Tag Archives: Marino

England win over San Marino underlines Harry Kane importance as Wayne Rooney benefits most

It was a night of opportunities for some of England’s fringe players to really help themselves. Jesse Lingard, James Ward-Prowse, Mason Mount, Reece James and Kalvin Phillips all took advantage to varying degrees.
But the player who benefitted most from Thursday night’s match at Wembley was arguably Wayne Rooney.

Because if Harry Kane had been given a full 90 minutes against San Marino, you fear his all-time goalscoring record might have gone in one fell swoop.

Instead, the England captain watched from the stands as chance after chance after chance was spurned and the visitors were cut to ribbons.

Once again, it highlights how much we rely on our talisman striker.

As a sop to Jose Mourinho, Gareth Southgate wanted a new Luther Blissett to emerge. The England manager still recalled the Watford striker’s hat-trick heroics against Luxembourg from his youth.

Technically, Dominic Calvert-Lewin came closest with two goals, but overall it was more a case of “miss it”, not Blissett as soon as England got in front of goal.

The tone was set when, three yards out, the Everton striker completely failed to connect with Reece James’ sixth minute cross and it hit his standing leg and bounced away from goal.

Raheem Sterling was just as wasteful and John Stones poked an even clearer effort over the bar – even before England finally did take the lead.

Kane, a mere 21 goals behind Rooney’s tally, would have buried all of them.

Footage released by the FA from St George’s Park showed that England had been training this week on a pitch with wire-framed mannequin defenders packed into the penalty areas.

For the most part, the dummies appeared to have been fared somewhat better.

As the England deluge poured down on San Marino’s leaky defence, simply boasting a centre-back called Brolli was never going to offer substantial protection.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 14th minute. Ben Chilwell burst into the box, pulled the ball back across goal and James Ward-Prowse finally provided the sort of cool finish that was required.
England’s second came seven minutes later, with Calvert-Lewin stooping to nod home a far more difficult chance, against supplied by James.

San Marino goalkeeper Elia Benedettini was enjoying a night to dine out on with a string of brilliant and occasionally unorthodox saves when England did manage to get their shots on target.

However, the visitors did not exactly help themselves with the third, playing out from the back straight to Mason Mount, who put Sterling in for the goal he seemed curiously eager to get given his narrow-mindedness in front of goal when other options were available.

Calvert-Lewin fluffed another far-post volley and Lingard seemed to be doing everything but find the back of the net on a lively return to the fold.

But that was just it. It would be churlish not to applaud England’s fluency for creating all these chances.

Ward-Prowse moved the ball quickly and intelligently. Mount seemed to find angles that certainly the San Marino defenders were not expecting.

A spate of half-time substitutions underlined the low-key nature of this World Cup qualifier but England continued to push forward.

Calvert-Lewin finally got his second – a tap-in set up by Lingard early in the second half.

His role as the head of the attack then passed to Ollie Watkins and he was not hanging about – one of his very first chances after coming on as a substitute was arrowed into the far corner for the fifth.

In the end, the scoreline was irrelevant. If England continue to create chances as freely as this during the summer, they certainly stand a chance of having someone stick them in the net.

Know what I mean, ‘Arry?

England vs San Marino TV details ahead of World Cup qualifier

England’s qualifying campaign for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar starts on Thursday night when San Marino come to Wembley.

The Three Lions haven’t played the European minnows since the qualification group for Euro 2016 when they ran out 5-0 winners at home and cruised to a 6-0 victory in San Marino.

Tonight’s match is the first of England’s 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Over the coming months they will also have home and away fixtures against Albania, Poland, Hungary and Andorra.

Once San Marino are out the way England travel to Albania on Sunday before welcoming Poland to Wembley next Wednesday.

What time is England vs San Marino?

Kick-off at Wembley is at 7.45pm.

Scotland and Northern Ireland are the other two home nations playing on Thursday night, hosting Austria and going to Italy respectively.

