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Page last updated at 18:31 GMT, Saturday, 11 October 2008 19:31 UK

England 5-1 Kazakhstan

By Jonathan Stevenson
BBC Sport at Wembley

Theo Walcott, Wes Brown and Wayne Rooney celebrate
Rooney (r) eased the pressure with two late strikes for England

England made it three wins out of three in their World Cup qualifying campaign with a fine second-half display against Kazakhstan.

After a poor first half Rio Ferdinand, captain in the absence of the injured John Terry, nodded in a corner, before Alexandr Kuchma headed into his own net.

Zhambyl Kukeyev fired one back after an Ashley Cole mistake before Wayne Rooney headed in a Wes Brown cross and then tapped in after a David Beckham free-kick.

Jermain Defoe finished off the scoring with a late, low finish.

But it was not the comfortable evening for coach Fabio Capello the scoreline suggests, and it was even less so for Cole, who was mercilessly booed by the home fans after his error.

Despite that, England are in a strong position ahead of a potentially tricky visit to Belarus on Wednesday as the only team with a perfect record in Group Six, after rivals Ukraine and Croatia drew 0-0 in Kharkov.

After the euphoria of winning 4-1 in Croatia last month and buoyed by a partisan and sell-out Wembley crowd, England started well, with the hero of Zagreb, Theo Walcott, tormenting his opponents.

Ferdinand blasts booing of Cole

The Arsenal teenager appears to have replaced Beckham as the box office attraction for fans coming to see the national team and his was the name cheered loudest before kick-off.

With three minutes on the clock and with his first touch, the 19-year-old raced past his marker and then sent over a cross that Emile Heskey narrowly failed to bundle in at the far post.

England began to look for Walcott at every opportunity and he was frightening the Kazakhstan defence with his direct approach, one time cutting in on his weaker left foot and shooting marginally over the crossbar.

But Walcott’s cameo could not mask a disjointed England display for long and the 4-3-3 formation chosen by Capello soon began to break down.

Rooney pleased with England role

With Rooney isolated down the left, Heskey ploughing a lone furrow up front and Steven Gerrard failing to get forward from midfield, England’s attacks were breaking down with alarming regularity.

Capello had asked the crowd to be patient and he got his wish save for a smattering of boos at the interval, but the Italian responded by hauling off Gareth Barry and replacing him with Shaun Wright-Phillips, reverting back to 4-4-2.

With two minutes gone in the second half a goal nearly came - but it was Kazakhstan who went agonisingly close to opening the scoring.

A cross from the right was nodded down by target man Sergei Ostapenko and the ball sat up for Tanat Nusserbayev six yards out, the 21-year-old Ordabasy striker failing to keep his cool and hammering his shot over.

England soon made the former Soviet republic pay by taking a lead that had started to look less inevitable as the match progressed.


Wright-Phillips had a shot turned behind for a corner and from the resulting set-piece, Ferdinand climbed highest to nod into the net, his third goal wearing the three lions.

Hurt by conceding such a sloppy goal in their best period of the game, the Kazakhs responded, Nussrbayev’s 25-yard screamer clumsily tipped around the post by David James before Kukeyev went on a slaloming run at the England defence only to be foiled by the onrushing James.

Another set-piece doubled England’s advantage and appeared to give them some breathing space, a Lampard free-kick headed into his own net by Kuchma.

But the Kazakhs refused to admit defeat and when Cole embarrassingly gifted Kukeyev possession, the forward expertly kept his composure to fire into the corner past James.

England had to wait until 14 minutes from time to make sure of the win, Rooney heading Brown’s right-wing cross past Alexandr Mokin.

There was still time for a brief glimpse of Beckham, the former captain coming on for his 106th cap – level with Sir Bobby Charlton – and receiving the loudest ovation of the night when he replaced Walcott.

And with the Kazakhs tiring there was also time for two more goals, Beckham’s poorly-defended free-kick allowing Rooney to slot in his second of the match, before Defoe – on for Rooney – collected Heskey’s pass and fired into the far corner to add gloss to the scoreline.

But Capello will know better than anyone that on this evidence, World Cup qualification is still some way off.

England: James, Brown, Cole, Ferdinand, Upson, Gerrard, Barry (Wright-Phillips 45), Lampard, Walcott (Beckham 79), Heskey, Rooney (Defoe 86).
Subs Not Used: Carson, Johnson, Bridge, Crouch.

Goals: Ferdinand 52, Kuchma 65 og, Rooney 77, 86, Defoe 90.

Kazakhstan: Mokin, Kirov (Sabalakov 85), Kuchma, Kislitsyn, Nusserbayev, Skorykh, Ostapenko (Maltsev 76), Baltiyev, Ibrayev, Kukeyev, Logvinenko.
Subs Not Used: Morev, Nurdauletov, Vorotnikov, Maxim Azovskiy, Beissenov.

Goals: Kukeyev 68.

Att: 89,107

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: England's Emile Heskey 6.73 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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see also
Capello's game of two halves
11 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Win 'all important' for Capello
11 Oct 08 |  Internationals
World Cup qualifying photos
11 Oct 08 |  Football
World Cup qualifying as it happened
11 Oct 08 |  Internationals
World Cup 2010 qualifying
01 Dec 09 |  Football
Pick your England XI
31 Aug 07 |  Internationals

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