Harry Kane scored four as England smashed San Marino 10-0 to seal top spot in World Cup qualifying Group I in emphatic fashion.
Gareth Southgate made a number of changes from the England side that had beaten Albania on Friday night, yet stuck with a relatively strong spine that included captain Kane.
And the England skipper took full advantage of the opportunity against European minnows San Marino, hitting four first-half goals to draw level with Gary Lineker on 48 career England goals and behind just Bobby Charlton (49) and Wayne Rooney (53).
England were two to the good before Kane opened his account, with Harry Maguire heading home the opener on six minutes and Filippo Fabbri turning into his own net. A penalty got Kane off and running after a VAR handball decision; he picked out the bottom corner from a cross for his second; and a second penalty, expertly taken into the top corner after his shot was blocked by the arm of the defender, completed the hat-trick.
But Kane wasn’t done at three, bagging his fourth of the night with the pick of the goals, dribbling through the San Marino defence before sliding home to equal Ian Wright’s record of four goals against the same opposition in November 1993.
The pace of the game slowed in the second-half, with a red card for San Marino not making life easier for the pummelled home side.
But there were moments to celebrate for England as they cruised to victory, with Emile Smith Rowe and Tyrone Mings scoring their first England goals as the goals kept on flowing, with Tammy Abraham and Bukayo Saka completing the demolition.
TALKING POINT – Impressive intent at least
The mismatch between these sides ridiculous and will spark a debate about how international qualifying should be scheduled. But on the night England did will to keep the pace of their game high, sticking to the shape and stretching San Marino’s defence well. It was always going to be a win for England on the night, but to use it almost as a creative training exercise will have been useful for Southgate.
England's midfielder Bukayo Saka (C) celebrates after scoring his side's 10th goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification Group I football match between San Marino and England on November 15, 2021 at Olympic stadium in Serravalle, San Marino
Image credit: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH – Harry Kane (England)
England had a number of very impressive performers, but in the first half particularly it felt like Kane was on a mission. Once he got his first the hat-trick almost felt inevitable, but it was the fourth goal that stood out as not just his best goal of the evening but probably England’s too.
England: Ramsdale 7, Alexander-Arnold 9, Maguire 7, Coady 8, Mings 8, Saka 8, Phillips 7, Bellingham 9, Smith Rowe 7, Foden 8, Kane 9. Subs: Abraham 7, Chilwell 7, Gallagher 8, James7, Stones 7
6’ GOAL! England take the lead from a Phil Foden corner as Harry Maguire rises highest and heads home his second goal of the week. His celebration this time is slightly more subdued. 1-0.
42’ GOAL! Harry Kane again. This is getting silly. Kane drives into the box, jinks around a defender with a silky bit of footwork and then picks out the bottom corner for his fourth goal in this first-half. 6-0.
79’ GOAL! It’s double figures. Another wonderful cross from Alexander-Arnold puts it on a plate for Saka to head home. 10-0.
No England player in history has scored more international goals in a calendar year than Harry Kane’s 13 in 2021.
Kane is the first England player to score consecutive international hat-tricks since Tommy Taylor in 1957.
Kane’s four-goal haul is the first for England since Wright in 1993.
Emile Smith Rowe’s goal took the number of different England goalscorers in 2021 to 18, more than in any other calendar year.
England’s 39 goals in Group I is the most they have ever scored in a qualifying campaign.