San Marino vs England, 2022 World Cup qualification: live score and latest updates

, San Marino vs England, 2022 World Cup qualification: live score and latest updates, The Habari News

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7:49PM

3 mins: San Marino 0 England 0 

England have set up shop in the SM half. 

The first moment of real danger comes as Saka drives down the left, gets in behind, and crosses. Nobody can get there to apply the finish.

7:46PM

1 mins: San Marino 0 England 0

England get through the first eight seconds without conceding, so the evening is already a success. 

, San Marino vs England, 2022 World Cup qualification: live score and latest updates, The Habari News

Lee Dixon, on ITV comms, was playing in that 1993 game.

7:45PM

The players take the knee

7:42PM

Anthem time

England go first. Plenty of trumpet for the San Marino anthem, Inno Nazionale della Repubblica. It’s one of those rare anthems that doesn’t have lyrics; or rather, at official occasions, the lyrics are not sung. That must be a setback for the writer,  Giosuè Carducci

I agree, this IS a fascinating live blog.

7:39PM

The players are

ready to take the field. The lights are on, the fog has eased. And here come the players.

7:29PM

Gareth Southgate

“We need to win the game. We have a good mix of youth and experience but we want to set the right tone. 

“We played well with a back three and this platform allows us to play with a bit of freedom.

“ESR – very good technical player, shown great responsibility, beautiful touch especially in tight areas. Which could come in handy against what will probably be a packed defence.”

“Harry Kane told me he wants to start but then he always says that before every game.”

, San Marino vs England, 2022 World Cup qualification: live score and latest updates, The Habari News

Emile Smith Rowe makes his first England start tonight

Credit:
Action Images via Reuters

7:13PM

Trent Alexander-Arnold

“It is big to be around this team but it really hurts to be out of it. Such a disappointment to miss out on the home tournament, probably the only one I will get. It has not quite clicked for me. I feel I play my best football when I play with freedom.

“Beckham is my role model. The way he kicked the ball, his body shape. What did I think when Gareth asked me play right midfield? I thought ‘ok’.”

7:03PM

England will qualify 

for their seventh consecutive World Cup. “When you are growing up, a little kid, it is the FA Cup and the World Cup,” says Ian Wright. “That is what you dream of.”

Mark Pougatch kindly (?!) reminds his ITV colleague that Wrighty was part of the last England team not to qualify… That would of course be 1994. Wright played a full part in what he says is one of the great matches of his life, the draw in Rome that took them to 1998.

England need just a point from San Marino for 2022 to join 2018, 2014, 2010, 2006, 2002 and 1998 in their recent list of disappointments heroic attempts at football’s biggest prize.

6:58PM

Teams in full

San Marino: Elia Benedettini, Manuel Battistini, Fabbri, Rossi, Fabio Tomassini, Lunadei, Enrico Golinucci, Mularoni, D’Addario, Nanni, Jose Hirsch. Subs: David Tomassini, Zonzini, Michael Battistini, Simone Benedettini, Conti, Vitaioli, Ceccaroli, Grandoni, Marconi, Zafferani, Censoni, Alessandro Golinucci.

England: Ramsdale, Coady, Maguire, Mings, Alexander-Arnold, Bellingham, Phillips, Saka, Foden, Kane, Smith-Rowe. Subs: Stones, Abraham, Chilwell, James, Johnstone, Walker, Pickford, Gallagher.

, San Marino vs England, 2022 World Cup qualification: live score and latest updates, The Habari News

Referee: Rade Obrenovic (Slovenia)

6:52PM

England on tour

, San Marino vs England, 2022 World Cup qualification: live score and latest updates, The Habari News

England fans have been allowed to hang their flags up by local residents in San Marino

Credit:
PA

6:34PM

Huge evening in the life 

of Aaron Ramsdale. He’s got an experienced back three in front of him: Mings, Maguire, Coady.

And also for his fellow debutant, Emile Smith Rowe, who is also making his first England start.

Would you rather make your England debut against eg Brazil, or get a quiet start against San Marino? I guess for Aaron the problem is that it will only be a notable opener if he lets in a shocker. Really, any goal would be a massive shock I guess.

6:31PM

Another fixture to keep an eye on

Italy are in Windsor Park to play Northern Ireland.

6:21PM

Here is the England team – Aaron Ramsdale is handed his debut

6:19PM

They’ve got at least one light on!

, San Marino vs England, 2022 World Cup qualification: live score and latest updates, The Habari News

General view of a floodlight inside the stadium before the match 

Credit:
Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

6:14PM

Sky man 

is doing a grand job. He says “the electrical situation is stable, and there is confidence that there shouldn’t be any more problems.”

6:10PM

Flat track

This excerpt comes from Dan Zeqiri’s excellent football newsletter today.

“It is understandable then, that Harry Kane is desperate to play for England against the butchers, bakers and candlestick makers of San Marino as he chases down Wayne Rooney’s goalscoring record. Rooney scored five of his 53 England goals against San Marino as well as two against Andorra.

Kane, who is nine goals behind Rooney’s record, has just two against the same opponents. The Tottenham striker was brought off the bench in England’s 6-0 win in San Marino in 2015, likewise the 4-0 win against Andorra this September. In other meetings Kane was either injured or rested.”

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6:06PM

Word from the ground is

that they should be able to get the lights on, and therefore the game on.

5:05PM

England play in San Marino

on Monday night – assuming they can get the lights on, that is. Sky Sports is reporting that there was  a “loud bang” and some plumes of smoke, and then the lights went out in the stadium. Sky Sports say there has been some sort of powercut and that Uefa officials are talking of a “back up generator”. There seems to be little concern as yet that they won’t get it on but, to state the bleedin’ obvious, it’ll be dark in San Marino by kick-off time and they’ll need someone to get the lights on.

San Marino traditionally have at least one electrician in their line-up along with a medical student, a postman, a couple of waiters or cooks etc etc so there are high levels of confidence that someone, perhaps not even one of the first eleven, can do the necessary.

Assuming that does all click into place, we will then have kick off at 1945. I’ll bring you the team news an hour ahead of time. Obviously England will be fancying their chances against mighty San Marino, who are ranked 210 in the Fifa rankings, which is to say: bottom. 

The fixture comes to you from Group I of the European qualifying section. England have 23 points and Poland have 20 from the nine games so far. This is the final fixture and England are definitely going to top the group. San Marino have played nine and lost nine, but have scored a goal. Huzzah. Be brilliant if they could get one tonight but, you have to say, a powercut might well be their best hope. Perhaps playing it in darkness could act as a leveller. 

I’ll also bring you news of how Scotland are getting along. They have mustered 20 points from their nine group F games so far, and are in second, meaning they will be into the play-offs. They host Denmark tonight, who have already qualified, topping the group with 20 points. (Third place is a tie between Israel and Austria as it stands, but they are both on 13 so that’s all settled as well in that group).

Gareth Southgate, bless him, has gamely said: “We have not qualified yet. We have got thousands of England fans travelling and we must put on a performance that underlines those facts. We’re taking this very seriously.”

Okay then!