England showed a professional nature to destroy minnows San Marino with an 8-0 victory and take some form into Tuesday’s big game against Montenegro.
Goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jermain Defoe, Frank Lampard, Ashley Young and an own goal from Alessandro Della Valle made the score 5-0 to the 1966 World Cup winners at half-time.
Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge added to the score-line before Defoe grabbed a second and it was a good night for the faithful England fans who had travelled to the small country.
Just ten minutes into the game, England had hit the cross-bar. Joleon Lescott’s long ball was headed down perfectly by Rooney, and Oxlade-Chamberlain beat the goalkeeper with a dipping volley but not the frame of the goal.
The Three Lions took the lead with a helping hand from their inferior opponents. Leighton Baines’ low cross should have easily been cleared, but Della Valle made a mess of it and turned it past his own goalkeeper, giving the away side an inevitable lead.
They nearly added a second in the 15th minute and probably should have. Lampard flicked on Baines’ corner, and Defoe had a free header at the back post but turned it wide from four yards. It was a poor miss from the Tottenham Hotspur striker, who has not scored since a Boxing Day win over Aston Villa.
Oxlade-Chamberlain had an impressive game, and got a deserved goal when he played a one-two with Rooney on the edge of the box before he rifled into the bottom corner from ten yards. Just after, Defoe would have a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside but the former West Ham United striker would break his goal duck on the 35th minute.
It was a well-worked goal as Rooney’s chipped cross was headed back across goal by Oxlade-Chamberlain and the lethal hitman was there to prod in and scored his first goal of 2013. It started a seven minute period that gave England three goals.
England’s fourth goal was a special one thanks to a stunning strike from Young. He picked it up from 30 yards and rifled a thumping shot that flew into the top corner, and delighted the travelling England fans. Just three minutes later, England managed to make it 5-0 thanks to their skipper for the night.
Baines’ low cross was shrewdly left by Rooney for on the on-rushing Lampard, who went above David Platt in the England goalscoring records with a tidy finish that made it a good first half’s work. England dominated the possession in the opening period, with a massive 78% in their favour and picked up where they left off in the second half.
Rooney was involved in making three of the goals so far, but had yet to get one himself but he changed that with a fantastic free-kick. He stood over the ball that was around 35 yards out before whipping a delightful shot that flew over a poorly-constructed wall and landed in the bottom corner.
Roy Hodgson made some changes and Sturridge came on for Rooney looking for his first England goal. He should have had it when he headed Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross against the post but wouldn’t be kept out for long as he nodded in Young’s lofted cross in the 70th minute.
Defoe added his second when he tapped in Kyle Walker’s cross from six yards and should have had a hat-trick but headed wide from four yards. It didn’t matter though as it ended 8-0 and recorded England’s biggest win since a demolition of Turkey in 1987.
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Kyle Dixon