England 5-0 San Marino
Friday, 12 October, 2012
A brace apiece for Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck guides Lions to victory
ENGLAND cruised to victory to go top of World Cup qualifying Group H as San Marino were put to the sword at Wembley.
Captain Wayne Rooney scored his 30th and 31st international goals to move fifth in his country’s all-time scoring charts.
Rooney’s Manchester United team-mate Danny Welbeck bagged a brace of his own while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored his first senior England goal to cap a comfortable victory.
The hosts dominated possession from the start and Oxlade-Chamberlain saw an early long-range effort tipped over the bar by San Marino goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini.
And San Marino had a lucky escape on seven minutes when Simoncini’s airborne challenge on Theo Walcott left him in a crumpled heap inside the box.
The Arsenal forward received treatment on the pitch but could not continue and was replaced by Aaron Lennon shortly afterwards.
But England soon regained their momentum and after Rooney went close with a couple of long-range efforts, Oxlade-Chamberlain brought an excellent save out of Simoncini from the edge of the area.
Rooney then sent a far-post header from Tom Cleverley's cross narrowly wide before Michael Carrick smashed a shot against the bar.
Welbeck should have steered in the rebound but somehow managed to smash his follow up against a post.
England continued to pour forward in an attempt to open the scoring and they got their reward on 34 minutes when Welbeck was upended by Simoncini inside the box.
Rooney had no hesitation in stepping up to take the spot-kick and duly rammed the ball home from 12 yards.
Within three minutes, England had doubled their lead when Welbeck acrobatically turned home Lennon’s low cross.
Rooney was denied by a brilliant Simoncini save before the break and Carrick's shot was deflected away from danger immediately afterwards.
From the corner, Gary Cahill really should have scored but when Leighton Baines picked him out at the far post.
But the Chelsea man shinned the ball rather than catching it cleanly on the volley as he intended.
England started the second half as they finished the first, bossing possession and leaving San Marino chasing shadows.
Cahill had the first real chance after the interval, but his header went harmlessly wide.
Everton left-back Baines then went close when he curled a 25-yard free-kick just past the post..
Hodgson decided to inject a bit more life into his midfield by introducing Jonjo Shelvey for his debut in place of Carrick.
The Liverpool man had only been called up on Monday and was actually suspended from England Under-21's play-off win over Serbia earlier today.
But FIFA's eligibility rules meant he could play for the seniors and the 20-year-old's introduction was immediately followed by another Rooney-Welbeck one-two.
Lennon was about to get a free-kick when Rooney fired home from the edge of the area, a landmark goal which means he has only four more men to overtake and become England's greatest marksman.
Yet again, Welbeck followed up almost instantly, this time at the near post after Cleverley provided the cross for him to prod home from close range.
Hodgson had seen enough to get Rooney off in readiness for Tuesday's more testing assignment with Poland in Warsaw.
It meant he was only watching when Oxlade-Chamberlain made his own little bit of history 14 minutes from time, tucking himself behind Tommy Lawton, Michael Owen, and England's youngest goalscorer of all, Rooney.