Fri | May 26, 2017

England drub San Marino

Published:Friday | October 10, 2014 | 10:00 AM
England's Danny Welbeck celebrates after scoring his side's second goal of the game during the Euro 2016 Group E qualifying match between England and San Marino, at Wembley Stadium in London, yesterday. AP

LONDON (AP: England inflicted San Marino's 60th consecutive loss by routing world football's weakest team 5-0 in the 2016 European Championship qualifier yesterday while Group E rivals Switzerland surprisingly lost again.

Wayne Rooney scored his 42nd international goal from the penalty spot to go within seven of England's all-time top-scorer, Bobby Charlton, but the captain wasted several chances to close the gap further.

San Marino, who are joint bottom of FIFA's rankings with Bhutan, prevented England from scoring until the 24th minute through Phil Jagielka's header in a first-half when the 18th-ranked hosts lacked tempo.

After Rooney's strike before halftime, Danny Welbeck and Andros Townsend netted after the break, and Alessandro Della Valle scored an own goal.

"We kept plugging away in the first half when it was difficult to break them down," England coach Roy Hodgson said. "Our tempo was up in the second half, because it was hard for them to keep going in that second half."

England top Group E after back-to-back wins thanks to a superior difference to Lithuania, who beat Estonia 1-0 on Saulius Mikoliunas' late goal.

SUPRISING ZERO POINTS

But Switzerland, who reached the World Cup round of 16 in Brazil, are surprisingly on zero points after following up last month's loss to England by going down 1-0 at Slovenia. Milivoje Novakovic scored an 80th-minute penalty after Switzerland defender Johan Djourou brought down Kevin Kampl.

With the top two guaranteed a place at the 2016 finals in France it would be unlikely for England to miss out on the expanded 24-team tournament.

While England left nothing to doubt, Spain is in a conundrum after it lost its first qualifier in eight years in European Championship qualifying on Thursday.

In another surprise result, Spain fell 2-1 at Slovakia in Group C to record the defending champion's first defeat in a qualifier for the European Championship and World Cup since 2006.

In Group G, Sweden drew 1-1 with visitors Russia.