Oct 13, 2012, 03.42 AM | Source: Reuters
SOCCER-WORLD-ENGLAND:England labour to flattering 5-0 win over San Marino
LONDON (Reuters) - Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck scored twice as England laboured to a 5-0 victory over whipping-boys San Marino to go top of World Cup Group H qualifying on Friday.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also notched his first international goal as the hosts found the net three times in the last 20 minutes at Wembley after San Marino had frustrated them for most of the match.
England, camped in the opposition half from the kickoff, took 35 minutes to make the breakthrough with skipper Rooney converting a penalty after goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini had clattered into Welbeck.
Welbeck quickly made it 2-0 but England had to wait until the 70th minute for Rooney to grab the third.
Manchester United striker Welbeck added the fourth from close range before Oxlade-Chamberlain curled in the fifth goal.
England were expected to chalk up a big win over a San Marino side joint bottom of FIFA's world rankings with only one victory in 114 previous matches.
The visitors however repeatedly pulled nine and 10 players behind the ball and did well to keep the score down, with England choosing to go through the congested middle of the field rather than use the wings.
San Marino had only one attempt at goal and were indebted to goalkeeper Simoncini at the other end.
England have seven points from three qualifiers while San Marino are bottom of the group on zero points.
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)