More

England cruise past San Marino to qualify for Euro 2016

Roy Hodgson will be delighted with Euro 2016 qualification
Roy Hodgson will be delighted with Euro 2016 qualification

Wayne Rooney moved level with Sir Bobby Charlton's goals record as England won 6-0 in San Marino to qualify for Euro 2016.

Walcott stepped off the bench on 67 minutes and within 60 seconds he made it 4-0 after a Fabian Delph cross from the left fell to him at the back post and he converted from close range with his first touch.

The Three Lions skipper converted a fortuitous penalty to open the scoring in Serravalle to move on to 49 goals, but he was substituted just before the hour and will now look to break the record in Tuesday's Group E clash with Switzerland at Wembley.

An own goal extended the lead before half-time before Ross Barkley scored his first England goal just after the interval.

Theo Walcott stepped off the bench to score a brace either side of a goal from fellow substitute Harry Kane to complete the comfortable rout.

It means England have won all seven games in Group E and are also the first team to qualify for the European Championships in France next summer, with three games to spare, a feat no other Three Lions side has managed.

England dominated from the first whistle and took the lead courtesy of a dubious penalty which the referee appeared to award for Mirko Palazzi's pull on John Stones' shirt in the area as he looked to get on the end of a James Milner free-kick from the right.

Rooney stepped up to send Aldo Simoncini the wrong way as he bagged his 49th England goal. He almost broke the record six minutes later with a fine strike from the left side of the area which Simoncini did well to parry and then regained his composure to save Milner's follow-up effort.

Milner and Jonjo Shelvey both tried their luck from outside the area but were off target as England continued to dominate proceedings.

They did extend the lead on the half-hour mark when San Marino defender Cristian Brolli got up high in the area to try and cut out Luke Shaw's left-wing cross, but could only divert the ball off his head into the bottom corner of his own goal.

On 39 minutes Milner put a corner in from the right which Stones met in the middle but his downward header didn't have the legs to beat Simoncini.

Simoncini then produced the save of the game on 43 minutes as he made amends following a defensive mix-up with twin brother Davide by tipping a fierce close-range strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain over his own crossbar.

England made an excellent start to the second half with a goal inside 13 seconds, with Barkley getting off the mark for his country by heading in an Oxlade-Chamberlain cross from the right by-line after the Arsenal man made a surging run straight into the San Marino half immediately from the kick-off.

Walcott stepped off the bench on 67 minutes and within 60 seconds he made it 4-0 after a Fabian Delph cross from the left fell to him at the back post and he converted from close range with his first touch.

Tottenham striker Kane, who replaced Rooney, got in on the act on 77 minutes with his first goal of the new season as he latched on to Shelvey's defence-splitting pass in the area and then coolly lifted his effort over the advancing Simoncini.

Walcott got on the end of a lovely Barkley pass a minute later before sliding a shot in from inside the area to make it 6-0 and round off the scoring.

However, the Arsenal man should have grabbed his hat-trick on 82 minutes but fired wide with just Simoncini to beat after good work from Stones.

George Preston,

Discover the latest articles

Read past articles