England cruise past San Marino in World Cup qualifying opener as Jesse Lingard justifies Three Lions call-up and Ollie Watkins nets on debut
Jesse Lingard justified his England selection and substitute Ollie Watkins scored a debut goal as the Three Lions breezed past lowly San Marino to get their World Cup qualifying campaign to a winning start.
Gareth Southgate’s men unsurprisingly dominated the world’s lowest ranked side from start to finish but West Ham loanee Lingard was at the heart of everything good in the display.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Raheem Sterling and John Stones all missed good chances to open the scoring as the hosts predictably dominated possession.
Lingard, too, saw a shot well saved before James Ward-Prowse turned home his first senior England goal to break the deadlock before the 15-minute mark.
The lead was doubled seven minutes later, Calvert-Lewin making amends for his earlier miss, stooping to head home a fine Reece James cross.
Sterling had been determined to get among the goals and would add the third on the half-hour, San Marino gifting possession to the hosts and Mason Mount breaking forward to play in the Man City winger, whose shot deflected in off Dante Carlos Rossi.
England were actually quite profligate in front of goal, converting three of their 22 shots in a first half they completely dominated.
It would be Calvert-Lewin who scored the fourth, the Everton forward doubling up for the night as he tapped home a low Lingard cross early in the second half.
Watkins, making his first appearance for the Three Lions, got in on the act 20 minutes after coming on as he rifled a low shot into the corner with six minutes to play.
It was a brilliant moment for the 25-year-old, who has spearheaded Aston Villa’s attack impressively this term.