England record easy win against Wales in Euro qualifier

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England got their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign back on track here Saturday, cruising to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Wales at the Millennium Stadium.

Frank Lampard and Darren Bent scored the goals to secure a straightforward win which saw England return to the top of Group G on goal difference and eased the pressure on beleaguered manager Fabio Capello.

Capello’s bungled decision to reinstate John Terry as captain at the expense of Rio Ferdinand had left the Italian manager desperately needing a convincing win to staunch the flow of criticism.

But any possibility of a Welsh upset was snuffed out within the first 15 minutes as England forged into a 2-0 lead against opponents who were every bit as mediocre as their pre-match world ranking of 116 suggested.

England, fielding a new-look formation which featured West Ham’s Scott Parker stationed in front of the back four, allowing Jack Wilshere and Frank Lampard to push forward, took the lead on seven minutes.

Neat interplay between captain Terry and Ashley Young ended with the Aston Villa winger being clumsily brought down by club-mate James Collins for a certain penalty. Lampard stepped up to bury his 22nd international goal.

England’s confident start was rewarded further on 15 minutes, with Young scorching past left back Chris Gunter before squaring for Bent, who swept in with aplomb to make it 2-0.

The remainder of the first half resembled a training session for England, with the visitors dominating possession and territory and moving the ball around freely with only token opposition from Wales, struggling to offer any sort of threat in the absence of injured winger Gareth Bale.

Young’s pace and movement down the right flank was a constant menace for Wales’ Nottingham Forest defender Gunter, who looked deeply uncomfortable throughout.

The only disappointment for England was in the fact that they were unable to extend their lead further.

Capello would also have been unhappy to see Wayne Rooney pick up an unnecessary booking on 37 minutes for a rash challenge on Joe Ledley as the Manchester United player’s temper got the better of him.

Capello’s demeanour on the touchline meanwhile contradicted suggestions his heart is no longer in the job, frequently marching into the technical area to berate his players despite their dominance.

The second half followed a similar pattern, although with the match effectively won England appeared happy to sit deep and defend.

Wales meanwhile finally got their first shot on goal just after the hour mark, new captain Aaron Ramsey rifling high and wide from the edge of the area.

A double Welsh substitution on 65 minutes saw David Vaughan and Ched Evans brought on for Andy King and Steve Morison to little effect.

Wales — who have lost all four of their opening Euro 2012 qualifiers — now need a miraculous sequence of results to have any chance of reaching next summer’s finals in Poland and Ukraine.

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