England need just a point to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Qatar and will expect to get it when they face San Marino – the world’s worst-ranked team by FIFA – at the San Marino Stadium in Serravalle on Monday night.
Despite criticism of his team selection, Gareth Southgate’s side romped home to a thumping 5-0 victory against Albania on Friday night in their first match of the international break.
Harry Maguire opened the scoring with a powerful header, celebrating with an ear-cup towards his critics, before a Jordan Henderson strike and a Harry Kane hat-trick completed the scoring within a scintillating first 45 minutes.
Without wanting to be disrespectful towards England’s opponents, victory should be little more than a formality and it would be one of the biggest shocks of recent times if England were to come away with anything other than a win.
Southgate is likely to shuffle the pack with several players pulling out of the squad through injury as well as the limited ability of the opposition presenting the England boss with the opportunity to tinker and experiment.
Emile Smith-Rowe made his Three Lions debut off the bench against Albania on Friday night and could be in line for his first start in Serravalle. Aaron Ramsdale, who has been mightily impressive for Arsenal in recent weeks, may also start as he continues his push for the number one jersey.
San Marino v England
FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier
19:45 ITV / ITV Hub
(Maximum 10 matches)
MAR 2021 FIFA WORLD CUP England 5-0 San Marino
SEP 2015 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP San Marino 0-6 England
OCT 2014 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP England 5-0 San Marino
MAR 2013 FIFA WORLD CUP San Marino 0-8 England
OCT 2012 FIFA WORLD CUP England 5-0 San Marino
NOV 1993 FIFA WORLD CUP San Marino 1-7 England
FEB 1993 FIFA WORLD CUP England 6-0 San Marino
As expected, San Marino have proved to be little more than whipping boys in Group I. They currently sit bottom of the group with nine defeats out of nine and a whopping 36 goals conceded.
They were defeated 4-0 by Hungary in their last outing and their main goal for this upcoming fixture against England will be, like most of their games, to keep the score-line as low and respectable as possible.
However, if England’s drubbing of Albania is anything to go by, San Marino could well be in for another tough evening. We’re expecting England to get off to a flying start with over 2.5 goals in the first-half and also backing a correct score of 6-0.
PROFIT/LOSS (NOVEMBER 2021): LOSS -9.49 points
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