England sealed a comfortable 6-0 win over San Marino on Saturday evening, with Wayne Rooney matching Sir Bobby Charlton’s international tally of 49 goals.
Rooney opened the scoring from the penalty spot after 13 minutes, and with it he immediately relieved the pressure on the visitors to break down a stubborn defensive line.
Cristian Brolli was unfortunate to turn in a Luke Shaw cross to double England’s lead and, in the process, deny Rooney his second of the game as the Manchester United striker was anticipating a tap in which would have taken him to the magic 50 mark.
The England captain’s wait continued into the second half as Ross Barkley added a third for Roy Hodgson’s men, and it became a training ground exercise for the visitors thereafter as Rooney was substituted near the hour.
Arsenal forward Theo Walcott scored either side of a first goal of the season for Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane as both substitutes made an impact after coming off the bench, although England did waste chances late on to make the result even more one-sided in their favour.
Many will argue that San Marino would benefit from a change to their international schedule. The hosts were forced to sit back and soak up pressure for much of the game, testing Joe Hart in the England goal only once, and it is unclear as to how much they would have learned from the experience.
Nevertheless, that will not concern England as they guaranteed their place at France 2016, and they will hope to extend their 100% qualifying record when they host Switzerland on Tuesday night.
As for Rooney, the 29-year-old has now scored 14 goals in friendlies, 16 in World Cup qualifiers, 13 in Euro qualifiers and six have come in World Cups and European Championships.
Having made his senior Three Lions debut aged 17 in a friendly against Australia in 2003, he has now put his name in the history books and will hope to surpass Charlton at Wembley on Tuesday.
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