San Marino 0, England 10 [TEN] (World Cup Qualifier)
England reached double figures against 10-man San Marino as Harry Kane scored four goals to reach the World Cup finals in Qatar with a 10-0 win.Embed from Getty Images
Kane finished the weekend with a 7 goal haul having scored his 6th and 7th hat tricks for England to finish it level on Gary Lineker with 48 goals as joint 3rd all time scorer for the national team to get England to a seventh consecutive World Cup.
Their hosts were rock bottom 210th in the FIFA rankings and England were ruthless as they went on to rack up six goals in the first half of a game for the first time since November 1946 against the Netherlands – a game that finished 8-2.
Harry Maguire’s early header and an own goal by Filippo Fabbri from Bukayo Saka’s shot got them on their way but Kane put them out of sight with a four goal salvo.
Conor Gallagher made his full England debut in the second half – the fifth member of England’s U17 World Cup winners to do so – and England continued scoring when Emile Smith Rowe celebrated his first start for England with his first goal.
Rather than ease off with the job done, England just twisted the knife on their hapless hosts who went down to ten men for the last 20 minutes which accelerated their downfall.
Dante Rossi was sent off for San Marino for a second bookable foul on Gallagher after 68 minutes, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold laid on goals for Tyrone Mings, Tammy Abraham, and Bukayo Saka as England put their hosts to the sword with a couple of goals ruled out for infringements to boot.
Gareth Southgate admitted the quality of the opposition wasn’t be best but defended his team selection on the night.
He conceded: “The level of the opposition isn’t good but the team have approached the game in the right way.
“It was an opportunity to give younger players some football.”
For Harry Kane – the chance to pad his goal stats was hard to resist, and Southgate quipped:
“I said to him Wayne Rooney’s family had been on the phone to get him off because he was going to go past four [England record] goalscorers in one night.
“If you go through their scoring records they got their fair share of goals against minnows too.
“In every selection you make getting the right balance is important, tonight it was the right amount of experience and youth.
“We wanted to finish the year well. Getting to Qatar was most important.”
Harry Kane breaks more goalscoring records after 7 goals and a double hat trick across the weekend
By the end England had won more games (15) and scored more goals (52) and kept more clean sheets in 2021 than in any other calendar year in their entire history.
And they got under way after just 6 minutes when Phil Foden’s corner was converted with a powerful headed finish by Harry Maguire past Elia Benedettini – his 7th goal for England.
Foden’s acrobatic scissor kick struck the arm of Dante Rossi after the Manchester City youngster met Saka’s left wing cross for what would have been a spectacular goal but VAR brought it back for the handball.
Kane hit his 45th goal for England – a record 13th goal for England in a single calendar year – with a straight shot down the middle from the penalty spot.
Shots by Jude Bellingham and Saka could have extended the lead but Kane hit his second of the night from 12 yards after a Tyrone Mings ball up to Emile Smith Rowe saw the Arsenal an square it for the England captain whose scuffed shot dribbled home off a defender but just inside the post and beyond the reach of Benedettini.
Ramsdale was called into action as Nicola Nanni tried to pull a goal back – his deflected shot from 20 yards out had the Arsenal shot stopper scrambling to stop it after 33 minutes.
Alessandro D’Addario used his arms to block a ball that came off Kane after 39 minutes – and The England captain was never going to pass up the chance to hit his second consecutive hat trick for the national team – joining Vivian Woodward (1909). Dixie Dean (1927), and Tommy Taylor (1957) in the record books – with a rasping shot into the top left corner.
Three minutes later Kane was on 48 goals – level with Gary Lineker – with his fourth of the night after the ball broke for him off when Trent Alexander-Arnold was tackled to repeat Ian Wright’s haul of four goals in a game – also against San Marino – from 1993.
Conor Gallagher made his England debut after both sides made a triple substitution at half time with Foden, Kalvin Phillips, and Maguire rested and Tammy Abraham, Gallagher, and Ben Chilwell coming on.
As against Albania it was a challenge for England to match the first half intensity although Kane stayed on in a bid to continue filling his boots.
Smith Rowe had a looping effort saved while Abraham blazed over but after 58 minutes Smith Rowe got himself on the scoresheet after Saka found Abraham who touched the ball into the path of the Arsenal man who rifled in his first goal for England at the end of a fine team move.
Reece James replaced Kane after 63 minutes as England reshuffled and Gallagher shot straight at Benedettini and was hauled down by Rossi, who was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Tyrone Mings headed home Alexander-Arnold’s resulting free kick to make it eight for England.
Bellingham thought he had scored soon after Gallagher had hit the post – but VAR ruled it out for a harsh foul in the build-up by Abraham.
John Stones was England’s final substitution of the night, replacing Smith Rowe after 74 minutes.
Abraham made it 9-0 after controlling Alexander-Arnold’s cross before turning and firing past Benedettini with 12 minutes to go, and a minute late Saka made it 10-0 against the flagging 10-men after getting on the end of another cross from the Liverpool full back.
It was the most goals scored by England in a World Cup or European Championship qualifying campaign and the most they had scored in a match since the 10-0 they put past the USA in May 1964.
Abraham’s potential 11th goal was ruled out for push on a defender before England declared on a potent night in Europe as big names were stunned in their final qualifying games.
MATCH STATS – San Marino 0, England 10 [TEN] (World Cup Qualifier)
San Marino: Benedettini, Battistini, Fabbri (Conti 81), Rossi, Tomassini (Vitaioli 46), Lunadei (Grandoni 74), Golinucci, Mularoni, D’Addario (Censoni 46), Nanni, Hirsch (Golinucci 46)
San Marino subs not used: Tomassini, Zonzini, Benedettini, Zafferani, Ceccarilo, Battistini, Marconi
Booked: Tomassini 16 (foul on Phil Foden) Rossi 26 (handball from Phil Foden’s shot), D’Addario 37 (handball to block Harry Kane’s header), Battistini 55 (foul)
Sent off: Rossi 68 (second yellow card for fouling Conor Gallagher)
England: Ramsdale, Maguire (Chilwell 46), Coady, Mings, Alexander-Arnold, Bellingham, Phillips (Gallagher 46), Saka, Foden (Abraham 46), Kane (James 63), Smith Rowe (Stones 74)
England subs not used: Pickford, Johnstone, Walker
Booked: Abraham 73 (foul)
Goals: Maguire 6; Fabbri 15 og; Kane 27 pen, 31, 39 pen, 42; Smith Rowe 58; Mings 69; Abraham 78; Saka 79
Referee: Rade Obrenovic