England ease past Wales in qualifier
Goals by Frank Lampard (pictured) and Darren Bent helped England to a comfortable 2-0 win over old rivals Wales at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on Saturday, leaving Fabio Capello's men at the top of Group G with 10 points from four games.
REUTERS - England swept back to the top of their Euro 2012 qualifying group when they outclassed Wales 2-0 at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday after early goals from Frank Lampard and Darren Bent killed the game as a contest.
Lampard put a new-look 4-3-3 England ahead with a seventh minute penalty and Bent doubled the lead in the 15th minute as the 100th international between the two old rivals went England's way for the 65th time.
"I decided (on that formation) after watching the games Wales played," England coach Fabio Capello told Sky Sports.
"There were new positions for Rooney and Ashley Young -- when we were defending they stayed wide. The formation is really good but I don't know if the next game I'll play the same style -- it depends on the opponent."
The defeat in Wales manager Gary Speed's first competitive match in charge all but ended any lingering hopes Wales had of reaching next year's finals in Ukraine and Poland as they have now lost all four of their qualifiers.
England top Group G with 10 points from four matches, the same as Montenegro who have an inferior goal difference. Switzerland and Bulgaria, who were also playing on Saturday, started the day with three points each with Wales bottom.
The eagerly-awaited match was virtually over as a contest after an opening 15 minutes in which England silenced the home crowd, who had given their team a rousing rendition of the Welsh national anthem after roundly booing England's.
England goalkeeper Joe Hart was nothing more than an observer as England's new-look midfield of teenager Jack Wilshere, Lampard and Scott Parker took a grip of the game with Ashley Young and the over-lapping Ashley Cole punishing Wales on the flanks.
"It was a new formation for us but people knew what they were doing and it worked," man-of-the-match Young said.
"We worked on getting the ball back as soon as we lost it and putting them under pressure straight away."
Gulf in class
Wales, being led by 20-year-old skipper Aaron Ramsey for the first time, were pressed back deep in their own half for long periods and buckled under England's early pressure.
Defender James Collins slipped and then clipped the heels of his Aston Villa team mate Young as he attempted to recover, conceding the penalty.
Lampard made no mistake from the spot, scoring his 21st goal for his country on his 85th appearance.
The second exposed the gulf in class between the sides as a Glen Johnson chip released Young on the right wing. His low cross found Bent, who swept the ball home from six metres out.
Wales came more into the game in the second half with Craig Bellamy making one superb run that ultimately came to nothing, and lone Wales striker Steve Morison firing over the bar.
The home side, who never lost heart despite being largely outclassed, never allowed England to relax but apart from a Bellamy free kick in the first half which Hart punched clear, they never looked like saving the match.
"We had a bit of a slow start," Ramsey said.
"This is a step to becoming a very successful team and I think we showed glimpses of what we can do today. It was a great occasion for me (captain at 20). We'll bounce back from this, it's a stepping stone."