Wayne Rooney led from the front to become England's fifth highest goalscorer as they eased to victory against San Marino at Wembley.
Rooney - captain in the absence of suspended Steven Gerrard and injured Frank Lampard - scored twice to take his tally to 31 as England finally overcame some early San Marino resistance to secure a comfortable World Cup qualifying win.
The Manchester United striker broke the deadlock with a 34th-minute penalty and Old Trafford team-mate Danny Welbeck quickly added a second as Roy Hodgson's side finally made their vast superiority count against the side ranked joint-207th in the world.
Rooney then edged ahead of Nat Lofthouse, Sir Tom Finney and Alan Shearer in England's goalscoring charts with his second after 70 minutes as they improved what could be the vital factor of goal differing in the closing stages.
Welbeck's knack for an instinctive finish was demonstrated once more with England's fourth and Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain got his first goal for his country as plucky San Marino understandably faded after a constant rearguard action.
As he accepted the captain's armband for a second time, Rooney insisted that England would see a new and more mature character. He was true to his word as he ensured there would be no slip ups against a San Marino side that has now conceded 136 goals since they last scored away from home against Liechtenstein in 2003.
And England head to Poland for Tuesday's qualifier in good heart after rivals Ukraine were held to a draw in Moldova, where they won 5-0 last month.
The predicted pattern was established in the opening moments as San Marino goalkeeper Aldo Junior Simoncini showed good athleticism to turn Oxlade-Chamberlain's rising shot over the bar.
England's all-time leading goalscorers
- Bobby Charlton: 49 goals in 106 appearances
- Gary Lineker: 48 in 80
- Jimmy Greaves: 44 (57)
- Michael Owen: 40 (89)
- Wayne Rooney: 31 (77)
It was the start of an eventful half for the keeper, who was also responsible for Theo Walcott's early departure after he flattened the Arsenal winger in a heavy challenge.
England were exerting total domination, with keeper Joe Hart's rare touches - usually passes out to his defenders - greeted by ironic cheers from the sell-out Wembley crowd.
Rooney had England's best chance when he headed Tom Cleverley's cross wide at the far post and there was more frustration when Michael Carrick's shot hit the bar and Welbeck could only turn the rebound off Simoncini against the post.
The deadlock was finally broken from the penalty spot. Welbeck was brought down by the busy Simoncini and Rooney stepped forward to finish the job emphatically.
England's lead was doubled three minutes later when Welbeck provided a superb finish from substitute Aaron Lennon's cross, backheeling beyond Simoncini in similar fashion to his goal against Sweden at Euro 2012.
The traffic flowed in the same direction after the restart as Carrick saw a shot blocked by Simoncini and Gary Cahill held his head in anguish after miskicking right in front of goal.
Leighton Baines also saw a curling free-kick brush the sidenetting before San Marino broke clear and actually threatened a goal just after the hour. Ezequiel Rinaldi Danilo was the man with the golden chance but excitement got the better of him and he lashed wildly off target.
Hodgson gave a debut to Liverpool's Jonjo Shelvey as he replaced Carrick - and it was not long before Rooney was re-arranging the order near the top of England's list of goalscorers.
Rooney curled a precise right-foot finish into the bottom corner then Welbeck, as he had done in the first half, followed up swiftly with a goal of his own with another fine near post finish from Cleverley's delivery.
San Marino were in desperate straits now and it was no surprise when, among a host of England bodies in the box, Oxlade-Chamberlain produced a moment of composure to beat the besieged Simoncini with real delicacy to round off the scoring.
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.90:00 +2:10
Effort from 20 yards by Andy Carroll. Aldo Simoncini makes a save.90:00 +1:02
Volleyed shot by Phil Jagielka went over the net.88:53
Tom Cleverley takes a shot. Mirko Palazzi gets a block in.88:06
Aaron Lennon takes a short corner.86:10
The assistant referee signals for offside against Andy Selva. Free kick taken by Phil Jagielka.84:55
Kyle Walker takes a shot. Blocked by Alex Gasperoni.84:41
Short corner worked by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.82:32 Substitution
Substitution Simone Bacciocchi comes on in place of Fabio Vitaioli.81:25
Jonjo Shelvey takes a shot. Save by Aldo Simoncini.80:22
Andy Selva gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Phil Jagielka. Direct free kick taken by Phil Jagielka.79:57
Tom Cleverley handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Alessandro Della Valle takes the direct free kick.77:52 Substitution
Substitution Andy Selva joins the action as a substitute, replacing Danilo Rinaldi.77:52
Fabio Vitaioli fouled by Andy Carroll, the ref awards a free kick. Aldo Simoncini restarts play with the free kick.76:12
The assist for the goal came from Tom Cleverley.76:12 Goal scored
Goal! - Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - England 5 - 0 San Marino Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gets on the score sheet with a brilliant goal from inside the penalty area high into the middle of the goal. England 5-0 San Marino.74:31 Substitution
Substitution Lorenzo Buscarini comes on in place of Matteo Coppini.73:48
Jonjo Shelvey takes a shot. Blocked by Matteo Coppini. Corner taken left-footed by Leighton Baines from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Alex Gasperoni.72:20 Substitution
Substitution Andy Carroll joins the action as a substitute, replacing Wayne Rooney.70:52
Tom Cleverley provided the assist for the goal.
