Andorra 0 v 2 England
How much improvement have England made under Fabio Capello? Well judging by their efforts in Barcelona last night against Andorra, the 186th best ranked team in the world, the answer is not much.
In a match that mirrored England’s last outing against the minnows from the Pyrenees, they laboured to a 2 – 0 win. At least Steve McClaren can say that his England team scored 3!
Just as it was 18 months, the first half ended goalless. England dominated with Theo Walcott looking bright in the early stages but Capello’s team couldn’t break down the packed Andorra defence.
The Italian made changes at half time with Joe Cole coming on for the totally ineffective Stewart Downing and Emile Heskey replacing Jermaine Defoe.
Cole immediately made his presence felt – providing an emphatic first-time finish when Joleon Lescott flicked Lampard’s free-kick into his path.
The goal visibly lifted England and John Terry went close to making it 2-0 when he drove a shot into the side-netting from the edge of the area.
A second goal was not long coming, however, and inevitably it was Cole who got it – running on to Rooney’s superbly weighted pass to prod the ball past the onrushing Koldo.
Glen Johnson thought he had added a third just after the hour mark but his powerful strike was ruled out because Cole – for once the villain – had drifted into an offside position.
Despite a less than positive reaction from England’s travelling fans, Capello pronounced himself content with the result saying: “I’m happy because we played a good game and made a lot of chances.
“I’m happy because it’s an important three points. It’s a good sign for the Croatia game.”
Other selected World Cup qualifying scores
Austria 3 v 1 France
Croatia 3 v 0 Kazakhstan
Cyprus 1 v 2 Italy
FYR Macedonia 1 v 0 Scotland
Georgia 1 v 2 Republic of Ireland
Liechtenstein 0 v 6 Germany
Slovakia 2 v 1 Northern Ireland
Spain 1 v 0 Bosnia-Herzegovina
Wales 1 v 0 Azerbaijan