England storm past San Marino
- 22 March 2013 22:14
- Posted by @mccarthy_mcfc
City’s defensive duo of Joe Hart and Joleon Lescott barely broke sweat as England eased past San Marino in Serravalle.
Roy Hodgson’s men recorded an emphatic 8-0 victoty at the Stadio Olimpico – the Three Lions’ biggest yield in over 25 years.
It took the visitors just 11 minutes to make their mark, albeit via an unfortunate own goal, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain doubled the advantage 17 minutes later with England adding a further three before the half-time whistle.
The away side picked up where they left off after the break, with Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Jermain Defoe all on target in the second half.
Hodgson will have been hoping for an upset when group leaders Montenegro faced Moldova, but their narrow 1-0 win keeps them on top ahead of Tuesday’s tie.
But a lack of a cutting edge saw them pegged back late on allowing group rivals France to claim top spot, for now.
Captain Sergio Ramos marked his 100th cap with a goal on the stroke of half-time, but that was not enough for Vicente del Bosque’s side, who although dominated throughout, were left frustrated by Finland’s defensive approach.
The visitor's persistence paid off when on 79 minutes Teemu Pukki produced a great strike to level the score and leave the home crowd stunned.
The World and European champions now sit second in their qualifying table on eight points with a tantalising fixture against the French up next.
Les Bleus meanwhile punished this surprise Spanish slip with a 3-1 win over Georgia in Paris which takes their tally to ten points so far.
Gael Clichy formed part of the French back four who looked like keeping a clean sheet until their concentration slipped late on, allowing Aleksandr Kobakhidze to fire home.
However, it proved nothing more than a consolation and wasn’t enough to cancel out earlier goals from Olivier Giroud, Mathieu Valbuena and Franck Ribery.
Deschamps will certainly be encouraged by his side’s performance and buoyed by the result ahead of Tuesday’s test.