Rooney equals record as England reach Euro 2016

Date published: Saturday 5th September 2015 5:54

Wayne Rooney’s penalty saw him equal Bobby Charlton’s record with 49 England goals as the Three Lions won 6-0 at San Marino to book their place at the 2016 European Championships.

Rooney opened the scoring in 12th-minute, tucking away a controversial spot-kick which was seemingly awarded for a tuck on John Stones.

England were 2-0 up at half-time after Luke Shaw’s cross was turned into his own net by Cristian Brolli (30).

But the Three Lions turned the screw into the second half, with Ross Barkley (46), Theo Walcott (68, 78) and Harry Kane (77) all on the scoresheet as England became the first nation to qualify for the 2016 European Championships.

There was a nice, convivial atmosphere around Serravalle ahead of the match, although some thoughtless England fans overshadowed that by chanting an anti-IRA song after bellowing ‘no surrender’ during the national anthem.

When play got under way the awful San Marino Stadium pitch meant both sides struggle for fluency, highlighted by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s slip just before he could cut the ball back from the byline.

It was an uninspiring start to a match that saw England break the deadlock in peculiar circumstances after 13 minutes.

With a free-kick having come to nothing, there was understandable bemusement inside the ground when referee Leontios Trattou pointed to the spot.

Marco Berardi was booked for what appeared to be a push on Rooney, who stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick to equal Charlton’s goalscoring record.

The forward pointed to the stand where wife Coleen and son Kai sat as he celebrated the odd, if welcome, goal, which he attempted to add to soon after.

Aldo Simoncini thwarted the England skipper, though, and then James Milner’s follow-up effort as England continued to dominate without exerting much effort.

Milner and Jonjo Shelvey had efforts before San Marino’s goal was breached again on the half-hour mark, with Luke Shaw’s whipped cross directed into his own goal by Brolli.

John Stones failed with a header before Simoncini denied Oxlade-Chamberlain to keep the half-time margin to a respectable two goals.

It always looked a matter of when rather than if England would grab another, and it arrived a mere 15 seconds after the restart.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was the architect, sending in a right-wing cross that Barkley nodded home from close range to notch his first ever international goal.

This was always going to be Rooney’s night, though, so eyebrows were raised in the San Marino Stadium when Hodgson plumped to take him off after 58 minutes.

There were a few boos from the perplexed travelling fans as Kane took his place at the same time that Milner was replaced by Fabian Delph.

The Manchester City midfielder curled an effort just over soon after and then laid on the fourth to fellow substitute Walcott, who prodded home under pressure with his first touch of the night.

The fifth arrived in the 77th minute and was easily the best goal of the evening. Shelvey, so impressive in midfield, played a wonderful through ball to Kane, who showed poise and skill to clip over Simoncini.

It was a fine way to end a frustrating scoreless streak and was added to a minute later when Walcott netted his second of the night.

The Arsenal forward would have secured the match ball had his 82nd minute strike not drifted inches wide, while Danilo Rinaldi called Joe Hart into a rare moment of action at the other end as England cruised to an expected victory.

What did you think of England’s display? Check out our player ratings here.

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