England beat 127th ranked Estonia in a virtual canter today at Wembley with 3 goals in the first 33 minutes. The game was won before the break. To say the second half was lethargic and boring is to be too complimentary.
England played out the second half and will now concentrate on their important game in Russia on Wednesday. Owen played for 70 minutes and Alan Smith was not included in the substitutes.
Before the match Steven Gerrard had talked about England’s lack of consistency but anything other than a win this afternoon would have been a monumental shock. In each of the Wembley games England have scored 3 times and won all three.
The only negative for England was that Ashley Cole was injured minutes into the second half after a collision involving the Estonia striker Kaimar Saag and Joleon Lescott of Everton, who was making his debut as a half-time replacement for Rio Ferdinand.
Cole must be a major doubt for Wednesday’s game against Russia.
The first goal was slotted through Mart Poomâ€™s legs by Wright-Phillips â€“ after good work by the overlapping Micah Richards, It was a good hard shot but really Poom should have saved it. It was good to see Wright-Phillips score again and heâ€™s done really well this season so far â€“ both for Chelsea and England.
England’s second, Wayne Rooney’s first competitive strike for his country since Euro 2004 came from a Joe Cole cross from the left that Rooney mis-hit but a deflection sent the ball into the bottom corner past keeper Poom. The third goal, coming 90 seconds later was an incredible own goal from midfielder Taavi Rahn. In attempting to head clear an Ashley Cole cross he headed the ball, from outside the area into the goal giving Poom no chance.
That was it 3 goals after 33 minutes and the game was won.
The midfield pairing of Steven Gerrard and Gareth Barry again looked competent and controlled the midfield for England throughout â€“ these two play well together and complement each other unlike Gerrard and Lampard. Frank Lampard finally came on with 20 minutes to go replacing Michael Owen. Owen looked OK so itâ€™s one down and one to go for Newcastle fans
After the game Manager McClaren talked about Cole:
“We’re assessing it.Â It doesn’t look good at the moment,”
“It was vital we got the three points we did,”Â “We wanted the tempo high in the first 20 minutes and we won it in the first 20 minutes.”
This was a result expected if only because Estonia are such a poor side. But 3 points and no goals conceded is good and a professional win by England. The real test comes at Russia on Wednesday on a plastic pitch. Thatâ€™s when strikers Rooney and Owen will need to be at their best.
England: Robinson, Richards, Campbell, Ferdinand (Lescott 46), Ashley Cole (Neville 49), Wright-Phillips, Gerrard, Barry, Joe Cole, Rooney, Owen (Lampard 70).
Subs Not Used: James, Bentley, Crouch, Defoe.
Goals: Wright-Phillips 11, Rooney 32, Rahn 33 og.
Estonia: Poom, Kruglov, Stepanov, Piiroja, Jaager, Rahn, Klavan, Dmitrijev, Lindpere, Kink (Viikmae 62), Saag.
Subs Not Used: Aksalu, Allas, Reim, Rooba, Barengrub, Terehhov.
Booked: Rahn, Lindpere.
Ref: Nicolai Vollquartz (Denmark).