Connect to share and comment
England manager Roy Hodgson warned his players not to get carried away after they outclassed hapless minnows San Marino 8-0 in World Cup qualifying.
Hodgson's side showed no mercy on a brisk night at Serravalle's 7,000-capacity Stadio Olimpico, with Alessandro Della Valle's 12th-minute own goal unleashing an avalanche of goals for the visiting side.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ashley Young, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge all got on the score-sheet, while Jermain Defoe claimed a brace as England recorded their biggest win in 25 years.
The scoreline amply reflected England's superiority over a team ranked 207th and joint-last in the FIFA ranking, but Hodgson said it would count for nothing when his side travel to Group H leaders Montenegro on Tuesday.
"You've got to be very careful trying to predict the future on the back of a game like this," he said.
"When you go into these games, you know if the team plays anything like they can play, you'll cause problems and score some goals.
"That's what we did but none of us are jumping around high-fiving in the dressing room."
Tuesday's game in Podgorica could define England's qualifying campaign.
Montenegro's narrow 1-0 win in Moldova on Friday meant they preserved their two-point lead at the top of the group, so although victory for England would send them top, defeat would cast them five points adrift.
However, despite the sizeable incentive of being able to take control of the group, Hodgson said failure to win would not represent a disappointment.
"It'd be a great lift, but if we don't get it, I won't be getting a spade out and digging a grave for this team," he said.
"There's five games left and 15 points to play for and I believe this team can go out and get the points we need.
"Most people will look at a lot of the football we played today (Friday) and revel in the fact there were such exceptional moves and some exceptional goals."
Hodgson said he was pleased that his side had sustained "no futher injuries", but he confirmed that Arsenal forward Theo Walcott will be sent back to his club after injuring himself in training on Thursday.
The England manager revealed that a subsequent scan had shown up "a very unusual tear in the pelvic muscle", amid reports Walcott will be sidelined for between seven and 10 days.
As Friday's game ticked towards its conclusion, some of England's fans turned their ire on Manchester United centre-back Rio Ferdinand, who turned down Hodgson's call-up for the qualifying double-header, citing the need to follow a pre-planned fitness programme.
Hodgson, however, refused to be drawn on the matter.
"Of course I heard it," he said. "I'm not deaf. But I've got absolutely no comments to make."
Although Hodgson confessed to feeling "sorry" for San Marino, who have won just one game in their history, he does not agree that they should be obliged to go through pre-qualifying before being allowed to compete for a place at major tournaments.
"I would defend their right (to compete in qualifying tournaments)," he said.
"They can't take the game to you or give you a real game, but they didn't try to kick us off the park or foul us or waste time when the ball went out of play.
"It's really up to them to decide if they can accept competing against teams that are so much better than them. But if FIFA and UEFA are happy for them to compete in the group stages, we'll happily play them."