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Live Commentary: San Marino 0-8 England - as it happened

Sports Mole brings you live coverage of England's World Cup qualifying match against San Marino.
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England thrashed San Marino 8-0 this evening to keep the pressure on Montenegro in their World Cup qualifying group.

Alessandro Della Valle turned the ball into his own net to open the scoring, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain doubled the lead soon after.

Jermain Defoe, Ashley Young and Frank Lampard all netted before the interval to give England a 5-0 lead at the halfway stage.

Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge added strikes in the second half before Defoe capped off the scoring with his second goal.

You can read how a dominant night of international football for England unfolded with Sports Mole's live play-by-play coverage below.


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Good afternoon! Thank you for joining Sports Mole for what should be a straightforward three points for England as they take on San Marino.

Let's get right down to business then, shall we? England are, understandably, huge favourites going into this one and are as close to a dead cert as you get in football to pick up three points that could send them top of Group H.

The Three Lions have made a mixed start to their qualification campaign for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Roy Hodgson's men have won two and drawn two of their first four games and sit behind Montenegro in the group.

England's two wins have both been 5-0 triumphs. The first came against San Marino in the reverse fixture of tonight's game while they also hit five past Moldova.

The two draws haven't been terrible results either. They came away to Poland, which is always going to be a tough place to go, and at home to Ukraine in a match that Hodgson probably would've expected to win.

Tonight's match should add another 'W' in the form column, but Hodgson may well have one eye on Monday's huge game away to Montenegro. They are the two sides who look most likely to battle it out for top spot in the group, so that match could well be decisive.

TEAM NEWS: Certainly, there is a hint of Hodgson thinking about Monday in his team selection. Captain Steven Gerrard and fellow centurion Ashley Cole are rested by the former Liverpool boss, which means that Frank Lampard will lead the sides out tonight. Rooney and Defoe start up front while there are rare starts for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chris Smalling and Kyle Walker. The full team news for England is coming right up...

ENGLAND STARTING XI: Hart; Walker, Lescott, Smalling, Baines; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lampard, Cleverley, Young; Defoe, Rooney

ENGLAND SUBS: Foster, Forster, Cole, Taylor, Caulker, Milner, Gerrard, Parker, Carrick, Osman, Welbeck, Sturridge

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We will bring you the San Marino team news as soon as we get it. Their side is full of amateur players, so tonight will be a massive day for each and every one of them. They may not harbour any hopes of winning or drawing this game, but they would get almost as much joy in keeping the scoreline respectable tonight.

As for the England team, Hodgson has given a number of youngsters a chance this evening. They may not be playing great opposition, but the likes of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kyle Walker and Chris Smalling will be keen to show what they can do tonight.

The main threat will most likely come from Wayne Rooney. The 27-year-old has scored 33 times in 80 appearances for England and tonight is a great chance for him to add to that tally. The same goes for Defoe, who has netted 17 times in 53 appearances. Cleverley and Young are always a threat while Lampard's recent achievement of reaching the 200-goal mark for Chelsea tells you all you need to know about the midfielder's ability to score.

Even in the defence, England have potential for goals. Leighton Baines is likely to be marauding up and down the left flank and you can be sure that he will be interested in any free kicks within shooting distance this evening.

Speaking of the defence, one player in particular is conspicuous by his absence. Rio Ferdinand was handed a route back into the international set up when he was called up by Roy Hodgson, but he pulled out of the squad and has instead travelled to Qatar to carry out some media work, a decision that has drawn a lot of criticism.

The whole Ferdinand saga has become a mess for England. There is no doubting that, based purely on ability, he deserves to be in the squad. However, the fallout from John Terry's racism trial against Rio's brother Anton, which eventually saw Ashley Cole dragged into the mix as well, has led to Ferdinand being frozen out and Terry retiring.

It may be that Ferdinand's relationship with Cole is untenable and he has done England a favour by withdrawing from the squad, but I'm sure if he was to have his time again he would do it a bit differently.

However, they shouldn't feel his absence too much tonight. We all know that this should be a walk in the park for England tonight, but do San Marino pose any threat whatsoever? Well, let's have a closer look at them to find out, shall we?

We'll start with their international record, which isn't great. Their first match came against Switzerland in 1990 which they lost 4-0 and they have never won a competitive fixture. Their biggest defeat came against Germany in 2006 when they were trounced 13-0.

