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WC Qualification Europe

  • October 12, 2012
  • • 20:00
  • • Wembley Stadium, London
  • Referee: G. Mažeika
  • • Attendance: 86645

Live Commentary

  • With Montenegro not playing today, England now move up to the top of Group H. They now look ahead to Poland away on Tuesday and will surely be buoyed by a satisfactory result here at Wembley. That's it from me, then - thank you for joining me tonight and make sure to stay with for all the match reaction from this and all the evening's other World Cup qualifying action. Goodnight!
  • FULL-TIME! There it is! A poor touch from Andy Carroll ends England's final attack and they have essentially done what was asked of them tonight. Nothing totally incredible but a 5-0 scoreline that fairly reflected their dominance of possession. Still, you might say that they could have had a lot more with some more devastating play in the box.
  • 90' + 3'
    Danny Welbeck found in the box - he spreads it a little wider for Leighton Baines, who cuts it back in but the forward is crowded out now and that must be nearly that.
  • 90' + 2'
    Christian Brolli tries to chip Joe Hart. Well, he'll never get another opportunity, I suppose.
  • 90' + 1'
    Gary Cahill gets stars in his eyes and attempts what must be a 50-yard volley. Needless to say, Aldo Simoncini does not have to attempt a comedy save.
  • 90'
    A long pass this time is aimed diagonally out to Leighton Baines but it's overhit and out. Three minutes will be added on.
  • 89'
    Phil Jagielka is up for a header but can't make room for much contact. In the follow-up move, Tom Cleverley aims to cut a shot across his body but it ricochets off a defender.
  • 88'
    Roy Hodgson is caught on camera with a satisfied smile. He then tries to pretend he's yawning or something but he's rumbled. Fair enough. 5-0 wins will do that to you.
  • 87'
    A long pass from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in search of Aaron Lennon is too long for the winger to chase and Aldo Simoncini gets there first. Winding down now.
  • 86'
    Left-back Mirko Palazzi is struggling with cramp now as he and his side are having real trouble with fitness - those who aren't substitutes, anyway.
  • 85'
    San Marino make their last change but England are still probing. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain breaks into the box but can't find the angle to make his shot count.
  • 84'
    SubstitutionFabio Vitaioli Simone Bacciocchi
  • 83'
    Leighton Baines just keeps running and running and, though not much coms of it, he continues to career down that left flank. He's had a very good night tonight.
  • 82'
    Jonjo Shelvey fancies a piece of the action and he dinks inside to evade his marker and get a shot off with his left foot. The effort, however, is scruffy and low and Aldo Simoncini has no trouble with it.
  • 81'
    Andy Selva puts himself about a bit and concedes a free kick for his troubles. San Marino were at least in the England half again.
  • 79'
    SubstitutionDanilo Ezequiel Rinaldi Andy Selva
  • 79'
    It's becoming a breeze now against the tiring San Marinese. Speaking of which, forward Danilo is replaced after a pretty good shift, all things considered. Coming on for him is Andy Selva, the only man ever to score a winning goal for his nation, against Liechtenstein in 2004.
  • 77'
    Assist Tom Cleverley
  • 77'
    Goal Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
    GOAL! It's five now for England and a lovely finish by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain! Leighton Baines crosses nicely from the left again and, though Danny Welbeck's first touch in search of a shot is found wanting, Tom Cleverley then tweaks it into the teenager's path and he dispatches a great, looping first-time shot into the corner. A fine way to get off the mark for your country.
  • 76'
    SubstitutionMatteo Coppini Lorenzo Buscarini
  • 75'
    Another England corner is defended by San Marino, who start making their own changes just as the hosts run out of theirs. Matteo Coppini makes way from the midfield for Lorenzo Buscarini, a defender winning his first cap. Just an easy one to start, then.
  • 74'
    Joe Hart takes over the captain's armband from Wayne Rooney, which is good to see.
  • 73'
    SubstitutionWayne Rooney Andy Carroll
  • 73'
    Well, then. With England now completely in command, Roy Hodgson opts to bring off the impressive Wayne Rooney to keep him fresh for Tuesday's trip to Poland. Andy Carroll is the man to come on.
