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Match Analysis: San Marino 0-6 England

Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at England's comprehensive 6-0 victory over San Marino, a result that booked the Three Lions' spot at Euro 2016.

England became the first team to qualify for Euro 2016 this afternoon as they maintained their 100% record with a 6-0 drubbing of San Marino.

There was history for Wayne Rooney after just 12 minutes as he drew level with Sir Bobby Charlton on 49 goals for his country with a penalty, while Cristian Brolli's own goal on the half-hour mark sent the visitors into the break with a 2-0 lead.

That became three within seconds of the restart when Ross Barkley nodded home, while Theo Walcott came off the bench to score either side of a strike from fellow substitute Harry Kane.

Here, Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at whether the Three Lions deserved to run out such comprehensive winners in Serravalle.

Match statistics

SAN MARINO
Shots: 2
On target: 1
Possession: 26%
Corners: 1
Fouls: 9

ENGLAND
Shots: 22
On target: 8
Possession: 74%
Corners: 7
Fouls: 19

Was the result fair?

The result of this match was never going to be in doubt - the only question was how many England would win by. In the end it was a six-goal margin, and that is about right considering how the match went. As expected, the visitors completely dominated from start to finish, with San Marino unable to keep hold of possession for any length of time and spending the vast majority of the match with at least 10 players packed behind the ball.

England needed to be patient, and they seemed to understand that. They weren't trying to force the issue particularly and, sure enough, the goals eventually came. Having said that, Roy Hodgson's side were a little too pedestrian at times. They never needed to get out of first gear today and, with Switzerland on the horizon there was no need to exert too much energy here, but they could have injected a little more pace into their play if they wanted to cause the hosts more problems.

Under the circumstances, though, 6-0 is a decent result for England. It is no more than what was expected, but the horrendous state of the pitch made things a lot more difficult for the visitors, who understandably struggled to come to terms with the ball bobbling all over the place. Had the same match been played on a better surface then England probably would have run out even more conclusive winners, but as it was 6-0 will do them just fine.

San Marino's performance

The days of San Marino conceding double figures in matches appear to be gone now - or at least a lot rarer than they used to be. They would have come into today's game knowing that they had no chance of getting anything out of it, with their main objective simply to keep the score down. In fairness, they were quite organised and disciplined in their defensive work, making it difficult for the more illustrious names of England to break them down.

Despite it being one-way traffic throughout, the hosts may have considered themselves a little unfortunate to be behind at the break given how both first-half goals went in. The penalty awarded against them was, to put it kindly, a very generous one from the referee, while the second goal came from the head of their own man. They understandably tired in the second half and gave up four more goals but, despite conceding six times, they actually limited England's clear-cut chances quite well considering how one-sided the game was.

In terms of attack they also managed to get one shot on target, which is more than what was expected from them this afternoon. It was a simple one for Joe Hart, but they did make a couple of ventures into the final third over the course of the 90 minutes. It is safe to say that they will never be a force on the international stage, but they have shown signs of improvement in recent years and are certainly getting harder to beat.

England's performance

It is always hard to judge a performance in matches like these. England's victory was never in question, and Hodgson said before the match that he would judge his side on how they played rather than how many goals they put past their hosts. In that sense, there were a few positives to take from the display, such as Jonjo Shelvey's performance in midfield, but the England boss will not have learnt too much about his players that he didn't already know before this one.

The match resembled a training game for long spells as England monopolised possession and camped themselves in the San Marino half. As mentioned, their build-up play was a little laboured at times, but that often comes with the territory of playing in a game that you know you are going to win, particularly with such a poor pitch as well. They were a touch fortunate with the opening two goals, but their patience paid off in the second half, with the floodgates beginning to open when San Marino tired.

All in all, it was a professional job well done from the Three Lions today. They maintained their 100% record and became the first team to qualify for Euro 2016 without ever really needing to move into second gear, which should leave them fresh for Tuesday's clash against Switzerland. There are only really positives to take from this display - Rooney's record-equalling goal, Walcott and Kane scoring off the bench and Shelvey impressing on his full debut - but no-one in the England camp will need telling that tougher tests are to come.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Jonjo Shelvey: Shelvey was handed his full debut this afternoon, and he grabbed his chance with both hands. His first England appearance also came against San Marino, so it remains to be seen how he does against tougher tests on the international stage, but he impressed against the opponents put in front of him today. He used the space afforded to him well, pulling the strings from midfield and sending a number of killer passes forward to his strikers, including a beauty to set up Kane's goal.

Biggest gaffe

San Marino are often accompanied by blunders, and tonight's match was no different. Brolli is the winner of this dubious honour today having nodded the ball past his own keeper when trying to prevent Rooney from reaching a Luke Shaw cross. It was the third own goal that San Marino have scored in their last three meetings with England.

Referee performance

Games like this are often easy to officiate, but Leontios Trattou still managed to make a howler and is fortunate not to win gaffe of the game himself. It still isn't quite clear what he awarded the penalty for in the 12th minute, with the slightest shirt tug on John Stones being the most likely explanation. Whatever it was, it was very harsh on the hosts.

What next?

San Marino: Up next for the minnows is a trip to face Lithuania on Tuesday.

England: England, meanwhile, will continue their quest for a 100% qualifying campaign at home to Switzerland, also on Tuesday. The stage is set for Rooney to break Charlton's record at Wembley.

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Wayne Rooney of England celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier between San Marino and England at Stadio Olimpico on September 5, 2015
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