Goal! - Danny Welbeck - England 4 - 0 San Marino Danny Welbeck gets on the score sheet with a goal from close in to the bottom right corner of the goal. England 4-0 San Marino.68:55
Assist by Aaron Lennon.68:55 Goal scored
Goal! - Wayne Rooney - England 3 - 0 San Marino Wayne Rooney scores a goal from just outside the box to the bottom right corner of the goal. England 3-0 San Marino.66:45
Corner taken by Leighton Baines from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Cristian Brolli.65:28 Substitution
Substitution Michael Carrick leaves the field to be replaced by Jonjo Shelvey.64:56
Danilo Rinaldi has an effort at goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the left-hand post.64:14 Booking
Booking The referee shows Danilo Rinaldi a yellow card.64:04
Matteo Coppini concedes a free kick for a foul on Tom Cleverley. Direct free kick taken by Tom Cleverley.61:42
Alessandro Della Valle handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Leighton Baines.61:29
Unfair challenge on Aaron Lennon by Alex Gasperoni results in a free kick. Kyle Walker takes the direct free kick.60:48
Danny Welbeck gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Davide Simoncini. Direct free kick taken by Aldo Simoncini.59:04
Inswinging corner taken by Leighton Baines, Gary Cahill gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Davide Simoncini. Direct free kick taken by Aldo Simoncini.58:16
Tom Cleverley has a volleyed shot. Cristian Brolli gets a block in.56:23
Corner taken by Leighton Baines, Alex Gasperoni makes a clearance.56:03
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain takes a shot. Save by Aldo Simoncini.55:12
Handball decision goes against Alex Gasperoni. Michael Carrick takes the direct free kick.53:17
Gary Cahill has an effort at goal from close in which goes wide left of the goal.53:02
Michael Carrick takes a short corner.52:48
Short corner taken by Michael Carrick.52:25
Michael Carrick takes a shot. Save made by Aldo Simoncini.45:01
The game restarts for the second half.45:00 +3:17 Half time
Half Time The first half comes to an end.45:00 +1:56
Shot by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from 18 yards. Aldo Simoncini makes a save.44:15
Shot from outside the box by Wayne Rooney goes wide right of the target.42:54
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Aaron Lennon by Alex Gasperoni. Direct free kick taken by Tom Cleverley.40:43
Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Aldo Simoncini makes a save. Corner taken right-footed by Aaron Lennon.39:38
Aldo Simoncini fouled by Wayne Rooney, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Aldo Simoncini.38:19
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Fabio Vitaioli by Leighton Baines. Free kick taken by Aldo Simoncini.37:47
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Phil Jagielka by Danilo Rinaldi. Free kick taken by Phil Jagielka.37:02
Assist by Aaron Lennon.37:02 Goal scored
Goal! - Danny Welbeck - England 2 - 0 San Marino Danny Welbeck scores a goal from close range low into the middle of the goal. England 2-0 San Marino.36:56
A cross is delivered by Aaron Lennon,36:10
Shot from 6 yards by Danny Welbeck.34:38
Assist by Danny Welbeck.34:38 Booking
Booking The referee cautions Aldo Simoncini for unsporting behaviour.34:36 Goal scored
Goal! - Wayne Rooney - England 1 - 0 San Marino Wayne Rooney scores a placed penalty. England 1-0 San Marino.34:15
Aldo Simoncini challenges Danny Welbeck unfairly and gives away a Penalty.32:49
Michael Carrick takes a shot. Danny Welbeck produces a left-footed shot from close in and hits the post. Tom Cleverley takes a shot. Cristian Brolli gets a block in. Gary Cahill takes a shot. Save made by Aldo Simoncini.31:42
Close range header by Wayne Rooney goes wide of the left-hand post.31:15
Inswinging corner taken by Wayne Rooney, save by Aldo Simoncini.29:24
Effort from just outside the box by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain goes over the bar.29:09
Alex Gasperoni gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Phil Jagielka. Free kick taken by Kyle Walker.28:42
Michael Carrick takes a shot.28:21
Shot by Phil Jagielka. Blocked by Alessandro Della Valle.27:56
Tom Cleverley takes the outswinging corner, Alex Gasperoni makes a clearance.26:24
Danilo Rinaldi is ruled offside. Phil Jagielka takes the indirect free kick.25:18
Close range header by Wayne Rooney goes over the bar.24:15
Shot by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from 25 yards. Save made by Aldo Simoncini.22:56
Leighton Baines decides to take a short corner.22:40
Kyle Walker takes a shot. Clearance made by Cristian Brolli.21:38
Corner taken short by Tom Cleverley.21:17
Wayne Rooney has an effort at goal from 25 yards. Enrico Cibelli makes a clearance.20:06
Alex Gasperoni fouled by Kyle Walker, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Danilo Rinaldi.19:32
The ball is swung over by Kyle Walker, save by Aldo Simoncini.17:43
Danilo Rinaldi concedes a free kick for a foul on Gary Cahill. Joe Hart takes the free kick.16:20
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Michael Carrick, save made by Aldo Simoncini.11:38
Corner taken left-footed by Leighton Baines from the right by-line, Header from close in by Wayne Rooney misses to the left of the goal.9:16 Substitution
Substitution Aaron Lennon on for Theo Walcott.9:16
Foul by Kyle Walker on Mirko Palazzi, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Davide Simoncini.2:35
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain takes a shot. Save made by Aldo Simoncini. Leighton Baines takes a inswinging corner to the near post, clearance made by Alex Gasperoni.2:09
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Michael Carrick from the left by-line.0:15
Michele Cervellini is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Tom Cleverley takes the direct free kick.0:00
The referee starts the match.
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