  • 72'
    Assist Tom Cleverley
  • 72'
    Goal Danny Welbeck
    GOAL! Just like the first half, Danny Welbeck scores just two minutes after Wayne Rooney does. The ball is played to Tom Cleverley on the right-hand edge of the area and he passes along the byeline for the forward to sneak in at the near post and stab it in for his second. Well worked.
  • 70'
    Assist Aaron Lennon
  • 70'
    Goal Wayne Rooney
    GOAL! There we go. Wayne Rooney has his second of the night as, with play slightly more stretched in the San Marino half than most of the time, Leighton Baines brings Jonjo Shelvey's searching diagonal pass back into the centre. It breaks for the captain and he smacks it home. An instinctive finish.
  • 68'
    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck are on slightly different wavelengths as the former's poked through-ball doesn't find its man despite their close proximity.
  • 67'
    Danny Welbeck juuuuust fails to connect with a wickedly whipped ball from the right. It's England's 14th corner and it is wasted much like the previous 13.
  • 66'
    SubstitutionMichael Carrick Jonjo Shelvey
  • 66'
    And here comes Jonjo Shelvey for his first England appearance. Michael Carrick is the man replaced. That makes sense too. Roy Hodgson may still want two centre-backs for threats at corners.
  • 66'
    Hello! Danilo bursts forward one-on-one against Gary Cahill and gets enough sight of goal to shoot - it's not a million miles away.
  • 65'
    Yellow Card Danilo Ezequiel Rinaldi
  • 65'
    Roy Hodgson is readying Jonjo Shelvey for his international debut.
  • 64'
    San Marino come forward. I'm serious. Then they stop.
  • 63'
    Yummy-looking free kick from approximately 30 yards out. Rooney and Baines stand over it ... Leighton Baines takes it and it flashes just wide, brushing the side netting as it goes. Not bad.
  • 61'
    Lots of construction but not really enough destruction from Roy Hodgson's men so far. They look like they could do with an attacking addition - sacrificing a centre-back probably wouldn't do any harm.
  • 60'
    Finally a decent corner from England! The impressive Leighton Baines swings it in but Gary Cahill is judged to have fouled a defender just as he goes to head it in. It's a fair call.
  • 59'
    Inventive move as Michael Carrick feeds Baines through on the left byeline, who clips it back into the path of Tom Cleverley. The midfielder's final touch is a bit skewed, though, and it's an ineffective shot.
  • 58'
    Leighton Baines delivers a useful cross from wide on the left but Aaron Lennon's attempted control is half-bringing it down with his chest, half-bumping it into Danny Welbeck's direction. It achieves neither.
  • 57'
    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has another shot quasi-saved by Aldo Simoncini as he opts to shoot rather than try to break through the entirety of the blue sea. The visitors are defending in such a block when England get the ball in the middle just outside the area.
  • 55'
    Some more faffing around on the right, it's a bit scrappy, and San Marino clear as far as the halfway line.
  • 53'
    Gary Cahill really should score then. Still up from the corner, his volley smacks against air.
  • 52'
    There's some patient build-up on the right flank, which has brought England some joy today. As has the left. It's then brought inside and Michael Carrick tries his luck from inside the box but a deflection brings a corner and we know how that goes by now.
  • 51'
    A long ball from defence is hit fairly aimlessly into the San Marino area and Aldo Simoncini takes it comfortably. A little lack of zip from England just now.
  • 49'
    A rare misplaced pass from Michael Carrick evades Tom Cleverley and the latest attacking build-up is brought to an end.
  • 48'
    Theo Walcott has gone to hospital for a scan on his chest as a "precautionary measure", ITV reports. We'll have more on as we get it.
  • 47'
    Some good fight from Tom Cleverley as he battles off tackles to get back up with the ball still at his fight. The move breaks down, though.
  • 46'
    Right then! The second half is a go.
  •'s other man at Wembley (we have two!), Ewan Roberts, chimes in: "Public Enemy's 'Harder Than You Think' is blaring around Wembley Stadium as a host of Great Britain's Paralympic medallists are paraded in front of the crowd. There's some cheeky promotion for next year's Wembley NFL game as the Jacksonville Jaguars' kicker tries to score a penalty. He does, and is promptly outdone by some Average Joes attempting the 'Panenka'."
