England maul San Marino

22 March 2013 10:17

England went goal crazy as they overpowered minnows San Marino 8-0 in a World Cup qualifier in Serravalle - their biggest win for 26 years.

An own goal from Alessandro Della Valle gave England the lead and then Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jermain Defoe, Ashley Young and skipper Frank Lampard all netted before the interval.

Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Defoe added further goals after the break to equal the 8-0 win against Turkey in 1987 - but England remain second in the group after Montenegro's win in Moldova.

England remain two points behind Montenegro as they set off for Tuesday's World Cup assignment in Podgorica, although with 20 goals from their five games so far, Roy Hodgson's men are unquestionably the most entertaining team in Group H.

The visitors did not require the assistance provided by Della Valle, but they accepted it anyway as the defender turned Leighton Baines' 12th-minute cross into his own net, with Rooney offering only token pressure.

Rooney had a more significant involvement in England's second, providing the return pass for Oxlade-Chamberlain, who belted home as the home defence opened up.

The Arsenal winger only started due to the injury club colleague Theo Walcott sustained in training on Thursday night. But he was clearly eager to make the most of his opportunity, as was Defoe, who had unluckily seen one close-range effort ruled out for offside before he turned home another a couple of minutes later.

Young blasted home number four off the underside of the bar before Lampard, made skipper in the absence of rested Steven Gerrard, netted his 28th international goal, taking him into the all-time top 10. It completed England's heaviest first-half goals haul since they put five past Luxembourg in 1999.

And the most surprising thing was Rooney not getting any of them. That situation lasted only eight minutes of the second period as the Manchester United man netted his 34th international goal with a magnificent curling free-kick.

Sturridge replaced Rooney almost immediately afterwards. And after wasting a golden chance to score his first international goal within seconds of his arrival, the Liverpool striker finally managed it when he turned home Young's far-post cross 20 minutes from time before Defoe rounded off the rout.

Source: PA

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