Five things we learned about England against San Marino
In light England’s 5-0 Wembley win over San Marino, Coral writers have picked out five things that we learned about the Three Lions, who are now odds-on with Coral at 1/8 to win Group E.
San Marino can still qualify
You may laugh, but mathematically it is true. If Slovenia can beat Switzerland, and Lithuania defeat Estonia, England’s latest opponents can still progress, though they first need a point. It may leave us questioning and evaluating everything we thought we knew about football, life, philosophy, the Earth and universe; though it won’t be their problem!
England fans do have a sense of humour
After 48 years without a major tournament win, and a sustained period of abject failure, England fans have learned to develop a sense of humour when it comes to their national football team. Voting Joe Hart man of the match against San Marino, when he barely broke a sweat and England set up camp in the away team’s half, highlighted that levity.
England were at best below average, at worst downright appalling
Let’s break this down into simple terms. There were XI plus superstars that play and train week-in week-out, earning enough combined a year to finance the cost of the new Wembley Stadium, up against not even part-time players, and they could only put five past them. They should have expected San Marino to sit behind the ball, so should have at least had the presence of mind to switch to wingers when it wasn’t going right, and stretch their opposition. Countless times the San Marino goalkeeper wandered off his line in the second half, and noone thought to try and attempt a simple dink over the top of him. Quite clearly Andros Townsend was the only England player on the pitch that was prepared to try something different, which paid off when he scored from the edge of the area.
San Marino were underestimated
It was transparent to all those who paid attention, but the nonchalance in England players’ body language was evident. They all thought this was going to be a walk in the park, and for 25 minutes they were very nearly embarrassed, having struggled to create clear cut opportunities, or attempt to test the goalkeeper. If they take this attitude into the match against Estonia, they will be humiliated.