  • Elsewhere in Group H, there's some good news for England: Ukraine, one of their chief rivals for qualification who drew 1-1 at Wembley not so long ago, have been held to a 0-0 stalemate with Moldova. As so many a pundit enjoys saying: They'll be disappointed with that.
  • With an eye on goal difference, though, Roy Hodgson will probably want England to more than double their half-time advantage in the second period. It's something of which they look quite capable.
  • Wayne Veysey, our man at Wembley, is a little more reserved: "Modest applause greets the half-time whistle following an underwhelming opening period. Danny Welbeck's cute goal aside, England have been little more than functional as their reluctance to target the flanks has led to congestion and fustration in the middle of the pitch."
  • Plenty of good things for England: Wayne Rooney has been impressive if a little inaccurate from range and Aaron Lennon has been incisive since coming on. For one night only, they are playing essentially like Spain did at Euro 2012.
  • HALF-TIME! The referee calls an end to the three added minutes - I thought there should have been more for the Theo Walcott interruption alone - and there ends a very satisfactory half for England. No landslide of goals yet but total control of the game.
  • 45' + 3'
    Drifting over to the right flank, the Arsenal tyro continues to show enthusiasm but a dinked cross is overhit and it's a goal kick.
  • 45' + 3'
    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is another desperate to shoot from range. The youngster wants glory but his latest effort is a bit of a skidder that's held by Aldo Simoncini.
  • 45' + 2'
    Danny Welbeck is close to pinching one from point-blank range as a fabulous ball from deep is just too much for him to control.
  • 45' + 1'
    Aaron Lennon is causing Alessandro Della Valle some problems with his exploitative pace but this time just gets a fall over and a promise of more for his troubles.
  • 45'
    Wayne Rooney senses goals here. He's been banging shots in at any opportunity from outside the box. This one is more wayward than most.
  • 43'
    A low Leighton Baines cross is snaffled by Aldo Simoncini, who was clearly reading my updates three minutes ago and has upped his game. Danny Welbeck, meanwhile, is getting one heck of a treatment from Alessandro Della Valle.
  • 42'
    Once again, the corner is wasted, hit over the men in the box. That's been England's only real downside so far, aside from the Theo Walcott injury.
  • 41'
    Close for Wayne Rooney! After some neat interplay from deep with Leighton Baines the captain swivels and shoots from the left corner of the penalty area - Aldo Simoncini's touch probably just does enough to turn it from going in to going out. Corner.
  • 40'
    England go a full two minutes without scoring. A newly entitled Wembley crowd start to go sour again. Aldo Simoncini is doing his best to cheer them up with some rather funny acrobatics in the area, coming out willy-nilly to shut attackers down. You sense trouble for the poor man.
  • 38'
    Remember Danny Welbeck's goal at Euro 2012? Yeah, he did that again. Lovely backheel flick. That's becoming his trademark.
  • 37'
    Assist Aaron Lennon
  • 37'
    Goal Danny Welbeck
    GOAL! Danny Welbeck turns scorer this time! Aaron Lennon bursts onto Kyle Walker's through-ball and squares it for the Manchester United man, who pokes home at the near post. Decent goal, that!
  • 36'
    Sighs of relief all round Wembley. As for the penalty, Danny Welbeck certainly could have avoided the keeper and run around him with the ball but it was a sure-fire penalty if he waited and so it proved.
  • 35'
    Penalty Goal Wayne Rooney
    GOAL! Wayne Rooney thumps the penalty into the top-left corner. England finally have the lead and that's the captain's 30th in national colours.
  • 34'
    Yellow Card Aldo Junior Simoncini
  • 34'
    PENALTY TO ENGLAND! Danny Welbeck sprints into the area, knows that Aldo Simoncini is coming out to stop him, waits for the contact, gets it, goes down, fair enough.
  • 33'
    LORDY ME! Michael Carrick with a long-range piledriver that smacks against the bar and out again. Danny Welbeck reaches the rebound but pokes it against the post with an awkward shot. Carrick's effort was wonderful.
  • 32'
    NEAR MISS! After yet another underwhelming corner, it comes to the right flank for England and Wayne Rooney arrives at the far post. He's under pressure but heads wide and you have to say he should get that on target. The hosts come close.
