Gary Lineker calls for FIFA qualifier rule change after England’s 5-0 win

Former England striker Gary Lineker has called on FIFA to make a change to the qualification system for the World Cup.

Lineker believes Gareth Southgate will have learned nothing from watching his side inflict another heavy defeat on the 210th ranked team in international football.

His comments, posted on Twitter, came during England’s 5-0 victory over San Marino last night.

The current qualification structure features all 55 UEFA-affiliated teams. But Lineker suggested that the lowest-ranked nations should have to play each other first before going on to face the higher-ranked sides.

San Marino have won one game throughout their history – a 1-0 friendly victory over Liechtenstein 17 years ago.

Prior to the England game, they were on a two-match unbeaten run in UEFA competitions, having drawn 0-0 against Liechtenstein and Gibraltar.

Remember Davide Gualtieri?

He scored that shock goal for San Marino in 6.4 seconds against England back in 1994, running onto a short Stuart Pearce back-pass to David Seaman from kick-off, which for two decades stood as the fastest goal in FIFA competition.

Gualtieri says that sometimes it looks like the players are “doing San Marino a favour when they get called up”.

And who can blame them? Last night was their 44th consecutive World Cup qualifier defeat. At some point, somebody has to say enough is enough.

England won the match that everyone knew they were going to win, playing virtually the whole 90 minutes plus stoppages in their opponent’s half, keeping hold of the ball for almost 100 per cent of the time.

England are next in World Cup qualifying action when they take on Albania on Sunday. San Marino, meanwhile, host Hungary.


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