Elsewhere, Wales edged to a 2-1 triumph over Scotland to deny Gordon Strachan a winning start to his reign, while Republic of Ireland secured a credible 0-0 draw with Sweden.
Here is the best of the Twitter reaction from the professionals to a busy night of 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Stoke striker Michael Owen (@themichaelowen) may have beaten Sir Bobby Charlton’s England goal record if he had played against San Marino: “Don’t really do regrets but if I did, I regret not playing against San Marino in my career! Seems to do wonders for your goals tally!”
Former Ireland midfielder Jason McAteer (@MCATEER) isn’t the first to get annoyed by a certain pundit’s opinion: “RTE HD does nothing for Eamon Dunphy – neither does his comments #playedforwho”
Ex-Germany international Dietmar Hamann (@DietmarHamann) can’t resist a dig at the Australians on England’s behalf: “That England score could be bigger than Australia’s highest opening stand in Test cricket in last three years.”
Former Leicester striker Darren Eadie (@eadie11) is naming Joe Hart his man of the match: “Reckon Hart will get a 10 in the paper tomorrow, not put a foot wrong. #england”
Reading striker Jason Roberts (@JasonRoberts30) can’t believe the chanting being aimed at the absent Ferdinand: “Abusive songs about Rio…funny..never heard abusive songs about England players who have been found guilty of DISGRACEFUL acts? Funny that!”
Former England striker Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) reckons the Three Lions are a shoe-in for the World Cup crown: “Can’t see anyone living with us in the World Cup now.”
Ex-Ireland midfielder Kevin Kilbane (@kdkilbane77) praises the Men in Green: “Really pleased for Paul Green tonight. Brilliant hard-working performance by Ireland tonight. McCarthy & Forde very good. #coybig”
Dutch legend Edwin van der Sar (@vdsar1970) enjoyed Rafael van der Vaart’s opener: “What a silky touch by @rafvdvaart for first goal in 3-0 win for Holland! Off to bed now busy day of kids sports ahead tomorrow!”
Spain midfielder Cesc Fàbregas (@cesc4official) calls for calm after a 0-0 draw with Finland: “It wasn’t possible against Finland but we still are second of the group. Already focused on Paris next Tuesday! #seflive #brazil2014”
Former Wales striker John Hartson (@JohnHartson10) praises his countrymen for a 2-1 win in Scotland: “Delighted for our brilliant fans tonight, sang their hearts out.. Hope they enjoy Glasgow and stay safe.”
England defender Kyle Walker (@kyle28walker) is proud of his team-mates: “Pleased with the result & professionalism we showed tonight, now we need to keep focused and put in a big performance in Montenegro on Tuesday!”
Ireland midfielder James McCarthy (@JamesMcCarthy_4) is ecstatic to secure a draw in Sweden: “Big point tonight!! Massive game Tuesday!! Fans were class!! Big team performance!! #COYBIG”
And finally, Wales midfielder Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) explains his early substitution and hails his colleagues: “Just clearing the air… nothing wrong with my ankle. I came off at HT due to the stomach virus I’ve had all week. Should be OK for Tuesday. Great win by the lads tonight, hopefully we can take this on to the next game.”
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