Fan’s preview: England vs San Marino

FOOTBALL writer ANDREW CROSS gives his thoughts on England’s match with the minnows of San Marino at Wembley tonight, 8pm kick-off.

ENGLAND come up against San Marino tonight in their third World Cup qualifier, a side ranked joint-last in the official FIFA rankings.

After accumulating four points from their opening two games against Moldova and Ukraine, England boss Roy Hodgson will be hoping his side takes full advantage of a seemingly easy opportunity to boost their goal difference.

Minnows San Marino began their qualifying campaign with a 6-0 defeat to Montenegro, and have just one win to their name in over 100 competitive matches; a 1-0 friendly victory over Liechtenstein back in 2004.

Following a knee injury to Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard’s suspension, England striker Wayne Rooney will captain his country in-front of what is expected to be a full-house at Wembley.

Rooney will reportedly be partnered up-front with his Manchester United teammate Danny Welbeck, who has scored two goals in 11 international appearances.

Being watched by a crowd three times the size of their overall population, San Marino will undoubtedly prioritise defence.

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England will also begin the game with some level of caution, but if the home side can find an early goal, they should go on to win this game comfortably, hopefully scoring quite a few in the process.

The last time the two sides met was almost 20 years ago, in what was also a World Cup qualifying fixture.

England overcame their opponents 7-1, in a game which San Marino remarkably took the lead after just 8 seconds – a goal that remains the fastest in FIFA history.

That goal causes embarrassment to this day, and Hodgson will be hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself tonight.

Prediction: 8-0

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