Gareth Southgate gives his verdict to ITV. “I think we did as well as we could, really. I was really pleased with not only the way we moved the ball, our interchanging positions, but also the way we pressed when we lost the ball. That highlighted the mentality of the team. Of course it’s an opponent we should beat, but I thought we played really well. The midfield players moved the ball really well. It was good to see Jesse enjoying his football again. It was nice to give Watkins half an hour and for him to get a goal is a fairytale. Bellingham is a player we think is going to be an international of the future. Hopefully we can fast-track him into our group.”
Ollie Watkins, beaming broadly, speaks to ITV. “It’s unbelievable, it’s what I dreamed of. All day in the hotel I was thinking about it, I hope I get on and get an opportunity, but I didn’t know if it would happen. I’m speechless, to be honest. I feel honoured that I have had the chance to put on the shirt and play with these players. To score on my debut, I’m over the moon. I can’t believe it really, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity.” He’s then asked if he’s going to get his shirt signed and framed. “Yeah, 100 percent!” he says, breaking into a smile that could power half of the country. That’s a lovely interview.
In terms of goals, that’s under par.England average six against these minnows. However, they created a bucketload of chances, and while a few were egregiously wasted, Elia Benedettini made a series of fine saves, thwarting Jesse Lingard in particular. On another night, the scoreline could have been stratospheric. Gareth Southgate will surely be happy on balance.
FULL TIME: England 5-0 San Marino
The final whistle goes. England start their World Cup qualifying campaign with a victory.
90 min +2: Mings is booked for a late shoulder barge on Nanni. A daft end to the match.
90 min +1: Ward-Prowse and Trippier combine well down the right to win a corner, but they waste it, Ward-Prowse caught offside as they try a cute short routine.
89 min: The captain Harry Kane pops up on the ITV screen. He’s sitting in the stands with an ambivalent look on his face. Penny for his thoughts, given all the chances England have spurned this evening.
87 min: Chilwell brings down a long pass in the San Marino box, then goes over under pressure from behind by D’Addrio. He wants a penalty, but he’s not getting one, and replays show it’s a good decision by the referee. There was next to nothing in that.
84 min: Rossi clatters into Trippier, who felt that. England’s most recent semi-final scorer gets back up after a fashion and is good to continue.
GOAL! England 5-0 San Marino (Watkins 83)
Foden drives in from the left. He lays off to Watkins, who takes a touch and threads a fine shot into the bottom left, wrong-footing Benedettini for his debut goal!