Enough of that doom and gloom, though. San Marino have actually won a fixture in their history, albeit in a friendly. It came against the mighty Liechtenstein in 2004 by the narrow margin of 1-0. Cue wild parties in the streets of San Marino. You'd have to go all the way back to 1993 for their next best result - a goalless draw against Turkey.

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That win may have been something of a kiss of death for them, however. They have lost every single match since - an incredible run of 50 games. During that time they have conceded 10 or more goals on three separate occasions.

In the unlikely event that they are to pose any threat to England whatsoever, they will be looking to the likes of Andy Selva and Mirko Palazzi to conjure something up.

Selva is his country's record goalscorer having netted eight times in his 57 caps, which isn't such a bad record when you consider that San Marino as a nation have only managed 18 goals in the past 20 years. That's right, they average less than a goal a year. Palazzi is the only porfessional player in the San Marino squad, plying his trade with Serie D side AC Rimini.

Their record appearance maker is 35-year-old Damiano Vannucci, who has played 68 times since making his debut in 1996. He is a gym owner outside of football and the San Marino squad also contains bank clerks, barmen and even a student. The gulf between the two sets of players is mammoth.

I guess it can all be summed up by the FIFA rankings. San Marino are officially the joint-worst international side in world football, sharing the 207th position with the likes of Bhutan and Turks and Caicos Islands. The term 'minnow' barely seems to do San Marino justice.

England cruised to a 5-0 win at Wembley when these two sides last played, with Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck each bagging a brace and Oxlade-Chamberlain getting one for himself towards the end.

England also faced San Marino twice back in 1993, running out 6-0 winners and 7-1 winners respectively. The likes of David Platt, Carlton Palmer, Les Ferdinand, Paul Ince and Ian Wright were on the scoresheet on those occasions. In the 7-1 win, however, San Marino took the lead in the very first minute which is a famous moment in their history.

PREDICTION: I'm not going to raise any eyebrows with this prediction. There is no doubt in my mind that England will win this match, the only question is by how many. I can see them putting quite a few past San Marino, I'll go for 6-0 to England.

England manager Roy Hodgson is keen to make sure his side do the job tonight. Pre-match he is telling reporters that the message will be to be professional and get the three points.

Any fans who haven't got a ticket to this one won't feel too left out. This stadium has hills on either side and there are plenty of spectators sitting on them with a fine view of the pitch.

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While a win is all-but guaranteed for England, this match is the type that players will always be cautious about. Nothing but a big win will do, so even something like a 4-0 success could draw criticism. For the defenders, conceding a goal would be a tragedy no matter how many they score at the other end.

The fans join in with a rousing rendition of 'God Save the Queen', and there are a lot of England supporters who have made the journey. As always, they finish the anthem almost a verse ahead of the band, before chanting their support for the Three Lions. The San Marino anthem isn't greeted with as much vigour.

We're just about ready to go here in San Marino. It's a huge day for every San Marino player out there but they will just be looking to keep the score down. England, meanwhile, will want to break the deadlock as early as possible.

England get us underway, and have made it safely through the first minute without conceding - something they didn't manage back in 1993.

Rooney just tries to thread the ball through to Kyle Walker, but San Marino intercept and clear. Unsurprisingly, San Marino are already camped on the edge of their own area.

Defoe breaks down the left and feeds Lampard who is steaming into the box, but Bollini puts in a good tackle to send it out for a corner.

From the resulting corner, Lampard concedes a free kick when trying to reach the ball with his head. San Marino clear it upfield but it comes right back at them.

Lampard sends a good ball behind the defence to Rooney, but he takes his eye off it and it gets away from him, allowing Della Valle to get a tackle in.

San Marino manager Giampaolo Mazza has been in charge of the national team for an incredible 14 years - the longest run in European football. I can't think of many managers who would survive a 50-match losing streak!

SAVE! Simoncini is called into action for the first time, and it's a very good save. San Marino give it away from a set piece and Oxlade-Chamberlain bundles the ball to Lampard, who aims for the near post but is denied by the San Marino keeper.

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England have had plenty of corners in these early stages but so far San Marino have dealt with them without any trouble. England have another one now, but it flies straight into the arms of Simoncini.

OFF THE BAR! Oxlade-Chamberlain is the width of the bar away from breaking the deadlock! A long ball from Lescott is cushioned down to the Arsenal man by Rooney and he, under pressure from two defenders, tries to lift it over the keeper. It is almost perfect, but rebounds back off the bar. Very close.

