World Cup - Paper Round: No easy games in international football?

Paper Round this morning brings you the back-page opinion on England's one-sided demolition job on minnows San Marino.

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World Cup - Paper Round: No easy games in international football?
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England's Jermain Defoe (R) celebrates after scoring against San Marino during their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match at the Serravalle Stadium in San Marino, March 22, 2013. (Reuters)

The Guardian: ‘David versus Goliath, and David had his backside kicked’

Daniel Taylor: Not an easy game, Roy Hodgson had claimed beforehand, and at the time the England manager did not appear to have his fingers crossed beneath the table. Maybe it was professional niceties or a ploy to guard against any form of complacency. Perhaps he was just having a joke at our expense. All that can really be said with certainty is that this is as easy as it gets. David versus Goliath, and David had his backside kicked.

The Daily Mirror: The Lions maul the minnows

Martin Lipton: Too many times in the recent past, England have struggled to make their superiority count, to put the rubbish away. San Marino, by any standards, WERE rubbish, exactly what a team of accountants, students and bar owners probably should be. But England made that quality gap tell. Played with a relentless and deadly professionalism. With the cold-eyed, clinical touch of killers.

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The Sun: Jeers on Jazeera for Rio as fans lash out

Steven Howard: Eight tremendous goals and no banana-skin. Not even the merest whiff of the sort of embarrassment England suffered back in 1993. By half-time it was 5-0 and 3,000 England fans were chanting: “Rio Ferdinand, we know what you are.” Then the chants became unprintable though the Manchester United defender would, no doubt, have been able to detect them in the Doha studio where he was acting as a pundit for Al Jazeera TV.

The Daily Mail: Floodgates open in Serravalle

Martin Samuel: Rio, what’s the score, the travellers sang, but in truth it was exactly what he, they and  everybody else would have expected. England thrashed San Marino by a margin not seen since before the Premier League era. This was a throwback to a different time; to days of mismatches and laughing stocks. It wasn’t as much fun as it sounds. The goals feel almost like incidentals. A check list. Header? Got that. Tap-in? Yes. Belter from 30 yards? Nice. Own goal? Natch. Back-heel? Ooh, you devil. One from Frank Lampard? Obviously. There was absolutely no comparison to the games that took  England to play Andorra under Steve McClaren and later Fabio Capello. San Marino are far, far worse than the minnows to which they are so often compared.

The Daily Express: A great eight off Roy Hodgson’s mind

Paul Joyce: Long before Jermain Defoe scored England’s eighth goal to end an embarrassing cull, Roy Hodgson’s mind will have already moved on from minnows to Montenegro and the altogether more substantial test awaiting his players in Podgorica on Tuesday. Then, with the crowd howling, Joe Hart will not be able to count his number of touches on one hand. Frank Lampard is unlikely to be given enough time to pick his fantasy football team let alone his passes and Wayne Rooney’s focus will be on keeping cool rather than trying to keep up with his team-mates in the scoring stakes.

Daily Star: Three Lions feast on minnows

David Woods: The Three Lions showed no mercy against the pussycats from the worst team in the world last night. They drew first blood in the 12th minute when centre-back Alessandro Della Valle turned into his own net.  Well, he wasn't going to put one into England's, was he? It was such a mismatch, it was almost painful to watch but at least Roy Hodgson's men took the job of savaging San Marino seriously.

The Times: Mismatch of the day remains a must-see for travelling fans

Matt Dickinson: If you ever wonder whether the collective mania around the England football team will fade or fizzle out, that question was surely answered by the sheer number of travelling supporters who ventured to this tiny republic hidden up in the Italian hills. This was international sport in name only, and yet here were so many defying the recession, and any obvious rationale, to watch England’s squillionaire footballers roll over a team of students and accountants.

The Independent: Surely it’s time San Marino had to qualify against a dot in the Pacific

James Lawton: Fifa surely also had plenty to think about before the end of a game which was essentially ridiculous, however regularly it was punctuated by impressive if utterly unchallenged professional skill. When Jermain Defoe, who like Young was eagerly embracing this chance to put behind him some less than encouraging days, knocked in his second and England’s eighth goal, the world authority was squarely in the dock again for not insisting on minimum standards in the competition-proper stage of international football’s most prestigious event. This was perhaps a most crushing case in the second decade of the 21st century for some culling at a qualifying stage. San Marino should have been scrapping with some football force assembled on a dot in the Pacific or some Himalayan enclave, not one which still likes to think of itself as a front-rank nation.

The Independent: Hosts embarrassingly limited in ability and ambition

Henry Winter: The hosts were so embarrassingly limited in ability and ambition that celebrations should be restrained. Yet there were plenty of positives for Hodgson, whose team played with real tempo and width. Before kick-off, two men in medieval dress holding crossbows presented the referee with the ball which was soon presented by San Marino to England. It was like a practice match, white-shirted attack against blue-shirted defence. Joe Hart received huge ironic cheers on the rare occasions he touched the ball. England’s keeper really only raised his hands in response to chants of “Joe Hart, Joe Hart give us a wave”. Miranda Hart could have played.

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