FIFA World Cup

England vs. San Marino: Wayne Rooney Will Lead Home Team to Victory in Qualifier

WATFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 11:  Wayne Rooney speaks to the media during the England press conference ahead of their FIFA World Cup qualifier against San Marino at The Grove Hotel on October 11, 2012 in Watford, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images
Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2012

The last time Wayne Rooney captained England onto the pitch, it ended in a disappointing 1-0 defeat at the hands of Brazil in 2009.

When he leads the team in front of 90,000 at Wembley Stadium to take on San Marino later on Friday, the results will be drastically different.

San Marino ranks 207th in the world. Of the 114 international contests that they have played in, they are 1-105-8 and have allowed 473 goals in the process.

While they stand virtually no chance of pulling off the upset, Rooney is well aware of the fact that his squad must put forth a strong performance on the pitch—not only for themselves, but for the fans in attendance, as he told the BBC:

It's a big challenge for myself, and I'm excited. Hopefully we can cap the day off with a good victory.

The players don't want to let the fans down

The fans, since I've been involved with England, have been fantastic. They follow us around the world. We're looking forward to the game and hopefully we can deliver for the fans.

The two squads have met twice before, in World Cup qualifying matches in 1993, matches that England won by a combined score of 13-1.

An Englishman scored four goals in each of those matches: David Platt scored four goals in their first meeting, a 6-0 victory, while Ian Wright added four of his own in the return, a 7-1 triumph.

With Rooney needing only two goals to move into fifth place on England's all-time goal scorers list, past Nat Lofthouse, Alan Shearer and Sir Tom Finney, can he make it 12 goals between three Englishmen against San Marino?

Rooney tells the BBC that his focus is on the result of the match and not on any individual accomplishments, but he won't have a better chance to move into elite company than he will on Friday:

People have mentioned I will get into the top five (goalscorers) if I get a couple more and that would be great. Obviously, the result is more important but it's an opportunity for us to try and get a few goals.

A few goals would be a disappointing showing. England will score at will and rout San Marino in what promises to be an entertaining match for those in attendance and the millions watching from the comfort of their homes...or their favorite watering hole.

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