San Marino have made is safely through the first 10 minutes or so, just 80 to go!

GOAL! San Marino 0-1 England (Alessandro Della Valle og)

There is the first goal of the day and it's a nightmare for Della Valle. The England strikers are going to score enough tonight, they don't need that sort of help from the defenders! Baines makes a good run down the left and sends a low ball into the box which Della Valle steers into his own net. To be fair, the ball bobbled up at the last second to deflect in off his shin, and Rooney had a tap-in had he left it so it was quite unlucky.

Simoncini gets away with one there! He handles the ball a yard or so out of his area but the ref gives him the benefit of the doubt. Had he seen what we can see then that would have been a free kick and possibly a red card.

CHANCE! Big chance for Defoe. A corner is flicked on by Lampard and finds the Tottenham man unmarked at the back post, but he heads it over from close range. Should have done better.

England are just trying to entice San Marino out to create space at the moment, but the blue shirts are not moving. They are sticking firmly with 11 men in their own half at all times.

The England fans are chanting "We're gonna win 2-0, we're gonna win 2-0". San Marino would be delighted at such a scoreline, their manager has already said that he would regard a 5-0 defeat as a victory!

SHOT! Rooney's cross is only cleared as far as Oxlade-Chamberlain on the edge of the box, but his shot is headed over the bar for yet another corner.

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Della Valle gets the ball off Rooney but is then caught in possession himself by Baines, who he hacks down while trying to win it back. England have a free kick in a good crossing position, Baines is over it...

...but his cross is cleared by the first man. England work it back in and eventually win another two corners in quick succession.

Rooney is dropping deep, going out to the right and going out to the left looking to create something. He looks like he has got a completely free role tonight.

Ashley Young shapes to shoot from just inside the San Marino penalty area but his effort is blocked and the ball goes out for a corner. England's corner count is going to be higher than San Marino's possession at this rate!

Joe Hart has a rare touch of the ball as a long clearance goes all the way to the England keeper. Cue cheers from the travelling support, who have made tremendous noise throughout.

We're nearing the half-hour mark now and England still lead by just the one goal. They have, as expected, dominated possession but San Marino are so intent on getting everyone behind the ball that it is proving hard to get through.

GOAL! San Marino 0-2 England (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain)

Sorry for cursing you there San Marino! Oxlade-Chamberlain gets his second international goal against the minnows after cutting inside from the right before exchanging a nice one-two with Rooney. Either Rooney or Oxlade-Chamberlain can hit it, but the Arsenal man takes the initiative and sends the keeper the wrong way.

Lampard tries to send Oxlade-Chamberlain through with a clever back heel but the San Marino defence is alert to the danger and get it clear.

Walker bursts into the box and drills a low, hard cross across goal. It is cleared at the front post, however, and England have their 13th corner already.

DISALLOWED GOAL! England think that they are 3-0 up but it won't count as the linesman flag is up. A good move sees Lampard slip the ball into Young inside the box. The United man could shoot for goal himself but chooses to square it to Defoe, who rolls the ball into the empty net. The flag is up but replays suggest that the Spurs man was level when Young passed that.

GOAL! San Marino 0-3 England (Jermain Defoe)

That one will count, however. It's another tap in for the Tottenham man but he stayed onside to claim his 18th England goal. Rooney clipped a high ball to the back post that was met by Oxlade-Chamberlain, who nodded it past the keeper and Defoe just nips in to tap home. That may have been going in anyway but Defoe was right to make sure.

SHOT! Lampard shows good feet and strength to avoid to tackles on the edge of the box before firing an effort at goal that is gathered by Simoncini at the second time of asking after an initial fumble.

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GOAL! San Marino 0-4 England (Ashley Young)

It doesn't matter about the quality of the opposition when you hit a ball like that! That was a screamer from Young and some of the world's best keepers would have struggled to stop it. His first touch isn't perfect but his second is superb as he lashes it in off the underside of the crossbar from about 25 yards. Great goal.

GOAL! San Marino 0-5 England (Frank Lampard)

England are running riot now! Young slips the ball to Baines who is coming down the left at pace and the Everton full-back, who has been brilliant so far today, pulls it back towards Rooney and Lampard. Rooney dummies it for the Chelsea man, who steers his side-footed effort into the bottom right corner. We could be heading for double figures.

