England ran riot against World Cup debutants Greece, winning by a record 94-4 at Bramall Lane to duly secure top spot in Group A.
Shaun Wane’s men had racked up 102 points in their opening wins over Samoa and France and continued in free-flowing mode against their part-time opponents to eclipse their previous record World Cup score, a 76-4 win over Russia in 2000.
England ran in 17 tries, four of them from new wing sensation Dom Young, while man of the match Marc Sneyd contributed 30 points with a try and 13 conversions but Wane will be just as pleased with his side’s defence.
🥳 A record-breaking afternoon in Sheffield sees us finish top of Group A! pic.twitter.com/R4tg6zhH2D
— England Rugby League (@England_RL) October 29, 2022
Greece will have fond memories of their first-ever World Cup but may wake up with nightmares from their inaugural meeting with England after being out-muscled and eventually run off their feet.
England’s shell-shocked opponents showed plenty of spirit in the early stages but finished the game battered and bruised and grateful to hear the final whistle from Belinda Sharpe, one of two female referees who enjoyed a controversy-free encounter.
The 21-year-old Young scored all his tries before half-time to become the tournament’s top scorer on eight and with the promise of lots more to come.
Wane handed debuts to Kai Pearce-Paul and Joe Batchelor to ensure all 24 members of his squad got a run-out before the knockout stages and will be spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting his line-up for next Saturday’s quarter-final at Wigan.
It looked comfortable from the moment Sneyd put prop Matty Lees through a yawning gap in the Greek defence to enable him to score his first try for his country with just two minutes on the clock.
Young then opened his account, scoring straight from a scrum, before Greece enjoyed their moment of glory, full-back Siteni Taukamo evading the rash challenge of centre Pearce-Paul to score an 18th-minute try.
A lofted pass from captain George Williams got Young over for his second and his wing rival Ryan Hall got in on the act on 27 minutes, running onto Sneyd’s carefully-judged kick.
A 40-20 kick from Ackers created the position from which replacement prop Tom Burgess powered past some tired limbs for his sixth England try and Young’s mixture of power and pace enabled him to double his tally for the game.
The one-way traffic continued with Jack Welsby getting prop Chis Hill into space and Williams sprinting away for England’s eighth try of the first half and the rout continued after the break, with Tom Makinson, surprisingly chosen at full-back in the absence of a rested Sam Tomkins, following up another of Sneyd’s precision kicks to claim his eighth England try.
Sneyd then scored arguably the try of the match, finishing off a break by second rower John Bateman after Williams had created the position with a 50-metre run from his own line.
Greece’s afternoon got worse when tryscorer Taukamo and captain Jordan Meads were both forced off with injuries and Burgess compounded their misery by strolling over for his second try.
Second rower Joe Batchelor ought to have put an unmarked Hall over for his second try but Sneyd ensured the Hull KR man did not miss out as he unleashed him with a superb cut-out pass.
Hall has now scored 39 in 40 appearances for his country and is second only to Australia’s Billy Slater in the all-time international list.
Ackers deservedly got in on the scoring spree with a brace as Greece tired and there were also tries for Batchelor, Pearce-Paul and Mike McMeeken before the hooter came to Greece’s rescue.