England score eight while fans boo Ferdinand

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England scored eight times in their World Cup qualifier against San Marino. As Roy Hodgson’s team cruised to victory, the absent Rio Ferdinand was the main talking point with travelling England fans singing derisory ditties about the Manchester United defender.

Ferdinand had withdrawn from the squad, citing an intensive fitness-management regime. When this regime appeared to include flying to Qatar to act as a pundit for Al-Jazeera TV, England fans were obviously unimpressed, and Ferdinand’s punditry might have had to make reference to the abuse he was receiving from the fans. Ferdinand’s England career would appear to have ended.

Hodgson wouldn’t be drawn on that issue, or the abuse. "Of course I heard it," he said. "I'm not deaf. But I've absolutely no comment to make on it." He preferred to talk about a controlled performance. "We're not jumping around with high fives in the dressing room," he said. "We're pleased with a professional performance and the quality of the play: good movement, technique and passing against a team who were not really in our league. But, if we control the ball and move as well as we did, we'll give opponents problems."

Jermain Defoe scored twice and could have made his respectable England goals statistics even more impressive if he had taken the other chances on offer. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ashley Young, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge all got on the score sheet.

The real test and the key to the qualifying group comes with the away match against Montenegro. England need to win to feel confident that they will be on the plane to Brazil next summer, but Hodgson wasn’t willing to put that pressure on the players.

"It would be a great lift to win in Montenegro on Tuesday," he said, "but if we don't get it I won't be getting the spade out to dig a grave for the team. There are 15 points to play for and the team is capable of getting a large number of those points to see us through."

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