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San Marino 1 - 0 England

England's soccer players Gerrard and Rooney attend a training session at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev

England’s soccer players Steven Gerrard (R) and Wayne Rooney attend a training session at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, June 23, 2012. England will play its quarter-final of the Euro 2012 soccer championships against Italy in Kiev on June 24. REUTERS/Tony Gentile (UKRAINE - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)


No that’s not a typo; it was in fact, the score after 8.3 seconds of a World Cup qualifier between the two countries back in 1993.

To this day, it is the fastest goal scored in World Cup competition and the earliest the England team has ever conceded.

San Marino haven’t progressed much further in the intervening 20 years and truth be told, the Three Lions haven’t done much better either and the way this particular Group H is playing out, history could be repeating itself.

Just as in ’93, San Marino is at the bottom of the group and scoreless meanwhile England finds itself in 2nd place behind Montenegro and knows that automatic qualification could quite easily come down to goal difference.

On that night 20 years ago, England after conceding that stunning opening goal, eventually ran out 7-1 winners however it wasn’t enough to send them to USA ’94 as Holland and Norway took the trip and plunged English football into a mild depression after the heady stuff of Italia ’90.

Roy Hodgson’s XI should have little trouble handling the tiny nation tomorrow night in Serravalle and he’ll be hoping the result will be well in hand by half-time. On the other hand, San Marino knows that this is their night to play spoilers.