Five-star England cruise to victory

12 October 2012 10:17

Two-goal Wayne Rooney moved up to fifth spot in England's all-time scoring lists as Roy Hodgson's side overpowered minnows San Marino 5-0 in World Cup qualifying Group H at Wembley.

Stand-in skipper Rooney took his tally for his county to 31 and moved ahead of Alan Shearer, Tom Finney and Nat Lofthouse. Danny Welbeck also netted twice before Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain completed England's nap hand with his first senior international goal.

The result took England three points clear at the top of Group H and in good heart for Tuesday's crucial trip to Poland, even though Theo Walcott must be rated as extremely doubtful after being forced off inside the opening five minutes.

Wave after wave of England attacks. The world's joint-worst side having a gameplan no more elaborate than desperate defence. San Marino had to be beaten though. And it took England half an hour to work out how.

It was difficult to be too critical of England given the limitations of their opponents provided so little space to operate in. But their passing wasn't as crisp as it needed to be in order to open San Marino up and when the opener came, it was something of a surprise as Welbeck charged into the box and was upended by Aldo Simoncini.

Rooney had no hesitation in accepting even more responsibility and duly drove home the spot-kick.

Within three minutes, England had another. When Welbeck acrobatically turned home the winner against Sweden during Euro 2012, some questioned whether he meant it. The impudent manner in which the 21-year-old turned home Aaron Lennon's cross, from a very similar position, left no room for debate.

After the break, 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. Once more at the near post, this time Tom Cleverley providing the cross which he prodded 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.

Source: PA