England to cruise to comfortable victory in World Cup qualifiers
England cruised to a comfortable 5-0 victory against Moldova in their opening World Cup qualifying game. Goals from Jermaine Defoe, James Milner, Leighton Baines and a brace from Frank Lampardensured England’s performance at Euro 2012 was quickly forgotten.
The clear gulf in quality between the two sides was evident from the off, as England quickly settled with some neat passing between the midfield three of Tom Cleverly, captain Steven Gerrard and Lampard. The attacking threat that England possessed quickly paid dividends as the visitors were awarded a penalty for handball.
The ever so reliable Lampard stepped up and calmly slotted the ball home, giving England the momentum in the game, however it wasn’t until the half hour mark that England’s pressure turned to goals. After good work on the right by Glen Johnson, he sent in a wonderful delivery that Lampard simply could not miss.
Then just moments later, it was three. The sparky Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain played a delightful through ball to Spurs striker Jermaine Defoe, who showed all of his finishing pedigree to mark his 50th cap with a goal.
At the break, captain Gerrard was replaced by Michael Carrick, but this did not effect the efficiency of England’s midfield, as they continued to stroke the ball around with ease, however their attacking intent had somewhat eased given the three goal margin.
The substitution of Theo Walcott on for his Arsenal team mate Oxlade-Chamberlain soon changed that, as his direct running and quick passing with Danny Welbeck, teed up James Milner to score his first ever England goal.
And it was Walcott who played a part in England’s fifth, his direct running again causing problems and as he was brought down, Baines marked his first start at International level with a goal, as his free-kick took a nasty deflection which wrong footed the Moldovan ‘keeper and gently bounced into the net.
Roy Hodgson can take plenty of positives from his teams performance, however, before we jump to any conclusions, its worth remembering just how bad Moldova are, but to win by five goals will give the team confidence before their next game against the Ukraine.