On an evening of World Cup qualifiers across Europe, Frank Lampard was the captain for England’s expected big win against San Marino and he found the net too, scoring his side’s fifth goal just before half-time when he turned in a Leighton Baines cross.
England went on to win 8-0 with Lampard playing the first 66 minutes, earning his 95th cap.
It was his 28th goal for his country, only eight England players have scored more, and he draws level on goals with Vivian Woodward who played for Chelsea in our first decade.
Ashley Cole did not add to his century of caps. He remained on the bench with Gary Cahill already ruled out due to a knee injury. England move within two points of group leaders Montenegro whom they visit on Tuesday.
Also among the goals on Friday evening were Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard as Belgium won 2-0 away in Macedonia. Hazard’s was from the penalty spot in the second half after he had been fouled, De Bruyne having scored with a shot from a tight angle in the first half. Thibaut Courtois was the goalkeeper who recorded a clean sheet. Romelu Lukaku was an unused sub.
Branislav Ivanovic and Serbia suffered a set-back in their qualifying campaign when they went down 2-0 away to neighbours Croatia.
Serbia are now six points behind second-place Belgium, who have a game in hand, and nine behind Croatia.
Petr Cech’s 99th international ended in defeat after Denmark put three second-half goals past him.
That 3-0 result leaves Czech Republic fourth in their group, on the same points as the Danes and four behind second-place Bulgaria who have played a game more. Italy are one point further ahead.
World champions Spain were held at home by Finland, Juan Mata coming off the bench to replace Cesc Fabregas with quarter-of-an-hour to go, shortly before the visitors equalised. The Chelsea man then created late chances for Gerard Pique and Alvaro Negredo and went close himself, but Spain dropped their first points in their third qualifier. Cesar Azpilicueta was an unused sub.
Yossi Benayoun came on in the 81st minute of Israel’s home match against Portugal with the score 3-2 in their favour, but Real Madrid’s Fabio Coentrao equalised in the very last minute to leave those two nations level on points and four behind group leaders Russia, who now have a game in hand following the postponement of their match in Northern Ireland to Saturday afternoon due to bad weather.
On Monday the Russians take on Brazil at Stamford Bridge. Tickets are still available from the box office to personal callers only.