Harry Kane scored four goals in England’s 10-0 demolition of San Marino as Gareth Southgate’s side made official their place in next year’s World Cup finals in Qatar.
In truth England needed only a point against the world’s 210th and lowest-ranked footballing nation to seal top spot in Group I so the only real question was how many goals they would deliver to mark the occasion.
Kane duly filled his boots, following up his hat-trick in the 5-0 win against Albania on Friday with four goals before halftime, including two penalties, swelling his England tally to 48 to move joint third on the list alongside Gary Lineker.
Harry Maguire began the rout with a sixth-minute header and Filippo Fabbri scored an own goal before Kane took over to put England 6-0 ahead before halftime.
Emile Smith-Rowe marked his first England start with the seventh and even after Kane was substituted the punishment continued for San Marino who had Dante Rossi sent off for a second yellow card.
Tyrone Mings, substitute Tammy Abraham and Bukayo Saka all got on the scoresheet in a farcically one-sided match that did little for the reputation of international football.
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England vs San Marino result: Harry Kane scores four as Three Lions hit 10 to qualify for Qatar World Cup
The only qualification at stake in San Marino was whether this could even be considered a football match.
Whatever it was, it felt a long way from the emotion and glory of the World Cup, even though England of course got the point they needed to reach Qatar with a 10-0 win over Europe’s worst minnows.
Qualification was such a formality that it feels like it should barely even be mentioned, even though it was technically the main consequence of this game.
The greater consequence beyond the many records ratcheted up, as ever, should be whether matches like this are even taking place.
The idea of pre-qualifying theoretically goes against the invigorating democracy of football… but then you have events like this, as England hit double-figures for the first time since 1964. It was actually only the third time that had happened since the second world war.
San Marino 0-10 England: There were at least a number of records to make the game notable
Perfect 10 for England as Harry Kane scores four in San Marino rout
England strolled to 2022 World Cup qualification as they thrashed lowly San Marino 10-0, with Harry Kane’s quest to become the nation’s all-time leading goalscorer taking shape as he hit four in the Group I finale.
Gareth Southgate said he would treat San Marino – the team ranked bottom of the FIFA rankings – with the same respect as any other opposition and he was true to his word as the visitors ran roughshod over a stunned home side.
Harry Maguire, Emile Smith Rowe, Tyrone Mings, Tammy Abraham, Bukayo Saka and a Filippo Fabbri own goal completed the scoring for the Three Lions.
Reaction from Harry Kane
England captain Harry Kane spoke to ITV after the match to talk about qualifying for the World Cup and equalling Gary Lineker’s tally of 48 goals for England. He said:
England vs San Marino result: Player ratings as Harry Kane scores four in 10-0 victory
Needing just a point against Fifa’s lowest-ranked international team to seal top spot in Group I, Harry Maguire opened the scoring with an unchallenged header inside the first five minutes and from thereon the remainder of the match amounted to little more than a one-sided onslaught.
Bukayo Saka’s deflected shot made it two before Harry Kane scored four goals in succession - two from the penalty spot - to close in on Wayne Rooney’s all-time England goalscoring record.
There was no let-up in the second half as Emile Smith Rowe marked his first start with a goal before Tyrone Mings, Tammy Abraham and Saka completed the rout.
Gareth Southgate’s utterly dominant side secured their place at the 2022 World Cup
England top Group I
Those three points mean England win Group I by a comfortable six point margin after Poland lost this evening to Hungary. England have qualified for their seventh consecutive World Cup, their longest ever run of reaching successive World Cup tournaments.
10 of the best
Plenty of goals to take about. Harry Kane will no doubt take the headlines with his four but there was another one for Harry Maguire, one for Tammy Abraham (plus one that was disallowed). Bukayo Saka made his third start of the year and scored his third goal in as many games, Tyrone Mings added to the tally and Emile Smith Rowe netted his first international goal in just his second appearance for England. There was also an own goal from Filippo Fabbri.
Full-time: San Marino 0 - 10 England
90+1 mins: England run down the one minute of added time and the final whistle goes. It’s been a bruising night for San Marino and a record breaking one for England.
The most important thing though is that Gareth Southgate’s men are going to the World Cup. The needed a point and picked up all three. It’s been a great year for the Three Lions and they top it off with a 10-0 victory over San Marino.
San Marino 0 - 10 England
87 mins: England’s biggest ever victory was a 13-0 win over Ireland in 1882 can Gareth Southgate’s men break that record tonight? Seems unlikely with only a few minutes left but you never know. Even against San Marino very few people would have expected England to score 10 goals this evening.
San Marino 0 - 10 England
84 mins: This is the first time England have scored 10 goals in a match since May 1964, a 10-0 win against USA. Gareth Southgate’s men just haven’t let up and San Marino have offered very little resistance. There’s still plenty of time for another couple of goals as well.
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