt precious little.

Having won 2-0 away to Switzerland in their Group E opener, England have now prevailed in what are likely to be their hardest and easiest fixtures of the qualifying campaign. They play away to Estonia on Sunday.

The mismatch told in the Wembley atmosphere, which seemed more like the polite chatter of a tennis match as England set about dismantling their stubbornly unadventurous opponents in front of a modest crowd of 55,990.

Visiting goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini provided an early moment of novelty by conceding an indirect free-kick for the rare offence of handling the ball twice, but he atoned by parrying Rooney’s shot.

Simoncini repelled further efforts from Rooney and Raheem Sterling, only to trip over one of his own team-mates as he came for a James Milner corner in the 18th minute, allowing Everton defender Jagielka to head England in front.

Matteo Vitaioli gave the hosts a scare by cutting in from the left and shooting wide, but Rooney made it 2-0 shortly before half-time with a penalty after he had been caught by a high boot from Andy Selva.

The Manchester United striker now stands two goals behind third-place Jimmy Greaves in the all-time England scoring chart, with leader Bobby Charlton seven goals ahead of him on 49.

Hodgson sent on Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at half-time and within four minutes the latter had created England’s third goal, charging down a clearance and crossing for Arsenal team-mate Welbeck to poke home.

It should have been the precursor to an avalanche, but initially, San Marino resisted.

Simoncini denied Rooney three times and saved headers from Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere, while Lallana was wrongly denied his first England goal by an offside flag after Oxlade-Chamberlain’s crisp shot flicked off him and into the net.

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Townsend was introduced shortly after and he added a fourth goal in the 72nd minute, cutting in from the right flank and whipping a low shot inside the bottom-right post from 20 yards.

Della Valle inadvertently diverted Rooney’s cross past Simoncini six minutes later, but despite the stadium announcer crediting the goal to the United striker, Greaves’s lead was not eroded further.

Tonight’s Euro 2016 qualification results

Group C

Belarus 0-2 Ukraine
Macedonia 3-2 Luxembourg
Slovakia 2-1 Spain

Group E

Lithuania 1-0 Estonia
Slovenia 1-0 Switzerland

Group G

Liechtenstein 0-0 Montenegro
Moldova 1-2 Austria
Sweden 1-1 Russia 1

- © AFP, 2014

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