England power past San Marino
Written By: Robert Halter
From the sky of the Wembley dome entered a member of the Royal Marines with the match ball prior to kick off for the Group H World Cup qualifier between England and San Marino on a Friday night during October. In the second minute, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain unleashed a strike from distance that was destined for the top corner until Aldo Junior Simoncini tipped the ball over the bar but when Oxlade-Chamberlain’s club team mate Theo Walcott raced clean through two minutes later, he clattered into Simoncini and required lengthy treatment before being taken off the field on a stretcher as Walcott was then replaced by Aaron Lennon. In the twenty fourth minute, Simoncini fumbled a low strike from Oxlade-Chamberlain but the ball rebounded to safety. In the thirty first minute, the Three Lions captain Wayne Rooney spurned a goal scoring chance when he missed a close range header from Tom Cleverly’s cross. England went even closer to scoring two minutes later with a thunderous shot by Michael Carrick which went crashing against the upright and Danny Welbeck then struck the ball against the left post from the rebound. But a mistake by Simoncini gifted England the lead in the thirty fifth minute, when the San Marino goalkeeper pulled down Welbeck in the penalty box and Rooney stepped up to the blast the spot kick high into the goal. England forged further ahead two minutes later when Lennon’s low cross from the right side of the area was flicked off the heel of Welbeck before striking Simoncini on the way to the net. On forty minutes, Simoncini at full stretch turned away a Rooney long range drive for a corner, after Baines had been provider. Seven minutes into the re-start, Welbeck created the move that set Carrick free but he was unable to find a way past Simoncini who blocked his effort. In the fifty fifth minute Oxlade-Chamberlain tested Simoncini with a low strike but the ball was scrambled away by a full length dive by the San Marino keeper. Jonjo Shelvey made his England debut as a replacement for Carrick in the sixty sixth minute. Four minutes later, England took control of the match when Lennon fell to the floor before Rooney then fired the ball into the bottom right corner with a lethal finish. Within two minutes, the Three Lions added a fourth when from the right side of the pitch Cleverley crossed over to Welbeck, who from close range tucked the ball past Simoncini. The fifth goal arrived in the seventy seventh minute, when from a Baines cross on the left side, Welbeck found Cleverley, who clipped the ball to Oxlade-Chamberlain, who then lofted his shot over Simoncini into the top right hand side of the goal. Andy Carroll, on as a replacement for Rooney, could have got off the mark a minute later but sent his header over the bar from Kyle Walker’s cross. But as the score line suggested, England had completed another 5-0 victory in the group by the same margin as they did in their away win in Moldova.