SHOT! A fine ball from Lampard finds Defoe who has beaten the offside trap. He is forced out wide so looks to set up a teammate instead of shooting. He rolls it back to Rooney, who makes space before firing a weak effort into the arms of Simoncini.

HALF TIME: San Marino 0-5 England

So far so good for England. They have matched the result between these two sides at Wembley in the first 45 minutes here and you can be sure that there are more goals to come in the second half. Regardless of the opposition, England are playing some nice football and five goals is no more than they deserve.

The opener came courtesy of a Della Valle own goal before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain doubled the lead just before the half-hour mark. The goals then started flowing with three in seven minutes from Jermain Defoe, Ashley Young and Frank Lampard.

The pick of the goals has come from Ashley Young, who smashed a ferocious strike past Simoncini in the San Marino goal from 25 yards out. Things have been pretty crowded in the middle as the hosts look to get 11 men behind the ball everytime and England haven't tried many long range efforts, but maybe they should on that evidence!

As for the visitors, they haven't even given a hint of getting anywhere near the final third. I would be surprised if they had even had possession of the ball inside the England half yet. Poor from San Marino. They may lack serious quality but they will never get any better if they keep this up.

As for England, we can't really take too much from their performance considering the lack of quality San Marino possess, but they have played well. Leighton Baines in particular has been superb down the left, picking up three assists. Ashley Cole may struggle to get back into this side if Baines keeps this up.

Wayne Rooney may not have his name on the scoresheet yet but he has played a big part in four of the goals and has probably been the player most in control of this game. He is playing in a free role and we've seen him all over as he looked to create chances for his teammates. I would be surprised if he doesn't score in the second half and his performance deserves a goal.

Elsewhere in Group H, Montenegro are currently drawing 0-0 with Moldova and are down to 10 men with 20 minutes left. Very good news for England if it remains that way.

The referee gets this one back underway, and that is probably the furthest upfield San Marino have got all game!

San Marino have their best spell of possession as they string four or five passes together before England win it back, but Defoe is penalised for being offside.

SAVE! England patiently knock the ball about looking for an opening until Rooney takes it upon himself to shoot from range. His initial shot is blocked but it eventually comes back out to him and his whipped shot is tipped over the crossbar.

A long ball over the top almost finds Defoe racing through the middle but he just can't control it and Simoncini collects.

San Marino are pressing further up the field in this half and actually look like having a bit of attacking intent when they get the ball, which is good to see.

YELLOW CARD! Davide Simoncini becomes the first man in the referee's book for a late tackle on Cleverley. There was no malice involved but it deserved a yellow. Free kick in a good position...

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San Marino 0-6 England (Wayne Rooney)

There's Rooney's goal and it has been coming! It's a very good free kick by the United man as he clips it over the wall and past Simoncini. It wasn't right in the corner so the keeper may have done better there, but take nothing away from Rooney's strike.

ENGLAND SUBS: That will be Rooney's last action as he is replaced by Daniel Sturridge. It's a double change for England as Cleverley is also subbed off, perhaps with a view to Tuesday, to be replaced by Leon Osman.

Sturridge gets himself involved straight away, racing past his marker before trying to find a teammate inside the box, but his pass is intercepted.

YELLOW CARD! Cervellini becomes the second man to be booked tonight, and again it is the right decision by the ref as the San Marino man put in a late tackle on Oxlade-Chamberlain.

CHANCE! All that Baines's performance is lacking at the moment is a goal, and he has a chance to get one there. He nips in at the back post but the ball takes an awkward bounce which makes it hard for the Everton man to direct it goalwards.

OFF THE POST! That is a sitter for Daniel Sturridge! Oxlade-Chamberlain clips the ball into the back post from the right side and the Liverpool striker rises above his man but only finds the post with his header when he should have scored.

SHOT! San Marino have had a shot! It is a dreadful shot, but a shot nonetheless and it draws the biggest cheer of the day and a wry smile from the manager. It came from Bollini and was sliced a long, long way wide but I don't think the San Marino fans really care.

SHOT! Normal service is resumed as England have the next shot. Lescott surges into the San Marino half before passing it to Oxlade-Chamberlain on the edge of the box. The Arsenal man tries an audacious effort with the outside of his boot but it goes over the bar.

San Marino have a corner! They are packing the box, can they grab a famous goal?!

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No. It drops into a dangerous area and hits Walker, who doesn't know too much about it, but thankfully it falls kindly for Hart who comes to collect it.

