England continue winning run
Saturday, 06 June, 2009
England make it six wins from six in World Cup qualification.
A 4-0 dismissal of Kazakhstan has extended England's winning run in their bid to qualify for next year's World Cup.
Goals from Gareth Barry, Emile Heskey, Wayne Rooney and a Frank Lampard penalty secured the victory in Almaty and made it six wins from six matches for Fabio Capello's men.
A boisterous crowd greeted both teams and they were almost rewarded with an early goal. A scramble in the box was eventually cleared, but the enthusiastic early approach showed how correct Capello had been in preaching caution to his players.
Kazakhstan had started brightly at Wembley, and with the first capacity crowd in Almaty behind them they seized the initiative.
Lampard hit an effort high over the bar, but England failed to trouble Alexandr Mokin in the opening quarter of the game.
The home side thought they had taken the lead only for a raised flag from the linesman to rule it out. Ostapenko had climbed highest at the far post, only to have strayed into an offside when the ball was played.
That incident seemed to focus the minds of Capello's players and five minutes later Heskey went agonisingly close to giving them the lead.
Walcott fed Gerrard before Lampard laid the ball off for Heskey to shoot first time. Mokin got a crucial touch on the ball, clawing it onto the inside of the post and out for a corner.
As half-time approached John Terry went close with a header from a Lampard corner. The England skipper shrugged off the close attentions of the Kazakh defenders to rise highest, but head into the arms of Mokin.
Five minutes before the interval England did take the lead through Barry, again from a corner. This time it was Gerrard who received the ball short and crossed to the far post where Barry popped up unmarked to head home.
On the stroke of half-time, Heskey doubled the lead to make it a far more comfortable interval for the visitors. Steven Gerrard spotted Mokin off his line and attempted a lob, when the Kazakh 'keeper got a palm to the ball Heskey was left with the simple task of tapping in.
Shaun Wright-Phillips replaced Theo Walcott at the break, as England looked to increase their lead.
Heskey and Wright-Phillips earned free-kicks in dangerous areas, but despite fine delivery from Lampard on both occasions England failed to profit.
Rooney brought a save from Mokin with an imaginative lob with a quarter of an hour remaining, but moments later effectively put the game beyond Kazakhstan.
Glen Johnson showed great persistence to burst along the goaline and cut the ball across goal, and Rooney saw his initial effort palmed out by Mokin before turning in the rebound.
At that point Capello introduced David Beckham on the right side of midfield, with Wright-Phillips moving to right-back.
Emile Heskey then earned a penalty when it seemed a goal was inevitable. Mokin saved superbly from Ashley Cole's half-volley and from the rebound Heskey was hauled down and the referee had no option but to point to the spot.
Lampard made no mistake from 12 yards and put the seal on a clinical display from the Three Lions. Despite the seven hour flight and five hour time difference England came away with the three points they wanted.
Not even the presence of a rogue Kazakhstan supporter encroaching on the pitch could deviate England from their course.