England's win against San Marino gives them European hope

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England's win against San Marino was a job well done. They went there knowing that a win was the minimum requirement and scoring less than five goals would result in major criticism from the fans and media. So coupled with Wayne Rooney's fantastic achievement of equaling the all time goal scoring record, it's hard to be critical.

But what did we learn?

Well, it was obvious that we were going to enjoy a huge percentage of possession, and indeed this was the case. The only surprise was that San Marino got as much as they did - a massive 26%. However, it is somewhat of a concern that despite that possession, we never really looked capable of slicing the defence open, in a manner that is often witnessed at the Nou Camp or the Bernabeu.


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During long periods of the first half, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was very narrow and pretty ineffective. The first goal, a very dubious penalty, came from a cross. The second, an own goal, also came from a cross.

So into the second half, and The Ox does what The Ox does best. He toasts the left back and stands up a juicy cross to Ross Barkley. Then Theo notches, a cross from the by-line. Admittedly, Walcott's second and Kane's delightful finish came from incisive through balls but by this time, the Sammarinese were tired and well beaten.

The first four goals came from pace and the ability to get round the back of defences, not from intricate play in front of the back four. Now, when Roy's boys come up against the international heavyweights, that wont be as easy. 

Maybe, in the tougher games, we need to play to our strengths. In Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sterling we have real pace, perhaps we need to sit back, absorb some pressure and utilise those guys with counter attacking football. 

So all in all, well done England, but let's not get too carried away.

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