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England thump San Marino, Spain frustrated by Greece

world cup qualifiers europe group i england v san marino
Everton star Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored twice for the Three Lions

England kicked off their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 5-0 thrashing of San Marino on Thursday as Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored twice and Ollie Watkins marked his debut with a goal.

On a Wembley night when Gareth Southgate could have dispensed with defenders altogether, England toyed with FIFA’s lowest-ranked nation who rarely made it past the halfway line.

San Marino held out for 13 minutes before James Ward-Prowse opened his England account with a smart finish and Calvert-Lewin made it 2-0 seven minutes later with a header.

Raheem Sterling, who missed a succession of early chances, made it 3-0 just after the half-hour mark at which point it seemed England might be heading for double figures.

To their credit, San Marino’s part-timers dug deep in the face of a siege with Calvert-Lewin’s second goal, a tap-in, the only addition to the score until substitute Watkins slotted in late on as England moved top of Group I.

Spain frustrated by Greece in opening draw
Spain were left frustrated after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Greece in their opening 2022 World Cup qualifying Group B fixture on Thursday.

Alvaro Morata opened the scoring from close range for the hosts after 32 minutes, moments after Dani Olmo had rattled the crossbar from distance.

However, shortly before the hour mark, substitute Inigo Martinez – on for captain Sergio Ramos – was penalised for a rash tackle on Greek midfielder Giorgos Masouras.

Anastasios Bakasetas smashed the ball in from the spot to stun Luis Enrique’s side.

Morata spurned his country’s best opportunity for a winner as he headed straight at the goalkeeper as Spain dominated possession but struggled to create any clear chances against the resolute visitors.

Spain travel to Georgia in their second qualifying fixture on Sunday, the same day Greece host Honduras in a friendly.

Results and fixtures
Israel (0) 0 Denmark (1) 2
Bulgaria (0) 1 Switzerland (3) 3
Moldova (1) 1 Faroe Islands (0) 1
Scotland (0) 2 Austria (0) 2
Andorra (0) 0 Albania (1) 1
England (3) 5 San Marino (0) 0
Hungary (1) 3 Poland (0) 3
Italy (2) 2 Northern Ireland (0) 0
Germany (2) 3 Iceland (0) 0
Liechtenstein (0) 0 Armenia (0) 1
Romania (1) 3 North Macedonia (0) 2
Spain (1) 1 Greece (0) 1
Sweden (1) 1 Georgia (0) 0

Saturday, March 27 fixtures (GMT)
Russia v Slovenia (1400)
Montenegro v Gibraltar (1400)
Croatia v Cyprus (1700)
Belarus v Estonia (1700)
Norway v Turkey (1700)
Netherlands v Latvia (1700)
Slovakia v Malta (1945)
Serbia v Portugal (1945)
Republic of Ireland v Luxembourg (1945)
Czech Republic v Belgium (1945)

Sunday, March 28 fixtures (GMT)
Kazakhstan v France (1300)
Denmark v Moldova (1600)
Albania v England (1600)
Georgia v Spain (1600)
Armenia v Iceland (1600)
Austria v Faroe Islands (1845)
Israel v Scotland (1845)
Poland v Andorra (1845)
San Marino v Hungary (1845)
Ukraine v Finland (1845)
Bulgaria v Italy (1845)
Switzerland v Lithuania (1845)
Kosovo v Sweden (1845)
North Macedonia v Liechtenstein (1845)
Romania v Germany (1845)

Tuesday, March 30 fixtures (GMT)
Cyprus v Slovenia (1600)
Azerbaijan v Serbia (1600)
Croatia v Malta (1845)
Slovakia v Russia (1845)
Luxembourg v Portugal (1845)
Belgium v Belarus (1845)
Wales v Czech Republic (1845)
Gibraltar v Netherlands (1845)
Montenegro v Norway (1845)
Turkey v Latvia (1845)

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