Tearful Rooney nets record 50th goal

Sport360 staff 01:41 09/09/2015
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Wayne Rooney equalled Bobby Charlton's mark in the previous fixture.

Wayne Rooney became England's all-time leading goal-scorer after netting his 50th international goal in a historic 2-0 victory over Switzerland at Wembley in Euro 2016 qualifying on Tuesday.

Not the best performance by England but tonight not about that. Rooney just broke the most famous record in English football.

— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) September 8, 2015

Persevering with the 4-3-3 system used against San Marino, England quickly made inroads, with Gary Cahill's header snatched off Rooney's toes by Swiss goalkeeper Sommer and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain volleying over.

Shakiness in the England back four gave Switzerland reason for hope, however, and they threatened when Granit Xhaka released Xherdan Shaqiri, whose heavy touch allowed Joe Hart to slide out and save.

Kane supplied the breakthrough 10 minutes later with an assured left-foot finish from Luke Shaw's low cross.

Xhaka felled Raheem Sterling, Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi pointed to the spot, and Rooney blasted his way into English football history.

The result gave Roy Hodgson's side an eighth consecutive win, keeping them on course to finish Group E with a perfect record ahead of October's final two qualifiers against Estonia and Lithuania.

But while England can start making plans for France, Switzerland remain under threat from Slovenia in the race for the second and final automatic qualifying spot.

Just a Mata of luck

Not Juan to remember: Mata (l)celebrates his freak goal.

On many occasions in recent years, Spanish football has been lauded with making the game look more beautiful than ever before.

This certainly was not one of those occasions, however, as Vicente Del Bosque’s men laboured their way to an unconvincing 1-0 victory over a spirited but limited Macedonia team in Skopje.

Nevertheless, it leaves the reigning European champions on the verge of qualifying for next summer’s final stages in France, knowing that victory in their next game – at home to Luxembourg – will be enough to secure their progression.

The only goal of the game – a mishit cross from Juan Mata after just eight minutes – rather summed up the action, or more accurately the lack of action, in a dreary contest which was starkly lacking in goalmouth incident.

Perhaps because they didn’t have to, Spain never really got out of second gear against an opponent which has now lost six consecutive qualifying encounters.

Although they controlled possession, as always, with plenty of short passes in midfield, there were precious few opportunities for Del Bosque’s men to extend the lead which was so fortuitously gained by Mata.

His lucky strike came following a free-kick, which was half-cleared to Mata on the right wing. Attempting to deliver a deep cross, he slightly sliced the ball with his right foot but saw it sail over the head of stranded home keeper Tome Pachovski and drop almost apologetically into the far corner.

Anyone thinking the early goal was a sign for the floodgates to open, however, was to be left sorely disappointed as the game proceeded to follow a predictable pattern of Spain attempting but failing to pick their way through the well-manned home team defence, while Macedonia’s occasional counter-attacks hardly ever looked threatening.

Marc Janko scores as Austria become the fourth team to qualify for #Euro2016 with 4-1 win away at Sweden in group G pic.twitter.com/D0PcyMrtea

— FOX SPORTS News (@FOXSportsNews) September 8, 2015

Austria will appear at only their second European Championships finals after their 4-1 thrashing of Sweden secured their place at next year's finals in France on Tuesday in Solna.

Swiss coach and former international midfielder Marcel Koller guided the Austrians to a place in France after their maiden appearance at the final stages in 2008 when they automatically qualified as co-hosts with Switzerland.

Bayern Munich's David Alaba, the youngest player to ever play for Austria at 17 in 2009, scored from the penalty spot after just nine minutes before West German-born Martin Harnik plundered his 12th international goal, seven minutes before half-time with a header, to give the visitors a cushion.

Veteran Basel striker Marc Janko, 34, then put the icing on the cake and started the early celebrations with Austria's third on 79 minutes before Harnik grabbed his second of the night with two minutes remaining to add insult to injury for the Swedes. 

Austrian goalkeeper Robert Almer turned in a brilliant performance to keep Sweden at bay who were able to field star Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic who scored a late consolation goal in vain for the well-beaten hosts.

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