LONDON (AFP) – 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. Against a country classed 208th and joint-last in the current FIFA ranking, it was a game from which Roy Hodgson will have learnt little, but Switzerland’s unexpected loss to Slovenia gave the England manager reason to cheer.
“Job well done,” said Hodgson. “The crowd were fantastic. They’ve had an enjoyable night. We could have had more, but I can’t fault the players. I’m really pleased.
“At 5-0 when we lost the ball, we had three or four players sprinting back to win the ball back. That type of desire is very commendable.”
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 resembled 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-placed Jimmy Greaves in the all-time England scoring chart, with leader Bobby Charlton seven goals ahead of him on 49.