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September 8, 2012
• Stadionul Zimbru, Chişinău
Referee: P. Van Boekel
• Attendance: 10500
F. Lampard 3', 29'
J. Defoe 32'
J. Milner 74'
L. Baines 84'
A very positive start to England's World Cup qualifying campaign sees England pick up an expected three points, scoring five times to boot. The performances of England's younger Lions - Oxlade-Chamberlain and Cleverley - will delight Roy Hodgson. A much bigger test awaits England at Wembley though.
The undoubted stars for England were Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Glen Johnson. The pair provided constant width and penetration down their respective flanks.
FULL TIME!! It's an efficient performance by England against a poor Moldovan side. England had the match won in the first half, but they nevertheless saw out the second half in style by scoring a further two goals. However, there will be major concern regarding the injury to John Terry.
John Terry's night is over. His injury is considered too severe for him to continue, so he's left the field. Carrick drops back into defence permanently this time. Will Terry be fit for the tougher test against the Ukraine?
Welbeck receives the ball just inside the box, he cuts inside and feigns to shoot before passing to Cleverley on the edge of the box. The Man Utd midfielder slides Walcott in, who shoots straight at the keeper.
Goal Leighton Baines
GOAL!!! England win a free-kick which is taken by Leighton Baines. The Everton leftback's curling shot looked to be going towards the near post until a massive deflection off the wall sees the ball nestle in the opposite corner.
Moldova win a corner kick which is cleared by Lampard, but Covalciuc quickly crosses the ball back into the box. Terry struggles to get airborne and his weak header drops to the feet of an advancing Moldovan. His shot is deflected and the ball pinballs around the box. England eventually clear.
John Terry is struggling with an injury, forcing Carrick to drop back into defence. England have used all their subs so the Chelsea captain has to play through the pain.
Assist Theo Walcott
Goal James Milner
GOAL!!! England break with Walcott, who almost loses the ball before passing to Welbeck inside the box. Welbeck, Cleverley and Walcott all look afraid to shoot, showing indecision in the box, and it's up to James Milner to eventually receive the ball and fire his shot into the bottom corner.
The intensity of the game has dipped and England look more concerned with retaining a clean sheet than scoring a fourth goal.
Jermain Defoe is replaced by Danny Welbeck. The Tottenham man led the line well in the first half, but his influence has waned in the second. He marked his 50th cap with a goal.
Since the substitution of Oxlade-Chamberlain, England's threat has mainly been coming down the right hand side. Milner releases Johnson who drills a low cross into the box and out for a corner. The resulting corner is cleared initially, but played back into the box for Cleverley to scuff wide.
Moldova build from the back, keeping possession well and moving the ball from side to side. Improved play from the hosts, but with no end product.
An England corner is badly dealt with by Moldova, and Defoe and Lescott both have attempts on goal blocked. Moldova eventually clear and counter, but England get back in numbers and devour the threat.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has had a very good game, is replaced by Arsenal teammate Theo Walcott. The latter is yet to start under Hodgson.
A scramble on the edge of the box almost presents Moldova with a couple of half chances. An optimistic effort is blocked by Lescott but falls into the path of Picusceac, who can't quite create enough space to shoot.
England are starting to have a little trouble unlocking the Moldovan defence in the final third, and are becoming guilty of over-playing.
Baines' cross is cleared as far as Oxlade-Chamberlain on the edge of the box. The Arsenal man finds Milner in space, but his cross is easily intercepted by Namasco.
A poor header from Johnson looks to have put Picusceac through on goal, but Terry and Lescott crowd out the Moldovan forward and Hart cleans up.
Johnson pushes the ball past the Moldovan fullback and cuts the ball back for Cleverley inside the box, but the Man Utd midfielder mis-hits his volley.
England kick off the second half with Michael Carrick on in place of Steven Gerrard. Moldova bring on Dedov for Suvorov.
A dominant first half performance from England, but Suvorov's set-pieces have caused a number of problems for the English backline.
England have maximised the full width of the pitch, with Baines and Johnson galavanting forwards from defence and Oxlade-Chamberlain and Milner constantly attacking the Moldovan fullbacks. That has created more space in the middle for Cleverley & co. to exploit.
HALFTIME!!! A professional first half from England sees them 3-0 up at the break courtesy of two goals from Lampard and one from Defoe.
