Gareth Southgate said England’s mentality is key to qualify for the World Cup in record-breaking style when Harry Kane scored four times in a 10-0 demolition of San Marino on Monday. England needed a draw from their last Group I qualifier to reach next year’s tournament in Qatar, and England went crazy on goal when they were 10 in a single match for the first time since a 1964 friendly match against the United States. The result was considered the Three Lions’ biggest win ever in a competitive match.
Harry Maguire put Southgate’s team ahead early on before Filippo Fabbri’s own goal doubled England’s lead.
England captain Harry Kane then took center stage and scored four before the break to rewrite the record books.
Arsenal midfielder Emile Smith Rowe scored his first senior international goal in his first start.
Tyrone Mings scored his first English goal after San Marino’s Dante Rossi was sent off, before Tammy Abraham and Bukayo Saka completed their country’s record win.
Kane scored 16 goals for England in 2021 and set a calendar year record for the Three Lions when he surpassed the 12-goal scores of George Hilsdon in 1908 and Dixie Dean in 1927.
The 28-year-old equalized with Gary Lineker moving with 48 goals for England, with only Bobby Charlton (49) and Wayne Rooney (53) above him.
“Harry is a phenomenal goal scorer. If we had let him stand for another half hour, he might have gotten it (the record),” Southgate said.
“We would have had Wayne Rooney’s family over the phone telling us to get him off!”
Group winners England completed the qualifying campaign unbeaten in their 10 matches.
In 2021, they scored more games (15), more goals (52) and kept more clean sweep (14) than in any calendar year in their history.
“The qualification was obtained in Budapest, in Warsaw, in Albania and I have to honor all our players and staff for a very good year,” said Southgate.
“The mentality, even in a game like tonight, we can do nothing at the level of the opposition, but the way we played was great.”
Southgate’s men ended an unforgettable 2021 on an appropriately high note after reaching the Euro 2020 final in July – missing a first trophy since 1966 in a painful penalty shootout against Italy.
They will leave for Qatar in 12 months, established as one of the main contenders to win the World Cup.
“It’s a good time to reflect now,” Southgate said. “This is a great opportunity for us to look at the past few months, the younger players and the experiences they may need over the next six or seven months before a World Cup.”
England took the lead in the sixth minute against a dismal San Marino team at the bottom of FIFA’s world rankings.
Phil Foden’s corner reached Maguire and he rose the highest to score with a powerful header, making it two goals in two games for the defender.
Maguire’s pass found Saka, who cut in from the left side of the San Marino area and fired a low shot that bounced off Fabbri’s outstretched boot in the 15th minute.
Kane scored a penalty from the 27th minute after Rossi raised his hand to get the slightest touch on Foden’s scissor kick.
Kane got his second in the 31st minute and led Smith Rowe’s cross into the bottom corner.
Eight minutes later, Kane’s header was blocked by Alessandro D’Addario’s arm and he smashed the resulting header high into the top corner for his second triangle in two games.
Kane snatched his fourth in the 42nd minute and braided through the chambolic San Marino defense to go home.
Smith Rowe finished seventh with a predatory finish in the 58th minute.
After Rossi’s red card for letting Conor Gallagher down, Mings headed home in the 69th minute.
Abraham made it nine in the 78th minute and, with English fans chanting “we want 10”, Saka forced a close-range shot 60 seconds later.
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