SERRAVALLE, San Marino (AP) — England hit double figures in goals in a competitive game for the first time to power into the World Cup on Monday.
Harry Kane enjoyed himself, in particular, in the embarrassingly one-sided 10-0 win over San Marino that secured England first place in Group I of European qualifying.
England’s captain scored four goals — all in the first half, with two of them being penalties — to move his international tally to 48, which is tied with Gary Lineker and only five off Wayne Rooney’s all-time record for the country. Kane finished 2021 with 16 goals for England, a national record for a calendar year.
Harry Maguire, Emile Smith Rowe, Tyrone Mings, Tammy Abraham and Bukayo Saka also scored, along with an own-goal, as England showed no mercy against the world’s lowest-ranked team — a lineup filled with non-professionals who were using annual leave from their day jobs to play in the qualifier in Serravalle.
When England got to double figures after 79 minutes, there appeared to be a good chance the team could at least match its biggest ever win — 13-0 over Ireland in 1882. That’s one of only three times England has scored 11 goals or more.
This was England biggest victory since 1964 when it achieved 10-0 against the United States in New York.
England finished on 26 points, six clear of second-placed Poland, which lost at home to Hungary 2-1 and might be unseeded for next year’s playoffs. That would mean Poland playing away in its one-leg semifinal in one of the three playoff brackets.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
The Associated Press