There is no doubt that Wales missed Gareth Bale but it is pretty doubtful that he would have made much difference to such a one sided game.
England had 56% of the possession and managed eleven attempts at goal to Wales’ three. Joe Hart will rarely have had an easier day as Wales failed to hit the target once.
Having said all that, Wales are a young team with a new manager, a new system and were missing their star player. Their time may come, but it looked to be a long way away today.
There were many positives to come out of the game for England although there will clearly be much sterner tests ahead. The defence looked solid, although I would have backed my son’s under sixteen team to soak up the little pressure they were put under.
In the midfield, Jack Wilshire took another step on the road to what looks like being a long international career and at the other end of the scale, Scott Parker showed that he has been desperately unlucky to be largely overlooked by England until being in his thirties.
The star of the show was Aston Villa wide man Ashley Young who was fouled for the penalty, coolly converted by Frank Lampard, made the second goal with a great run and cross and enjoyed his best display in an England shirt, deservedly picking up the man of the match award.
Up front, Darren Bent scored again and might just be beginning to show that he can make the step up from being a great club striker into being an international footballer.
The only disappointment was Wayne Rooney who put in a patchy performance and picked up a silly booking that rules him out of the next qualifier.
Overall it was a hugely disappointing afternoon for the Welsh who had started to believe that they had a chance of surprising their hated neighbours. This qualifying campaign has been little short of a disaster and Gary Speed has little choice but to build for the future and try to find some players to back up the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.
As for England, it was a professional, if unspectacular performance. Fabio Capello and his men will be rightly pleased with their afternoon’s work.
The win might not mean much in the medium to long term and in the context of world football, but I think we should celebrate. After all, we don’t get too many chances to be happy with our national team.
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Nice article, but I’d like to say I am annoyed your reporting with such strong phrases as ‘surprising their hated neighbours’. It’s journalism like that which fuels the bitterness.
I’m all for rivalries where we can have a dig at the opposition for getting one over on them. But it’s currently more than that, which is only exacerbated by the media claiming it’s a relationship of hate!
That’s a fair point Bacon and I apologise for my use of terminology. The reaction to the national anthem was pretty unpleasant and I was probably swayed by that.
I agree that we need to get hatred out of the game.