Rooney powers England to victory

Wayne Rooney scored as England and reigning champions Spain both secured home victories in Euro 2016 qualifying last Saturday as some of the continent’s minnows again enjoyed outstanding results.

A turgid Group E encounter between England and Slovenia at Wembley came to life in the second half as Roy Hodgson’s side fought back to win 3-1 and make it four wins from four games in Group E to remain firmly on track for a place at the finals in France.

Slovenia took the lead just before the hour mark when Jordan Henderson headed into his own net, but England were back on level terms moments later thanks to Rooney, who won and then converted a penalty to mark the occasion of his 100th international appearance with his 44th goal for his country.

Danny Welbeck of Arsenal then netted a brace to seal the victory.

Spain will go into a friendly with World Cup winners Germany fresh from a routine 3-0 victory against Belarus in Group C, a result that saw the current European champions make it three wins from four qualifiers.

Meanwhile, after the Faroe Islands recorded a stunning 1-0 win in Greece on Friday, prompting the demise of Claudio Ranieri as coach of the 2004 European champions, San Marino and Liechtenstein claimed famous results of their own.

San Marino, ranked 208th and joint-last in the world by Fifa alongside Bhutan, ended a run of 61 consecutive defeats by holding Estonia to a 0-0 draw at home in Group E.

Liechtenstein fared even better, a second-half goal by captain Franz Burgmeier securing a 1-0 victory in Moldova in Group G.

In contrast, Europe’s largest nation Russia went down 1-0 in Austria in the same group to increase the pressure on coach Fabio Capello.

Austria are now four points clear at the top of the group from Sweden, who were held to a 1-1 draw in Montenegro.

Elsewhere, Ukraine claimed their third consecutive win in Group C as Andriy Yarmolenko scored a second-half hat-trick to secure a 3-0 victory in Luxembourg.

credit: AFP
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