England vs San Marino TV channel and live stream

As this is a World Cup qualifier, ITV will be showing the match.

Coverage on ITV1 will begin at 7.15pm.

The match can also be streamed through the ITV Hub.

England vs San Marino odds

Here are the latest odds from Betfred[1] :

England have won all six of their games against San Marino by a minimum of five goals. England to win on a -6 handicap is 3/5[2].

18+ | Odds subject to change | Gamble responsibly


  1. ^ Betfred (activewins.link)
  2. ^ 3/5 (activewins.link)

[email protected] (Dave Stubbings)

San Marino boss relishing England challenge despite four months without football

England begin the road to next year’s World Cup against a team who have NEVER won a competitive match.

San Marino are the lowest ranked team in world football, they have a population of 33,000 and are made up largely of part-timers.

And if England stars think this season has been difficult, then spare a thought for San Marino who were not able to play for FOUR MONTHS.

Coronavirus[1] restrictions meant there were no non-league matches allowed, players were only allowed to train individually between October and February and they have only just started playing again.

It is hardly the best preparation for a trip to Wembley but the world’s lowest ranked team still see it as a huge adventure to face England.

San Marino boss Franco Varrella
San Marino boss Franco Varrella

San Marino boss Franco Varrella, 68, a former Juventus[2] youth team player and experienced coach, said: “We only started one month ago, we’ve played just four official games before this triple header of World Cup qualifying matches.

“We are far away from our best condition and even further away than Premier League[3] players can reach. Our target to fix a score would be difficult but we can hope to make it difficult for them.

“When the opposition is so tough, the challenges are incredibly high. But it is a dream to play great teams but the challenge for every team is to make sure we never enter the pitch already beaten. That is our target for this game, to enter the pitch not beaten.

“England are a very good team now. They play a much more international style than they have in recent years.”

Veteran midfielder Mirko Palazzi, 34, added: “To play here at Wembley is always a very proud moment for us, especially in such a historical moment at the start of a campaign.

“We want to make a better start ourselves at Wembley because it is a temple of football and England are one of the best teams in the world.

England train ahead of San Marino clash
England train ahead of San Marino clash

“We’ve played as a national team in so many games with some really big opponents, England, Spain and Germany. Each time we’ve faced professional opponents, even with the smaller teams.

“We want to be as professional as possible even if we’re not professional and we’re normal working people. But when San Marino players end their careers, the most beautiful memories will be from the national team, playing in great stadiums.

“I’ve played at Wembley three times and it’s incredible – even if it’s a source of jokes from my team mates in the locker room.”

San Marino have played England six times, lost all six, conceding 37 goals and scoring just once… the famous opening goal back in 1993 when Davide Gualtieri scored after just 8.3 seconds which remains the second fastest goal in World Cup qualifying history.

Gualtieri is a national hero despite England eventually winning 7-1 but they still missed out on qualifying for the 1994 World Cup which cost Graham Taylor his job.

Incredibly, they were ranked 118th – which was their highest ever standing – after losing to England in 1993 but, after several changes to the FIFA system in recent years, they now find themselves marooned nearly 100 places lower at the bottom of the pile.

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FIFA has 211 recognised nations but only 210 are currently ranked.

But they have just enjoyed their best ever sequence – two consecutive goalless draws against Lichtenstein and then Gibraltar – and so all hope is not lost.

There will always be debate about whether minnows should be playing big nations but this remains a dream come true for San Marino and striker Matteo Vitaioli sums up the mood in the squad.

Vitaioli, 31, who has scored one goal in 62 caps while working part time in a graphic design office, said: “We will share the pitch with players that we are used to seeing on TV.”

Football has always been about dreams and romance – and San Marino are entitled to theirs.


  1. ^ Coronavirus (www.mirror.co.uk)
  2. ^ Juventus (www.mirror.co.uk)
  3. ^ Premier League (www.mirror.co.uk)
  4. ^ click this link (www.mirror.co.uk)

[email protected] (John Cross)