  • 31'
    There are some very brief glimpses of good San Marinese passing on the rare occasions when England give them the ball. They don't have the strength to hold onto it for more than three passes at most, though.
  • 30'
    Wayne Veysey at Wembley: "You can hear a pin drop here as England fans restlessly and silently await an avalanche of goals. Apart from nothing in the way of net bursting, everything is as we imagined; San Marino are sitting deep and England are probing and dominating."
  • 29'
    England could be making much better use of corners. Tom Cleverley makes a real hash of one when he takes his turn in the rotation but follow-up shots from the hosts draw some rather average clearances. Control but no penetration yet.
  • 27'
    Yikes. Aldo Simoncini does not look a confident man. Alone on his line, he fumbles and is quite lucky not to drop it into his own net.
  • 26'
    Wayne Rooney drops exactly underneath an already slow, looping ball (thanks to a deflection) and heads it miles over.
  • 25'
    SAVE! Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain draws another save from Aldo Simoncini. Well, I say save. It bounced off his arms. It's another long-range effort after a period of calm, probing passing around the box.
  • 23'
    Kyle Walker continues to think that he's Jairzinho. This time, given an inch of space from 35 yards out, he tries to thumping shot. Another corner, this time taken short, and it's got rid of by San Marino.
  • 22'
    Some - whisper it - rather enjoyable quick, short passing from England but Wayne Rooney brings an end to it when he launches a shot into the packed straight line of defenders between him and the goal. It deflects wide and the corner does not merit description.
  • 21'
    Alex Gasperoni tries to chest down a long ball on the left. It doesn't work.
  • 20'
    I'm hearing that Theo Walcott had to get on a stretcher after he walked off the pitch as he was in so much pain. Suggestions of a broken rib. Nasty. On the pitch, Kyle Walker's cross towards Danny Welbeck is deflected and it's just enough for Aldo Simoncini to grab.
  • 18'
    Hang on - San Marino nearly get away on the counter! A pretty decent through-ball for forward Danilo was nearly enough for him to outpace Phil Jagielka - but not quite. He fouls the defender instead.
  • 17'
    A deflected Leighton Baines cross brings a corner for the hosts but Aldo Simoncini dramatically claims the delivery high in the air before falling with it and booting out to the England defence.
  • 16'
    Kyle Walker seems a little too confident here. He tries some stepovers, which are fine when they work and he does then pass to Welbeck, who's a better first touch away from being one-on-one. A moment later, the Tottenham right-back gives the ball away.
  • 15'
    Alessandro Della Valle, San Marino's captain, hooks another one away. The visitors are not disgracing themselves so far though England are far from top gear.
  • 13'
    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain embarks on a mazy run inside ... the centre circle. Then loses the ball. The youngster doesn't really need to be that clever.
  • 13'
    Leighton Baines takes the corner .... and Wayne Rooney, who sort of loses his marker but not really, heads from a standing position wide. Not enough traction on that one.
  • 12'
    Fabio Vitaioli makes a strong tackle at left-back to stop newcomer Aaron Lennon as he tries a quick burst to make room for a cross. England, though, have a corner.
  • 11'
    Tom Cleverley is neeeearly slipped into space in the box but the angle's just a bit too tight and he can't make anything of it.
  • 10'
    SubstitutionTheo Walcott Aaron Lennon
  • 10'
    Kyle Walker gives away a free kick in the San Marino half as he scampers in a little too eagerly to rob his man of the ball. Meanwhile, sense prevails and Aaron Lennon replaces Theo Walcott.
  • 9'
    The action begins again, Walcott still being treated on the sideline. England slowly resume their task.
  • 8'
    A dazed Walcott is standing up now and, though Aaron Lennon looked ready to come on, the winger may yet try to play on.
  • 6'
    There's now a slightly worried wait as a winded Walcott might be suffering a little more than first thought. Medical staff are on the pitch with a stretcher, tending to the Arsenal man.
  • 5'
    Yikes. Aldo Simoncini is pretty lucky to still be on the pitch. Theo Walcott bursts into the area and is met by the goalkeeper, rushing - nay, flying - out in midair to knock him over. Could easily have been a red but no booking.
  • 4'
    Michele Cervellini battles manfully on the San Marino left - in his own half - to hold off his marker for a moment.
