England pair get first international goals in cruising win over San Marino

Date published: Thursday 25th March 2021 9:34 - Samuel Bannister

England made light work of San Marino to get off to a winning start in their World Cup qualifying group with a 5-0 triumph.

It could have been more, as there were a number of missed chances throughout the game. However, there was no doubt about the final result. It was a particularly memorable day for James Ward-Prowse and Ollie Watkins, both of whom scored their first international goals.

England went into the game expecting plenty of goals and had an early chance to break the deadlock. Reece James played the ball across the face of goal, but Dominic Calvert-Lewin could not get his feet right and failed to connect for a tap-in.

Raheem Sterling then had a couple of chances with headers, but could divert neither on target.

Stones was the next to miss a big chance, lifting the ball over the bar from close range after a cross.

The deadlock was eventually broken after 14 minutes. Ben Chilwell played the ball in from the left, with Ward-Prowse arriving in the box and tucking it home with a neat finish for his first international goal.

The floodgates were due to open after that first goal, and indeed, Calvert-Lewin headed home a cross from James shortly after to double the lead.

Chilwell was the next to try his luck, forcing a good save from Elia Benedettini after a shot from outside the box.

It was three in the 30th minute, when Sterling finished after San Marino lost possession at the back. Captain of his country for the day, the Manchester City winger’s shot deflected past Benedettini.

Calvert-Lewin got himself in a tangle again when he missed an opportunity to get on the scoresheet shortly after.

The Everton strike got his second goal early in the second half. Jesse Lingard fizzed the ball across goal, leaving him with a tap-in. This time, Calvert-Lewin made no mistake.

Watkins scores on debut

He was unable to grab a hat-trick, though, as he soon was replaced by Watkins. The Aston Villa striker was making his international debut.

England were able to drop the tempo for the remainder of the match but still had chances. For example, Benedettini did well to tip a Ward-Prowse free kick onto the post.

Watkins was able to mark his debut with a goal, expertly cutting the ball into the bottom corner to make it 5-0 in the final 10 minutes.

It capped off a routine win for England, who are top of their qualifying group after one game as a result. The attention will now turn to Sunday’s game against Albania.

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