Decent performance in a game that could have started so so badly!
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Many who tuned into the game between the Kazak minnows and England’s Premier League superstars would have been having flashbacks to the San Marino fiasco when Sergey Ostapenko almost scored 20 seconds but John Terry saved Fabio’s blushes with a goal line clearance. The same player then went one better and found the back of the net only to see the goal rightly ruled out for Offside.
That effort seemed to force the travelling side into life and Capello’s men started to string some passes together but Kazakhstan were not overawed and showed good touches of their own and were only let down by sloppy play in the final third. Steven Gerrard then started to get more involved and he put in a good cross for recent Man City man Gareth Barry to nod home through a crowd of players. Minutes later and a scuffed ball from Stevie G then had the keeper back tracking and Mokin’s attempts to claw the ball back left Emile Heskey with an easy finish and the table toppers could go into the half time break with a sigh of relief.
The second half was a cake walk in comparison to the first period as full backs Ashley Cole and Glen Johnson penned the advances of the opposition. The Kazak’s battled well though and held out until the 73rd minute when Wayne Rooney’s first effort was well saved by the keeper only for the Man United man to superbly overhead kick the ball back into the net. Lampard added a fourth from the spot after a thuggish tackle on Heskey and the game then petered out and England took another step towards qualification.
Stand in keeper Robert Green had little to do thanks to a very solid performance in front of him by Terry and Matt Upson, albeit against weak opposition. Steven Gerrard seemed to thrive in the wide midfield but Walcott had a bit of an off day as did half time replacement Shaun Wright-Phillips which must give long term injury victim Joe Cole some hope.
All in all a routine and workmanlike display which is someway from the mediocre efforts Steve McClaren managed to orchastrate against similarly poor sides. Roll on Andorra!
Note of interest. At one point there were five West Ham players past and present on England duty. Would this fact please or irritate Hammers fans given that four of them had left the club and the other could well do so also?
What did you make of the performance? Who were the stars of the show and who should be dropped for Wednesday night?