Harry Kane scores a hat-trick, one a penalty, as England ease to win in San Marino
San Marino 0–4 England
UEFA European Under-21 Championship
Qualifying Group One
7.30pm, Thursday 10 October 2013
Olympic Stadium, San Marino
By Nicholas Veevers in San Marino
England completed the professional job that was demanded of them by boss Gareth Southgate in San Marino on Thursday night with a 4-0 win to fire them up to second place in their Euro qualifying group.
Goals from Michael Keane and a hat-trick from Harry Kane proved enough to see us home in Serravalle against the group’s bottom side.
And many aspects of England’s play will have pleased Southgate, with the Three Lions showing patience and discipline throughout against a willing and at times overly physical San Marino team.
While he will still be striving for more cutting edge from his side after creating numerous opportunities throughout, the squad will fly home from northern Italy in good spirits ahead of next Tuesday’s match with Lithuania, knowing that a victory there is likely to put them top of Group One.
Southgate had warned his players before the game that they would face a team on the defensive, so when England took the lead after only five minutes it was just what the doctor ordered.
Tom Ince’s pacy corner caused all sorts of panic in the area, with the ball worked on to Raheem Sterling just inside the area. His shot bounced into a crowd of players, where Keane managed to swivel and shoot home his first England goal.
After that early breakthough, England found it tough going to really penetrate a five-man defence, with blue shirts crowding their own area at every opportunity. But with Southgate’s team controlling possession and continually probing, it was only a matter of time before they found a second.
Sterling fired inches wide after a good run and pass from Ravel Morrison before the Liverpool winger really should have got his name on the scoresheet, but headed Ince’s right-wing cross over the bar from close range.
The onslaught continued but England had to wait until the final kick of the first half to get their second and it came from the penalty spot, after Sterling was brought down in the area by San Marino ‘keeper Andrea Manzaroli. The Estonian referee, who had earlier booked Sterling for a dive, then surprised everyone by producing a somewhat harsh red card for Manzaroli.
But the delay as the hosts made their substitution didn’t put off Kane and nor did Sterling who was also keen to take the penalty, as the Spurs man struck the ball home to put England in control at the break.
There was a similar trend in the second half, with England always on the front foot and forcing their hosts further and further back as the game progressed. And they were indebted to sub ‘keeper Andrea Manzaroli, who made some impressive and eye-catching saves to deny Morrison, Kane and Sterling all before the hour mark.
Kane made amends in the 64th minute, though, when Carroll sent him clear on goal. Manzaroli saved his first effort but Kane was quick to smash home the loose ball from close range.
The Spurs striker had a treble in his sights and it arrived in the dying moments, when England’s increasing pressure paid off with Redmond cutting a cross back for Kane to guide the ball past Manzaroli and slot home from a tight angle.
So with a clean sheet and a boost to the goal difference, it’s now back to home soil for England and focus on their next fixture in five days at Ipswich Town's Portman Road.
1 Andrea Manzaroli (Massimo Francioni, 45), 2 Gianluca Proli, 3 Davide Cesarini, 4 Angelo Faetanini, 5 Daniele Maiani, 6 Marco Berardi, 7 Lorenzo Liverani, 8 Eugenio Colombini (c), 9 Marco Bernardi, 10 Allessandro Golinucci (15 Maxmiliano Baizan, 88), 11 Massimo Muraccini (18 Andrea Zavoli, 74).
Substitutes not used
13 Daniele Angeli, 14 Nicolo’ Angelini, 16 Mirco Ciambotta, 17 Luca Righi.
P. Angelo Manzaroli
1 Jack Butland (C), 2 John Stones, 3 Carl Jenkinson, 4 Tom Carroll, 5 Eric Dier, 6 Michael Keane, 7 Tom Ince (15 Nathan Redmond, 70), 8 James Ward-Prowse, 9 Harry Kane, 10 Ravel Morrison (14 Jesse Lingard, 55), 11 Raheem Sterling (17 Danny Ings, 65).
Substitutes not used
12 Nat Chalobah, 13 George Long, 16 Wilfried Zaha, 18 Saido Berahino.
Michael Keane (5), Harry Kane (45+3, 64, 88)
Silver Koiv & Martin Lember