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Friday, 3 September 2010

England 4 Bulgaria 0

First half:
Almost from the word go, England score through Defoe just two and a half minutes into the game at Wembley. Rooney picked up the ball outside the box taking it off Ashley Cole's feet, he chipped it perfectly back to Cole who had his shot saved, recovering, Cole passed across the box to Defoe who volleyed into the top of the net 1-0, England up and running.
That goal was the reward for the pressure exerted on the opposition right from the start, Bulgaria looked dazed for a while but England failed to really control the game in the early stages although they started to take more control after the first half hour or so. Chances came for Milner, Walcott and Defoe with little in reply from the Bulgarian team. Joe Hart looked confident between the sticks and was aware enough to gather up a mis-directed clearance from Glen Johnson.
Up front the early stages featured too many lofted passes and crosses from an English team that were never likely to dominate the air without a Crouch or Carlton Cole. Nevertheless, they made it to half time comfortably ahead by a goal - a nervous second-half could be avoided by slotting another couple of goals in, but England rarely do things the easy way!

Second Half:
The second half began in the same vein but was destined to develop much in the same way as one of Englands' recent World Cup qualifiers. Before the first five minutes were gone, Rooney attempted to chip the keeper who just managed to claw the ball over the bar. Just seven minutes later, Bulgaria narrowly missed the goal from a 'route one' move that caught the England backs napping. This was quickly followed by Dawson going down with a serious-looking knee injury, being stretchered off and replaced by Gary Cahill. Everything clicked into place on the hour mark, Hart punched away a decent effort into the path of Barry, Rooney picked up the ball distributing to Defoe inside the box who slides the ball through the legs of the keeper for two-nil.
On 74 minutes Adam Johnson comes on for Walcott who has not really delivered, a minute later Gerard delivers a shot that bounces off the keeper who manages to claw the ball away just as Defoe arrives. Five minutes later England on the break, Rooney to Adam Johnson playing on the right, who puts a well-struck shot wide of the far-side post. On 83 minutes after a few dangerous moments from Bulgaria again, Rooney again provides the ball to Adam Johnson, this time, he gets the ball inside the near-post for three-nil.
Only two minutes later, Defoe gets onto the end of a precision pass, shoots on the move with his left and scores his hat-trick, Englands' fourth of the night picking up an injury to his left ankle on the way. He is replaced by Ashley Young and England play out the game in front of a very happy England crowd, finally something to feel good about. Outstanding contributions from Rooney, Defoe and Joe Hart who looks every inch a seasoned international keeper after only his first full game. Great contributions from players like Adam Johnson, James Milner and the whole team on a night when the French revival fails at the first hurdle losing at home to Belarussia....

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