San Marino vs England preview: How to watch, kick off time, team news, predicted lineups and ones to watch
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San Marino host England in a World Cup Qualifier which the Three Lions need to pick up at least a point in for them to head to the tournament in Qatar next year automatically, rather than through play-offs.

It's the final match day of the group stage of European qualifying, with the four other sides in Group I also going up against one another at the same kick-off time, though most have very little to play for at this point.

That includes the home side in this game who, rather infamously, are the bottom team in FIFA's World Rankings, and have been for some time, though that can be partly attributed to the fact they are the nation with the smallest population in the table.

However, looking at the group standings it doesn't make for pretty reading, with La Serenissima sitting dead last, without a single point to their name and a goal difference of a frankly astonishing -35 overall.

On the other end of that group is England, who know that this really ought to be something of a formality as, without wanting to get ahead of themselves, a win is virtually the only likely result in this game.

They faltered slightly during the previous international break, drawing to Hungary, but regained form in their previous game in which they defeated Albania emphatically at Wembley Stadium 5-0.

Team News

San Marino

National team captain Davide Simoncini would have been eligible after serving a suspension but wasn't called up to this squad, so the 35-year-old defender won't be making an appearance for his country.

Another player unlikely to be involved against England is David Tomassini, after he was forced off in the first half during San Marino's game against Hungary in which they were defeated 4-0 in the end.

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The forward, who has spent the majority of his career in his homeland, has made eight appearances for his country, scoring just one goal in that time, against Kosovo in a 4-1 loss - though that is 3.8% of all the goals scored by his country, ever.

England

Gareth Southgate has had a few injury concerns to worry about over the past couple of weeks, with various players either withdrawing from the squad, or not being picked altogether, due to them being absent.

Declan Rice left the squad earlier in the week due to an illness and, while called up the manager confirmed that both Mason Mount and Luke Shaw were 'very unlikely' to play in this upcoming game.

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Mount is still recovering from having his wisdom teeth removed, while Shaw continues to suffer from the concussion he suffered last weekend when facing off against Manchester City in the Premier League.

Predicted Lineups

San Marino (4-4-2):

Benedettini; Battistini, Fabbri, Rossi, Grandoni; Mularoni, Lunadei, Golinucci, Hirsch; F. Tomassini, Nanni

England (3-4-3):

Ramsdale; Coady, Stones, Mings; Alexander-Arnold, Bellingham, Phillips, Chilwell; Smith-Rowe, Abraham, Grealish

Form Guide

San Marino

In all honesty, there's not a huge amount of point delving into the specifics of the home side's recent results, given their unfortunate reputation for, well, losing almost every game they take part in.

They haven't not lost in exactly a year, when they drew 0-0 with fellow minnows Gibraltar in a UEFA Nations League match, conceding 47 goals since then and only scoring a dismal two for themselves in response.

England

In a complete reversal of fortunes, the Three Lions have been in relatively consistent form since their Euro 2020 heartbreak in the summer, winning four and drawing two of their six games in that time since July.

The two stalemates - one in each international break - have come away to Poland and at home to Hungary, both ending in 1-1 draws in notably disappointing displays from the team, in a pattern Southgate will no doubt want to put to an end.

Ones To Watch

Elia Benedettini

When looking through the squad list for San Marino, it's fair to say there's not a huge amount of names that stand out in particular as players that you feel you ought to keep an eye on in any game whatsoever.

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However, you may think that the last player to choose would be the goalkeeper of a team notorious for conceding, but that's exactly what I've done here by opting for Elia Benedettini as my one to watch from the hosts.

He has been one of few positives in recent times, impressing against the upcoming opposition back in March, making several fine stops (even if his team did end up losing  said match 5-0 in the end).

Tammy Abraham

This is a slightly more risky pick as a player to watch, not due to the attributes or performance he is expected to put in, but simply due to the uncertainty over whether Tammy Abraham will actually be in the starting eleven.

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The 24-year-old came on as a substitute against Albania on Friday night, though with Harry Kane in such fine form - scoring a hat trick for your country will get you that sort of praise - he can't be certain of rotation in the striker position.

If there is, however, he will be worth looking out for, after he has gone under the radar somewhat in Italy, playing for Jose Mourinho's Roma after leaving Chelsea in the summer and scoring five goals, and assisting two for his new club.

Previous Five Meetings

There's not been a huge amount of matchups between these two sides in their histories, only meeting one another on seven occasions, the first of which came in February 1993, but here we'll focus on their most recent five games.

The fifth most recent fixture was in 2012, during a World Cup Qualifier, when, at Wembley Stadium, the hosts ran out 5-0 winners with a team containing names such as Leighton Baines, Tom Cleverley and even a certain Michael Carrick to name just a few.

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As it was, the real names to mention are Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck, both of whom got a brace which, eerily enough followed the same pattern for both finishes with Welbeck scoring his first and second two minutes after Rooney's respective goals.

Five months later the Three Lions travelled to the Italian enclave where this time the visitors added some extra style to the scoreline by scoring three more than in their previous meeting, meaning they returned home as 8-0 victors.

Goals came from seven different scorers, with Jermain Defoe the man to get two on the night, alongside names including Frank Lampard and a then 19-year-old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Almost 20 months later it was back at Wembley, this time for a Euro 2016 Qualifier, and it was a familiar scoreline as the visitors succumbed to a 5-0 defeat once again.

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An unfortunate Alessandro Della Valle scored his second own goal in as many games against Roy Hodgson's England, with Rooney netting once again on his way to becoming his country's record ever goalscorer (for now).

The reverse of that fixture again increased the margin by which England won, defeating their opponents 6-0 on that occasion as they faced off in September 2015 in the same qualifying campaign.

There were a few interesting names on the team sheet, including Jonjo Shelvey and Nathaniel Clyne, but regardless of the players it was the same result - the Three Lions went away winners again.

Finally, the most recent fixture between these two came back in March of this year, during this period of qualification for the 2022 World Cup, as England got their Group I effort off to a strong start with yet another 5-0 win at the home of football, Wembley.

It was a very different team to the one that last played San Marino, with scorers such as Dominic Calvert-Lewin of Everton and James Ward-Prowse of Southampton, but Southgate's side got the win nonetheless.

How To Watch

Those watching from England can catch the game live on ITV as they broadcast coverage of all of the national team's qualification fixtures live on their channel.

The match is scheduled to get underway at 7:45 PM GMT, which is 8:45 PM local time, so don't miss it as the visitors look to secure their place at next winter's World Cup!

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