England enjoyed a fine run against San Marino in their World Cup qualifiers, putting five goals past La Serenissima with debutant Ollie Watkins finding the net as Dominic Calvert-Lewin also struck twice.
It was a comfortable opener for England and should have probably scored more than the final 5-0 scoreline over FIFA’s lowest-ranked side San Marino at Wembley on Thursday.
James Ward-Prowse opened their accounts in 14 minutes but Calvert-Lewin’s header 7 minutes later and Raheem Sterling’s finish in the 31st minute of the match gave the three lions a handsome lead at half-time.
Calvert-Lewin tapped in a fourth (53) from Jesse Lingard’s cutback and Watkins (83) stepped off the bench to mark his rise from League Two football to the international stage by adding a fifth.
Watch the highlights of the match below
San Marino’s goalkeeper Elia Benedettini put in a superb performance to limit England to that rather modest return from their 32 shots at goal – although the visitors failed to even emulate their famous goal against England from the 1994 World Cup qualifiers on the other end.
San Marino managed only two efforts of their own, as Gareth Southgate marked his 50th game in charge of his country with win number 30.
England moved to top the table ahead of their trip to Albania for their next qualifier on Sunday, before returning to Wembley to face Poland on Wednesday as Albania won by a lone goal against Andorra while Hungary and Poland played a 3-3 draw elsewhere in Group I.
Spain 1-1 Greece: Former world champions frustrated in draw
Spain and Greece played a frustrating 1-1 draw in their opening 2022 World Cup qualifying Group B fixture on Thursday.
Alvaro Morata opened the scoring for the hosts after 32 minutes, moments after Dani Olmo was denied by the crossbar from distance.
However, shortly before the hour mark, substitute Inigo Martinez – on for captain Sergio Ramos – was penalised for a rash tackle on Greek midfielder Giorgos Masouras. Anastasios Bakasetas smashed the ball in from the spot to stun Luis Enrique’s side.
Morata also got his country’s best opportunity for a winner but he spurned the chance by heading straight at the goalkeeper as Spain dominated possession but struggled to create any clear chances against the resolute visitors.
World Cup Qualifiers results (European Qualifying)
Thursday, 25 March 2021
- Bulgaria 1-3 Switzerland
- Israel 0-2 Denmark
- Andorra 0-1 Albania
- England 5-0 San Marino
- Germany 3-0 Iceland
- Hungary 3-3 Poland
- Italy 2-0 Northern Ireland
- Liechtenstein 0-1 Armenia
- Moldova 1-1 Faroe Islands
- Romania 3-2 North Macedonia
- Scotland 2-2 Austria
- Spain 1-1 Greece
- Sweden 1-0 Georgia