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Wayne Rooney equalled Bobby Charlton’s England scoring record of 49 goals as Roy Hodgson’s side crushed San Marino 6-0 in Serravalle on Saturday to qualify for Euro 2016.
Rooney scored from a contentious penalty in the 13th minute, leaving him with an identical international record to Charlton of 106 caps and 49 goals, but he will have to wait to claim the record outright after being substituted by Hodgson in the 58th minute at the Stadio Olimpico.
England led 3-0 by that point courtesy of a Cristian Brolli own goal -- ironically, the 49th own goal scored in England’s favour -- and Ross Barkley’s first goal for his country, and late efforts from substitutes Theo Walcott, who scored twice, and Harry Kane completed a routine win.
“It’s a proud moment to equal Sir Bobby Charlton’s record,” Rooney told ITV. “My aim is to push on and try and help the team win on Tuesday (against Switzerland) and break the record.”
England have now scored 37 goals in their six games against San Marino, currently ranked 193rd in the world, and will tackle Switzerland at Wembley on Tuesday seeking an eighth straight win in Group E, their place at next year’s tournament in France secure.
“I am more than satisfied, and we won it with a good margin,” said England manager Hodgson, whose side qualified with three games to spare. Explaining his decision to withdraw Rooney, he added: “To be honest, we wanted to protect one or two players and it was in our thoughts we would try to keep Wayne on for 45 to a maximum of 60 minutes.” Hodgson used the occasion to award Jonjo Shelvey his second cap, three years after he won his first against the same opposition, and he took up a position in front of the back four on a dry, uneven pitch.
All eyes were on Rooney and he needed little time to find the net, tucking a penalty into the bottom-right corner after Marco Berardi had been penalised for an infringement that only Cypriot referee Leontios Trattou appeared to have seen. San Marino goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini parried from Rooney and James Milner shot wide before England doubled their lead when Brolli headed Luke Shaw’s cross into his own net. It created a three-way tie–of sorts – at the top of the England all-time scoring chart, as ‘Own goals’ drew level with Rooney and Charlton, emblem of the 1966 World Cup-winning team, on 49 goals. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain saw a shot deflected over following panicky defending by Davide Simoncini just before half-time, but seconds into the second period he tore down the right flank and crossed for Barkley to head in his first England goal.