Euro 2016: Tearful Wayne Rooney nets record 50th goal

LONDON: Wayne Rooney became England s all-time leading goal-scorer after netting his 50th international goal in a historic 2-0 victory over Switzerland at Wembley in Euro 2016 qualifying on Tuesday.


With England having already qualified for next year s tournament, the stage was set for their captain to surpass Bobby Charlton s mark of 49, which he had equalled in Saturday s 6-0 win in San Marino.

After substitute Harry Kane broke the deadlock, the moment duly arrived in the 84th minute, Rooney crashing a penalty into Yann Sommer s top-right corner and being rewarded with a standing ovation that left him wiping away tears.

The result gave Roy Hodgson s side an eighth consecutive win, keeping them on course to finish Group E with a perfect record ahead of October s final two qualifiers against Estonia and Lithuania.

But while England, who lost Fabian Delph to an early injury, can start making plans for France, Switzerland remain under threat from Slovenia in the race for the second and final automatic qualifying spot.

Valentin Stocker and Josip Drmic, architects of Switzerland s stirring late fightback in Saturday s 3-2 defeat of Slovenia, were rewarded with starting berths as the visitors looked to nail down a top-two place.

Both sides made three changes, but one of England s entrants, Delph, lasted less than 20 seconds.

In scenes that recalled his City debut against Real Madrid in a pre-season friendly, when he went off after only 19 minutes, the former Aston Villa man pulled up clutching his left hamstring and had to go off.

Ross Barkley was the England substitute who found himself peeling off his tracksuit top sooner than expected.

Persevering with the 4-3-3 system used against San Marino, England quickly made inroads, with Gary Cahill s header snatched off Rooney s toes by Swiss goalkeeper Sommer and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain volleying over.

Every sight of goal for Rooney drew a roar of expectation from the crowd and in the 17th minute he was released by James Milner, only to steer his shot wide.

Three minutes later the roles were reversed. Milner s low drive obliged Sommer to block.

Shakiness in the England back four gave Switzerland reason for hope, however, and they threatened when Granit Xhaka released Xherdan Shaqiri, whose heavy touch allowed Joe Hart to slide out and save.

Shaqiri, newly of Stoke City, was a busy presence and shortly before half-time he teed up Drmic, who dragged wide.

England continued to create shooting chances in the second half, Barkley seeing a curler blocked and Rooney twice failing to extend Sommer with a header and 20-yard snapshot.

But after Hart had to smuggle Xhaka s header around his near post, Hodgson took action, introducing Kane for Jonjo Shelvey and shifting to a 4-2-3-1 formation that saw Rooney drop back into a number 10 role.

Kane supplied the breakthrough 10 minutes later with an assured left-foot finish from Luke Shaw s low cross.

After Swiss centre-back Timm Klose had threatened an unlikely solo goal by blundering through a succession of challenges, the moment arrived that the 75,751 fans in the ground had been waited for.

Xhaka felled Raheem Sterling, Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi pointed to the spot, and Rooney blasted his way into English football history.