Rooney makes history
England captain breaks goalscoring record
Wayne Rooney made history by breaking Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time England goalscoring record in the Euro 2016 qualifier against Switzerland at Wembley today.
England captain Rooney equalled Charlton’s tally of 49 with a penalty in the victory against San Marino on Saturday that ensured a place in France next summer.
And he was on the spot again late on in today’s match against the Swiss for goal number 50 to erase a record that has stood for 45 years.
It looked like Rooney might be made to wait until England’s meeting with Estonia at Wembley next month as Switzerland frustrated Roy Hodgson’s side until their resistance was eventually broken.
England substitute Harry Kane pierced the deadlock with a crisp finish after 67 minutes and Rooney rewrote the record books with a thunderous penalty six minutes from time, earning a standing ovation from the Wembley gallery.
It ensured his side completed eight wins out of eight, securing top spot in Group E.
A roar of anticipation swept around Wembley as soon as Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi pointed to the spot after Raheem Sterling had been fouled.
Rooney picked up the ball with the weight of expectation and history on his shoulders, but responded with an emphatic right-footed penalty that gave Swiss keeper Yann Sommer no chance, even though he got a hand to it.
In Skopje, Spain moved closer to a spot in next year’s championship by beating Macedonia 1-0 after an own goal by the Macedonian keeper.
Juan Mata’s cross from the right side sailed into the far corner and the ball rebounded off the post and the face of goalkeeper Tome Pacovski before crossing the line, keeping Spain comfortably ahead in qualifying Group C.
Slovakia remained in second place after a 0-0 away draw against third-place Ukraine.
Spain reached 21 points with two matches to play, while Slovakia has 19 points and Ukraine 16.
A home victory against Luxembourg on October 9 will guarantee Spain’s place at next year’s championship in France.
Meanwhile Austria secured a place at next year’s tournament with a 4-1 away win over Sweden, the first time in 18 years that it has successfully qualified for a major tournament.
Martin Harnik grabbed two goals for Austria in a dominant display in Solna. David Alaba opened the scoring with a ninth-minute penalty and Marc Janko also hit the back of the net.
Sweden scored a consolation goal in stoppage time through star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who had been battling an injury in the build-up to the game.
Austria qualifies for the tournament in France unbeaten with seven wins and a draw and is already assured of topping Group G.
After the final whistle in Sweden, the Austrians celebrated in front of their fans, waving large Austrian flags emblazoned with the words: “France, we’re coming.”
“It was really unbelievable. A real thank-you to all the fans,” Janko said.
Other qualifiers: Lithuania 2, San Marino 1; Belarus 2, Luxembourg 0; Ukraine 0, Slovakia 0; Slovenia 1, Estonia 0; Russia 7, Liechtenstein 0; Montenegro 2, Moldova 0.