England - San Marino Preview: Big win expected as Three Lions begin life after Terry
After a draw with Ukraine last time out, Roy Hodgson's men return to Wembley hoping to get back to winning ways before a tricky looking trip to Poland on Tuesday
By Gill Clark
Walker, Jagielka, Lescott, Cole
Milner, Carrick, Lampard, Chamberlain
F Vitaoli, D Simoncini, Della Valle, Brolli
Gasperoni, Marani, M Vitaoli
Roy Hodgson has yet to reveal if he will pick a full-strength team or hand some of his less experienced players a run-out for the visit of San Marino.
However, he will be without Liverpool duo Glen Johnson and captain Steven Gerrard who are both suspended for the clash while John Terry has of course retired from international football.
Tottenham's Kyle Walker is likely to fill in at right-back whilst Frank Lampard should take over the armband, although he is a slight injury doubt, meaning Wayne Rooney could skipper the side if the Chelsea man misses out.
Elsewhere, Ryan Bertrand missed training with a sore throat and Jermain Defoe has been solely in the gym, but otherwise the Three Lions have no injury problems to speak of.
The visitors, meanwhile, have reported no injury problems in their squad ahead of the clash. The group's whipping boys are almost exclusively part-timers and boast just one professional player in their ranks, midfielder Mirko Palazzi plays for Rimini Calcio, a team in Italy’s fourth tier.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- England have played San Marino twice before and won both games. The first a 6-0 win at Wembley in February 1993 followed by a 7-1 win in November 1993.
- In the 7-1 win, San Marino took the lead on 8.3 seconds through Davide Gualtieri, still the fastest ever goal in Fifa World Cup history.
- If selected Ashley Cole will earn his 99th England cap against San Marino, and could reach 100 caps against Poland on Tuesday.
- If Wayne Rooney (pictured right) scores it will be his 30th England strike, putting him level on international goals with Nat Lofthouse, Alan Shearer and Tom Finney.
- Jermain Defoe is a man in form for his country. The Spurs striker has scored 17 goals in his last 19 starts for England.
- San Marino are listed joint 207th in the Fifa rankings with only Turks & Caicos Islands below them.
- Manager Giampaolo Mazza is a PE teacher in San Marino. He has managed the team since 1998.
- The visitors’ biggest ever away defeat came in Euro 2012 qualifying when they lost 11-0 to Netherlands, with Robin van Persie bagging four goals.
- The population of San Marino is just over 31,000, which would fit inside Southampton’s St Mary’s Stadium.
- San Marino have lost 108 of their 114 games, their last victory came over eight years ago, a 1-0 friendly win over Liechtenstein.
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Top 3 Predictions
England 8-0 San Marino
- 17.73 %
England 3-0 San Marino
- 9.87 %
England 5-0 San Marino
- 9.06 %
|World Cup Qualifying - UEFA (WCQ)||Mar 22, 2013||San Marino 0 - England 8|
|World Cup Qualifying - UEFA (WCQ)||Oct 12, 2012||England 5 - San Marino 0|
|Nov 19, 2013||England 0 - Germany 1||FR|
|Nov 15, 2013||England 0 - Chile 2||FR|
|Oct 15, 2013||England 2 - Poland 0||WCQ|
|Oct 11, 2013||England 4 - Montenegro 1||WCQ|
|Sep 10, 2013||Ukraine 0 - England 0||WCQ|
|1||Aldo Junior Simoncini||Goalkeeper|
|6||Alessandro Della Valle||Defender|
|-||Danilo Ezequiel Rinaldi||Striker|
Love him or hate him, it has been difficult to avoid Ashley Cole this week after the Chelsea man hit the headlines for his foul-mouthed tweet.
The Chelsea defender has subsequently apologised for his actions and Roy Hodgson has said the matter is closed, meaning he could well feature against San Marino.
If he does, it will open up the possibility of Cole winning his 100th cap on Tuesday in Poland, and whilst his off-field behaviour is frequently called into question, on the pitch his quality is rarely in doubt.
|Aldo Junior Simoncini|
The San Marino goalkeeper will be expecting a busy evening at Wembley and will be hoping not to concede double figures for the third time in his international career.
The 26-year-old was in goal for the 13-0 drubbing by Germany and also saw Spain fire 10 past him at Under-21 level.
Simoncini actually works as an accountant by day, and will be hoping to keep the score down against England.
San Marino’s record, unsurprisingly when you consider they possess just one professional player in their ranks, is awful and another drubbing looks likely as England attempt to head to Poland in good form.