England kick-off their World Cup 2022 qualification with a home tie against San Marino on Thursday evening.
Gareth Southgate’s side have been drawn into the favourable Group I, and have further fixtures against Albania and Poland to follow in the coming week.
England will see their fixture against San Marino as the perfect opportunity to get off to a good start, having beaten them 5-0 and 6-0 when they last played in Euro 2016 qualification.
England’s last match came in a 4-0 win over Iceland in their Nations League encounter
When is England vs San Marino?
England kick-off their World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign against San Marino on Thursday, March 25, with kick-off at 7.45pm.
They will enjoy home advantage for their first qualifier, with the match taking place at Wembley Stadium.
Of course, due to the current coronavirus restrictions, the match will be played behind closed doors.
England then have a trip to Albania on Sunday, before finishing off this spell of fixtures with a home tie against Poland on Wednesday, March 31.
How to watch England vs San Marino
England’s match against San Marino will be broadcast live on ITV1, with TV licence payers able to stream the fixture via the ITVHub website or app.
It will also be ITV who broadcast England’s upcoming matches against Albania and Poland.
What group are England in?
England have been drawn into Group I for their qualification matches, which is undoubtedly a favourable one.
Poland and Hungary represent the biggest threats to Gareth Southgate’s side, though in truth, neither should be much more than a formality for England.
Southgate’s side have never lost or even drawn against any of Albania, Andorra or San Marino, with a record of 14-0 against the three combined.
Their encounters against Hungary have been slightly more competitive, having won 15, lost five and drawn two.
England have also fared well against Poland historically, losing just once in 19 matches, though also drawing seven, while winning 11.
Group in full: England, Poland, Hungary, Albania, Andorra, San Marino
England team news
Jesse Lingard (left) and team-mate Declan Rice (centre) both received senior call-ups
Ollie Watkins (centre) has also been handed his first-ever senior call-up to the England squad
Gareth Southgate opted for a number of interesting changes for his squad to face San Marino, Albania and Poland.
Primarily, Ollie Watkins, who has starred for Aston Villa in his debut Premier League campaign, has been rewarded for his contributions with a first-ever call-up.
West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone is another to receive his first call-up to the senior team, with regular No1 Jordan Pickford injured and unavailable.
There were fears that the prevalent coronavirus restrictions would keep Borussia Dortmund starlet Jude Bellingham away from the squad, but the 17-year-old is very much available.
His team-mate Jadon Sancho is injured and unavailable, however, alongside the likes of Jack Grealish and potentially Marcus Rashford, who is a doubt.
Neither Patrick Bamford or Trent Alexander-Arnold are in the squad, which is outlined in full below.
England squad in full
Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Sam Johnstone (West Bromwich Albion), Nick Pope (Burnley)
Defenders: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jesse Lingard (West Ham United, loan from Manchester United), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United), Declan Rice (West Ham United), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
Forwards: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)
England vs San Marino: Odds
Gareth Southgate has assured Harry Kane won’t dictate how many minutes he plays
Mason Mount (left) and Phil Foden (right) are both pushing to start against San Marino
As expected, it’s England who are the overwhelming favourites to prevail against San Marino, who they have beaten on all six occasions the pair have met.
They last met in qualifying for the 2016 European Championships, where England twice ran out convincing winners, 5-0 at home and 6-0 away.
And the odds certainly reflect those results, with England coming in as 1/200 favourites.
San Marino are the significant underdogs at 250/1 to claim a win, while a draw is at 60/1.
Perhaps remarkably, a 6-0 win for England is just 5/1.
*Odds as per Betfair and correct at the time of publication
What about Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland?
Wales were beaten 3-1 by Belgium in their opening match of World Cup 2020 qualifying
It’s not just England who are in World Cup qualifying action on Thursday, with Northern Ireland traveling to Italy in a tough opening match.
Scotland also get their qualification underway, with a perhaps more even encounter against Austria.
Wales were the first British side to get their qualification going, though they fell short in a 3-1 away defeat to Belgium – despite taking the lead after just 11 minutes.
Groups in full
Group A: Portugal, Serbia, Republic of Ireland, Luxembourg, Azerbaijan
Group B: Spain, Sweden, Greece, Georgia, Kosovo
Group C: Italy, Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Lithuania
Group D: France, Ukraine, Finland, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kazakhstan
Group E: Belgium, Wales, Czech Republic, Belarus, Estonia
Group F: Denmark, Austria, Scotland, Israel, Faroe Islands, Moldova
Group G: Netherlands, Turkey, Norway, Montenegro, Latvia, Gibraltar
Group H: Croatia, Slovakia, Russia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta
Group I: England, Poland, Hungary, Albania, Andorra, San Marino
Group J: Germany, Romania, Iceland, North Macedonia, Armenia, Liechtenstein