By Mukwuzi Joseph
San Marino never stood a chance, not that anyone expected otherwise. The only question was, just how many would England score.
The answer? Ten.
Ten without reply. The score-bug in the corner of broadcast feeds couldn’t handle it, which was amusing. The match itself was useless given the drastic mismatch in quality, though the outcome makes England’s participation in next year’s World Cup official, so at least there’s that. It’s also the first time they’ve hit double-digits in goals since 1964, while Harry Kane became the first player since Ian Wright to hit four in one game. (Wright also did it against San Marino because San Marino.)
Also, Tammy Abraham scored one of the ten, a very nice one at that (also added an assist), while both Reece James and Ben Chilwell featured in the second half for 27 and 45 minutes, respectively.
Elsewhere, there were a couple surprising results involving Chelsea players, with Italy failing to beat Northern Ireland and allowing Switzerland to leapfrog them on the final day and finish top of the group. Italy must now contest the play-offs to get back to the World Cup, which is certainly not what was supposed to happen to the European Champions — but they’ve drawn four of their last five games, and that just won’t do. Jorginho played a little over an hour, as did Emerson.
Meanwhile, in a game of much less consequence, Billy Gilmour’s Scotland beat Andreas Christensen’s Denmark, 2-0. Denmark were already assured of the top spot and Scotland of the playoffs, but the defeat puts an end to Denmark’s perfect qualifying record, with their clean sheet streak having already ended earlier this break by the Faroe Islands’ late consolation on Friday.
In addition to those today, Croatia and Serbia also qualified for the 2022 World Cup yesterday. There are a couple more spots up for grabs today (Tuesday), with a massive showdown between the Netherlands and Norway (who aren’t boycotting after all) set to decide fates in Group G.