  • 3'
    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has the first shot! It's a testing one from range, which is just looping into the net before Aldo Simoncini tips it over.
  • 3'
    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's pass to Tom Cleverley into the box is passed out with a certain nervous poise by the defender.
  • 2'
    It begins. England start passing it around in the San Marino half but a sloppy ball from midfield breaks the first attempt down. The hosts come back.
  • 1'
    San Marino kick off. Within three seconds they have lost the ball.
  • The 'Mission: Impossible' theme is blaring out on the tannoy at Wembley Stadium. It's hard not to see it as a little patronising.
  • Kick-off is now moments away. Place your bets.
  • England's anthem is none of those things.
  • The San Marinese anthem is a pleasant, dignified and brief number. Whether it will calm its players down sufficiently is a question that will be answered soon enough.
  • The teams are out, England led out by Wayne Rooney, who handles that part of the job pretty well. Handshakes then anthems in a moment.
  • Here's our man Wayne Veysey there for us: "Welcome from a sell-out Wembley, where 90,000 souls are filing in for what is expected to be little more than a public execution. The question is not so much who will win, but how big a hiding will England give the world's lowest-ranked team. Anything less than a procession and Roy Hodgson might feel the noose tighten around his neck. The manager's team selection has been compromised by the usual mix of injury and suspension, as well as the modern phenomenon of social media interaction. Danny Welbeck gets the chance to fill his boots up front in place of Jermain Defoe, who is carrying a yellow card, while Leighton Baines replaces Ashley Cole, who might have to wait until Poland on Tuesday to win his 99th cap following his #bunchof[REDACTED] Tweet."
  • "Leighton's done well and it's nice to keep one or two up my sleeve for Tuesday," England manager Roy Hodgson tells ITV of his decision to bring in Baines for Ashley Cole at left-back tonight. On a yellow card, the Chelsea man is being saved for use against Poland.
  • Earlier today,'s Poll of the Day asked you just how many goals England will score tonight. Well, as of right now, the winner is ... between five and six! So say 29.27 per cent of you. We shall see.
  • Captain for the day? In the absences of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, it's Wayne Rooney. If the stand-in skipper gets on the scoresheet tonight (and he'll certainly hope to), that'd take him to 30 England goals. Level with Nat Lofthouse, Alan Shearer and Tom Finney? You'd take that. In any discipline.
  • These two teams have met just twice before; a 6-0 win for England in February 1993 followed by a 7-1 success in November of the same year. Extrapolating mathematically from the increase in goals for each side each time that they face each other, we can deduce that England will score 8.17 goals but lose to San Marino, who will score an infinite number.
  • As you can see over on the right-hand side, there, England come into this game in second place in Group H, behind Montenegro on goal difference. That factor may change this evening. San Marino, by virtue of only having played one game and therefore only lost one game, are second from bottom.
  • In fact, even their manager, Giampaolo Mazza, is well aware that his side are essentially doomed. "How do we stop Wayne Rooney? With a Kalashnikov," he told reporters. He doesn't appear to have included Kalashnikov in his line-up tonight, however.
  • As you are probably by now aware, San Marino are the world's joint-worst side, according to the Fifa rankings. They sit 207th alongside Bhutan and Turks and Caicos Islands. Some bookies won't even take a bet on a simple outright England win. It's fair to say that the visitors are outsiders.
  • TEAM NEWS: San Marino go for: A Simoncini; F Vitaioli, D Simoncini, Della Valle, Brolli; Gasperoni, Cibelli, Coppini, Palazzi, Cervellini; Danilo. Subs: Valentini, Bacciocchi, Bollini, Buscarini, Marani, Mazza, Selva, Vannucci, M Vitaioli.
  • TEAM NEWS: England line up as: Hart; Walker, Jagielka, Cahill, Baines; Cleverley, Carrick; Walcott, Rooney (c), Oxlade-Chamberlain; Welbeck. Subs: Cole, Ruddy, Lescott, Shawcross, Milner, Shelvey, A Johnson, Lennon, Carroll, Defoe, Forster.
  • Hello there, everyone, and welcome to's LIVE play-by-play commentary of England v San Marino. I'm George Ankers, which means that I've already used the 'g' key twice more than necessary - I sense that that, plus 'o', 'a' and 'l' could all get a severe workout on my keyboard tonight.