SHOT! Osman goes for goal from range but it is never threatening Simoncini's goal as it flies over the top.

ENGLAND SUB: The final sub of the day for England sees Scott Parker come on for Lampard, who hands the captain's armband to Lescott.

SAN MARINO SUB: San Marino make a sub of their own as Buscarini comes on for Cibelli. Buscarini is the youngest man in the squad at just 21 and he is still a student.

GOAL! San Marino 0-7 England (Daniel Sturridge)

England are in seventh heaven, and Sturridge gets his first international goal. Ashley Young finds space down the left and you can see what is going to happen from a mile off. He lifts the ball over the keeper to the back post and Sturridge is there to provide the simplest of finishes with his head. I think this one may be over, folks.

Baines races down the left again, he is pretty much playing as a left forward tonight. He tries to put a first time cross into the box but it is too close to the keeper, who collects with Defoe lurking to pick up any scraps.

England have a free kick in a good position and you would imagine that Baines will be very interested in this one.

SAN MARINO SUB: Before he can take it, though, Rinaldi will come on for Selva. Rinaldi is a furniture salesman by trade.

SAVE! It is Baines who takes the free kick but it isn't as good as Rooney's in the first half and Simoncini is comfortably across to punch clear.

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GOAL! San Marino 0-8 England (Jermain Defoe)

England score eight in a match for the first time since 1987! Walker gets the ball down the right and bursts to the byline before pulling it back to Defoe, who provides a smart finish to become the first man to get two goals tonight. Double figures could be beckoning.

Young feeds Oxlade-Chamberlain down the left and the Arsenal man puts a good cross into a dangerous position, but Simoncini cuts it out with a good bit of goalkeeping.

SAN MARINO SUB: The final sub of the night sees Valentini comes on for Bollini, who had San Marino's one and only shot of the match. Valentini is a bank clerk.

Osman turns away from his man but his subsequent pass is behind Sturridge and San Marino hack it clear.

CHANCE! Defoe comes very close to completing his hat-trick. Walker makes another good run down the right and sends in a cross to the Tottenham man, who flicks his header just past the left post. Walker has had a very good game tonight, as has Baines on the other wing.

CHANCE! Defoe has another chance to get his third. He is slipped in behind the defence but seems to be in two minds as to whether to shoot or cross. In the end he does neither really, and his effort goes wide and is too far in front of Sturridge for him to make anything of it.

The England fans are leaving us in no doubt as to their feelings surrounding the Rio Ferdinand incident. To put it rather more politely and succintly than they are, they think England can deal without the United man.

We're nearing the end here and it doesn't look like England will reach double figures, but it has been a job well done tonight.

FULL TIME: San Marino 0-8 England

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There it is! No added time as England cruise to their biggest win for almost 26 years. Matches like this are always a potential banana skin as fans want shedloads of goals, but the England faithful will be happy enough with that showing, I'd imagine.

The opening goal came via an own goal, before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jermain Defoe (2), Ashley Young, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge all added their names to the scoresheet. This has been a good job well done from Roy Hodgson's side.

The quality, or lack thereof, of San Marino means that England won't be able to take too much from their performance, but there are plenty of positives if they want them. Baines and Walker both played very well and the whole team played some good, fluid football on a bad pitch. It also does wonders for England's goal difference as they move up to +18.

The pick of the goals goes to Ashley Young. He thwacked an effort in off the underside of the bar from 25 yards and gave the keeper no chance. Rooney also scored a fine free kick in the second half which could be a contender.

As for San Marino, they may be bottom of the FIFA rankings and they may have lost 51 matches on the bounce now, but I was still surprised at just how poor they were! They had a bit more attacking intent in the second half but you can really see why they haven't scored in the current qualifying campaign.

Looking ahead to Tuesday's match, England would go top of the table if they can beat Montenegro, who managed to get a late winner against Moldova despite being reduced to ten men. It will be a much tougher match than tonight's but an 8-0 scoreline will give them plenty of confidence, as will goals for the likes of Defoe and Young, who have struggled of late.

Right, that's just about it from me tonight! Thank you for joining Sports Mole for what was an easy three points for England. The result was never in doubt and it was always of question of how many goals England would score. The answer was eight as Roy Hodgson's men brushed aside the minnows of San Marino. I will leave you with Jack Prescott's match report, and be sure to stick around for reaction to a good England win. Good night!

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