San Marino vs. England, 2014 World Cup qualifying: Preview and TV schedule

Mike Hewitt

England should expect to thrash San Marino by a considerable margin as they travel to face the minnows in the 2014 World Cup qualifying round.

San Marino have scored seven goals in their last 50 games. They have conceded 200. All were losses, and they are joint-bottom of the FIFA rankings of international countries. In other words, England are playing against a team of amateurs in a match that will not be a contest.

We know how these things go by now. England try to keep a straight face while talking of respecting their opponents, and the commentators tell us which one is a bank clerk and which one is a plumber as England bash in 8 or 9 goals. England regulars get a chance to boost their goalscoring records, and a few new players probably get tried out too.

Injury problems at centre-back mean that a slightly unlikely player will be picked in defence. Chris Smalling, Joleon Lescott, Steven Taylor and Steven Caulker are the options, but there has been talk of Michael Carrick starting there, a role he has occasionally played for Manchester United (but only when no proper centre-backs were available.)

Whatever happens, England will win easily, score lots of goals, and ultimately learn nothing. There really is little of interest to see here: this game is for die-hard England fans or sadomasochists only.

Match Date / Time: Friday, March 22 at 9 p.m. local, 8 p.m. BST, 3 p.m. ET

Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino

TV: ESPN 3 (U.S.), ITV1, UTV (U.K.), Sportsnet One (Canada)

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