England Under-21s win 9-0

A review of Tuesday night's Under-21 qualifying action involving England, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Last Updated: 19/11/13 at 22:46 Post Comment

Celebrations for England Under-21s.

Celebrations for England Under-21s.

England Under-21s clocked up a record-breaking 9-0 win against San Marino as they impressively answered Gareth Southgate's calls to show more ruthlessness in front of goal.

Fans flocked to a sold-out Greenhous Meadow hoping for goals and the Young Lions did not disappoint, racking up a win that usurps their previous best of a seven-goal margin of victory set in 1976 and 2009.

It was the perfect end to a tumultuous year and just what manager Southgate had called for in the build-up to the European Championship qualifier.

While keen for the team to play with freedom, the former England defender was frustrated by some of his players' preference for the over-elaborate in Thursday's 3-0 win against Finland.

Southgate called for a more clinical edge in England's last match of 2013 and got just that in Shrewsbury, despite the absence of in-form Saido Berahino through suspension.

Michael Keane nodded England ahead after 13 minutes, with Raheem Sterling and full debutant Danny Ings extending that lead soon after.

James Ward-Prowse curled home a fine free-kick in the 24th minute as England's dominance continued, with Thomas Ince extending the lead further half-time approached.

Ings just beat room-mate Carl Jenkinson to prod home England's sixth shortly after the restart, although the Arsenal right-back managed a goal of his own after Sterling smartly lifted the ball over San Marino's hapless goalkeeper.

Will Hughes showed great feet before slotting home to put England 9-0 up, wrapping up an impressive victory that keeps them in control of Group 1.

Northern Ireland claimed the first points of their European Championship qualification campaign with a 1-0 win over Cyprus in Lurgan.

Johnny Gorman's 85th-minute free-kick was turned into his own net by Andreas Christofides to end a run of five straight defeats in Group 9.

It was the home side's first shot on target of a largely lifeless encounter and they may have even had a second when Gorman drew a good save from Giorgos Loizou in the final stages.

Goalkeeper Sean McDermott was the Republic of Ireland's hero as he turned in a stubborn display to help secure a hard-fought draw in Montenegro.

The 20-year-old made a string of second-half saves to deny the Montenegrins victory in Podgorica and keep alive Ireland's hopes of making it out of Group 6 in their bid to reach the finals.


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