Mon, Sep 07, 2015 - Page 19 News List

England win 6-0, qualify for Euro 2016

‘OBJECTIVE ACCOMPLISHED’:European champions Spain registered a 2-0 victory over Slovakia, with goals from Jordi Alba and Andres Iniesta, to go top of Group C


England’s Wayne Rooney, right, controls the ball in front of San Marino’s Davide Simoncini during their Euro 2016 qualifying match at the San Marino Stadium in Serravalle on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

England became the first team to qualify for next year’s UEFA European Championships by crushing San Marino 6-0 on Saturday.

Wayne Rooney’s opener from the penalty spot was his 49th international goal, tying him with Bobby Charlton as England’s all-time leading scorer, with England securing first place in Group E.

With a routine win against a San Marino team that included a barman, a lawyer, a pharmacist and a student, England guaranteed their place at Euro 2016 with three games to spare and remained on course to finish group play with maximum points.

Rooney started the match needing two goals to surpass Charlton’s record. He got one from the penalty spot in the 13th minute, but was taken off just before the hour mark, denying him a chance of a second goal against a tiring home defense late on.

He is to get another chance to reach 50 goals against Switzerland tomorrow.

“It would have been great if it had happened tonight, but it will be [great] on Tuesday, if selected, with the tradition at Wembley,” Rooney said.

An own-goal, as well as second-half goals by Ross Barkley, Theo Walcott (two) and Harry Kane completed England’s win.

Switzerland roared back to beat Slovenia 3-2 and remain second at six points behind England.

Switerland were losing 2-0 until Josip Drmic scored his first of two goals in the 80th minute. Valentin Stocker leveled in the 84th minute before Drmic got the winner four minutes into stoppage-time.

Slovenia are third, while Estonia beat Lithuania 1-0 and are fourth.

Defending champions Spain avenged a rare loss to Slovakia with a 2-0 victory to pull level on points with Slovakia and take the lead of Group C on head-to-head results.

Spain got early goals from Jordi Alba and Andres Iniesta to deal Slovakia their first loss in qualifying for next summer’s tournament. Last year, Slovakia ended Spain’s 36-game unbeaten run in qualifiers.

Last year’s shock defeat at Slovakia on the heels of Spain’s poor showing at last year’s FIFA World Cup had many wondering if it was time for coach Vicente del Bosque to start over.

Although he promised to rejuvenate his side, a starting lineup of 11 veterans from the Brazil World Cup played like two-time European champions and could have won by a wider margin.

“Objective accomplished,” Iniesta said.

Alba headed in a well-placed pass from David Silva to get Spain going in the fifth minute. Iniesta then converted Spain’s dominance into a second goal after Diego Costa earned a penalty a half-hour in.

Ukraine beat Belarus 3-1 to remain in third place, three points behind Spain and Slovakia, and set up a big match at Slovakia tomorrow.

Luxembourg overcame Macedonia 1-0 with a stoppage-time goal to escape last place.

In Group G, Russia moved back into contention for an automatic qualifying spot with a 1-0 win over Sweden, while group leaders Austria won their sixth game in a row.

Artyom Dzyuba’s 38th-minute strike ended Russia’s 11-month wait for a competitive goal before a hectic end to the match saw both teams fail to convert good chances.

Russia, in their first match under new coach Leonid Slutsky, stayed in third place, but are only one point behind Sweden, who hold the second of the automatic qualifying places.

Sweden lost star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to injury. He was replaced by Ola Toivonen at half-time after complaining of a leg injury. Coach Erik Hamren said it was not clear if Ibrahimovic would be able to play against Austria tomorrow.

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