Although England took six points from their latest qualifiers against Bulgaria and Wales, their performances will need to improve if they are to make any impact in Poland and Ukraine next year.
A comfortable 3-0 victory against Bulgaria in Sofia gave them control in Group G. Wales beating main challengers Montenegro 2-1 in Cardiff helped the England cause.
…carried on his magnificent start…
Gary Cahill opened the scoring in Bulgaria with his first goal for England. Wayne Rooney then carried on his magnificent start to the season, this time in an England shirt. The United forward was on target twice before half time.
The first met with his head after a Stuart Downing cross and then moments before the break he finished off a sweeping counter attack with Ashley Young and Theo Walcott to put the game to bed before the interval.
…posed very little threat…
Bulgaria posed very little threat throughout the 90 minutes, allowing debutant Chris Smalling at right back to ease into international football.
Four days later, according to the FIFA rankings, England faced a much easier game against home nation rivals Wales at Wembley. England are currently fourth in the rankings with neighbours Wales way down in 117th.
…now under youthful manager Gary Speed…
After their victory over Montenegro a few days earlier and now under youthful manager Gary Speed, they have shown improvement and made life very difficult for England on the night.
England dragged themselves to an uninspiring 1-0 victory at home. Credit is due to the Welsh side who were very tricky to break down, passed the ball well and even could have nicked a draw if it weren’t for Robert Earnshaw’s dreadful miss from 5 yards out late on.
…score the only goal of the match…
Fabio Capello’s men got the three points they needed and take a six point lead in the group. Now they only need a point against Montenegro in their last game to qualify for Euro 2012.
Image courtesy of The FA