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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 June 2007, 20:18 GMT 21:18 UK
Estonia 0-3 England
Wednesday, 6 June 2007

By Phil McNulty

Joe Cole celebrates England's opener with Wayne Bridge
Joe Cole celebrates England's opener with Wayne Bridge
David Beckham inspired England to a comfortable Euro 2008 qualifier win against Estonia in Tallinn to ease the pressure on coach Steve McClaren.

Joe Cole broke the deadlock after 36 minutes, turning sweetly to volley home Peter Crouch's flick.

Crouch doubled England's lead eight minutes after the break when he headed home a superb Beckham cross.

Beckham then provided a far post cross for Michael Owen to add England's third after 61 minutes.

It was a professional display from England that sets them up for the crucial qualifying tests against Croatia and Russia later this year.

And as well as Beckham confirming his return to the international stage before limping off with an ankle injury, Owen will also be delighted to be back on target for England after his lengthy absence with a serious knee injury.

England, as expected, recalled Crouch up front alongside Owen, and he had a hand in the goal that finally broke the deadlock.

McClaren's side had been made to work hard for their advantage against a resilient, but desperately limited, Estonia side.

Crouch side-footed inches wide from the edge of the area as England dominated possession without making an early breakthrough.


Beckham was a major source of danger, despite struggling after twisting an ankle early on, sending a dipping shot just wide.

He also created confusion in the Estonia area in the 28th minute, keeper Mart Poom palming out his free-kick to Owen, but the striker was unable to turn home the rebound.

England were finally ahead nine minutes before the interval, when Cole turned and scored brilliantly after Crouch flicked on Wayne Bridge's throw-in.

But Estonia were almost gifted an equaliser on the stroke of half-time when Vladimir Voskoboinikov was only denied by Paul Robinson's brave block after evading Ledley King and John Terry.

England, however, finished off Estonia with a double strike after the break, with Beckham the creator on both occasions.

After 53 minutes he curled in a superb right-flank cross which Crouch headed beyond Poom.

And eight minutes later he set up Owen for a far post finish that gave the Newcastle striker a record 23rd competitive goal for his country.

Beckham left the field to an ovation from England's fans after 67 minutes, to be replaced by Kieron Dyer.

The only other downside on England's night was a late booking for Crouch which rules him out of the qualifier with Israel at Wembley in September.

Estonia almost claimed their first goal of the qualifying campaign in injury time, but captain John Terry cleared off the line from Tarmo Kink.

Estonia: Poom, Jaager, Stepanov, Kruglov, Klavan, Dmitrijev, Lindpere, Vassiljev, Konsa (Neemelo 46), Voskoboinikov, Terehhov (Kink 64).
Subs Not Used: Kotenko, Barengrub, Rooba, Leetma, Kams.

England: Robinson, Brown, Terry, King, Bridge, Beckham (Dyer 68), Gerrard, Lampard, Cole (Downing 75), Crouch, Owen (Jenas 88).
Subs Not Used: Carson, Carragher, Smith, Defoe.

Booked: Crouch.

Goals: Cole 37, Crouch 54, Owen 62.

Att: 11,000

Ref: Grzegorz Gilewski (Poland).

P W D L Pts
Croatia 7 5 2 0 17
Israel 8 5 2 1 17
Russia 7 4 3 0 15
England 7 4 2 1 14
Macedonia 7 2 1 4 7
Estonia 7 0 0 7 0
Andorra 7 0 0 7 0

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