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England demolish sorry San Marino 8-0

An own goal by San Marino's Alessandro Della Valle after 12 minutes paved the way for Roy Hodgson's side to boost their Group H goal tally with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jermain Defoe, Ashley Young and Frank Lampard all scoring before halftime.

San Marino, who had lost their last 50 matches, suffered further punishment after the break in the modest Stadio Olimpico with Wayne Rooney bagging his 34th international goal and substitute Daniel Sturridge his first.

In what resembled a training ground routine rather than a competitive sporting occasion, Defoe flicked in his second after 77 minutes as England racked up eight for the first time since their 1987 thrashing of Turkey.

England will have a far stiffer test of their credentials on Tuesday when they visit pace-setters Montenegro, who still lead Hodgson's side by two points with half of the qualifying campaign gone having beaten Moldova 1-0 away.

Hosts San Marino were spared a double-figures defeat but did nothing to counter the argument that they should have to enter a pre-qualifying tournament - managing only one half-hearted attempt at goal in a lop-sided 90 minutes.

Despite the lack of resistance from world football's joint-worst side, Hodgson was delighted with his team's display.

"It was a good professional performance and good that so many players got the chance to play," Hodgson told ITV.

"When you're 5-0 up at half-time it can die out a bit but we kept going and it was one of those games where I thought everyone brought their straw to the water."


The build-up to the match was dominated by experienced defender Rio Ferdinand's U-turn not to play having been selected in the squad by Hodgson after a near two-year international absence.

In reality, however, England could have managed without any defenders at all in a predictable procession.

San Marino's game plan consisted of building a blue wall on the edge of their penalty area and it held firm for 12 minutes until bearded defender Della Valle, a qualified accountant, offered some generous local hospitality by slicing a Leighton Baines cross into his own goal.

Defoe wasted a chance shortly afterwards with a tame header and it took England another 15 minutes to double their lead with Oxlade-Chamberlain dancing his way into a crowded area before exchanging passes with Rooney and shooting past keeper Aldo Simoncini.

With the floodgates open England began cutting through San Marino with ease. Defoe tapped in Oxlade-Chamberlain's header before Young scored the goal of the game, beating Simoncini with a screamer from 25 metres.

Frank Lampard made it 5-0 shortly before half-time and after the break gave the hosts some brief respite Rooney became England's fifth scorer on the night with a curling 54th minute free-kick.

It took San Marino an hour to have a shot at England's goal as the under-employed England keeper Joe Hart watched Fabio Bollini's shot fly high over his crossbar to ironic cheers from the travelling supporters.

Sturridge made it 7-0 with virtuall