Another Suvorov free-kick forces Joe Hart to leave his line, but the England keeper's punch goes out for a corner. Moldova take it short and Covalciuc's cross picks out Armas who's glancing header goes straight across the face of goal and misses Hart's far post by inches.
Johnson threads the eye of a needle and finds Defoe just inside the box. The diminutive forward cuts back inside and fires high over Namasco's goal.
A period of decent possession for Moldova sees an over-hit pass go out for an England throw-in. Sums up the home team's night so far.
Moldova win a dangerous free-kick and Suvorov plays another searching cross into the box, however Picusceac can't get his header on target.
The tricks are coming out now as Lampard tries to pick out Defoe on the edge of the box with a neat back-heel. England are cruising.
Assist Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Goal Jermain Defoe
GOAL!!! Oxlade-Chamberlain plays a slide rule pass in behind the Moldovan back four for Jermain Defoe. The Tottenham forward blasts the ball towards the near post, and the ball wriggles past Namasco and into the back of the net.
Less than a minute after scoring, England are already attacking the Moldovan goal again. This time Cleverley's shot flies past Namasco's far post.
Assist Glen Johnson
Goal Frank Lampard
GOAL!!! Johnson floats a wonderful cross towards the 6-yard box and right onto the head of an onrushing Frank Lampard. Lampard just guides the ball into the bottom corner with his forehead. A well deserved second goal for England and Lampard.
Johnson advances down the right, unchallenged by the Moldovan defence. He shoots, but Namasco makes the save.
Suvorov's deflected shot is picked up by Picusceac, who fires the ball towards goal. The shot takes a deflection of an England shirt and narrowly misses Hart's far post. Suvorov's resulting corner is a dangerous one, but the England defence clears.
Baines' shot hits the arm of a Moldovan defender on the edge of the box. From the resulting free-kick, Gerrard's swerving, venomous shot just evades the goal.
Defoe tackles the Moldovan rightback and wins possession high up the pitch. He immediately offloads to Lampard who has time and space on the edge of the box to shoot, but attempts a pass instead which leads to nothing. A case of one pass too many for England so far.
Gatcan releases Covalciuc down England's left flank, and the latter produces a good cross which is well dealt with in the air by John Terry.
Patras picks the ball up about 35-yards out from goal and fires a cleanly struck shot towards Joe Hart's goal. It's high and wide, but only just. A warning shot for England.
England are playing really well, utilising the full width of the pitch. England's wingers and fullbacks are getting forward at will and causing Moldova a number of problems.
Milner runs down the right and floats the ball into the box. Namasco punches the ball, but only as far as Oxlade-Chamberlain. The England wideman hits a controlled volley towards goal but Namasco saves.
Excellent interplay from England sees Gerrard burst towards goal. His reverse pass finds Defoe inside the box, but the striker's shot is well saved. The resulting corner is cleared by Moldova.
Oxlade-Chamberlain attacks down the right and drills a low cross into the box. Defoe attacks it, but his shot misses at the near post.
Yellow Card Glen Johnson
England are well on top so far and are controlling the game. Tom Cleverley wins a corner, but Moldova clear the danger.
Yellow Card Semion Bulgaru
Penalty Goal Frank Lampard
GOAL!!! Frank Lampard steps up and buries the ball past Namasco low to his left. The perfect start for England.
PENALTY!! Gerrard's cross reaches Tom Cleverley, and his strike is blocked by the arm of Bulgaru. The referee points to the spot.
Gerrard and Lampard are sitting with Cleverley playing in an advanced position in the hole.
Moldova get the game under way.
We're seconds away from kick-off...
Time for the national anthems.
Hodgson reveals that he's picked Defoe because of his experience and club form, while Cleverley gets the nod over Carrick because he brings a more creative dimension than his Man Utd colleague.
The last time Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard played a competitive international together was in the 4-1 mauling at the hands of Germany in Bloemfontein in the 2010 World Cup.
England are playing 4-5-1 against the 141st ranked team in the world in what appears to be quite a negative move by Roy Hodgson. With Moldova likely to defend deep and in numbers, do the Three Lions have enough firepower to break through a compact Moldovan defence in Chisinau?
Jermain Defoe starts up front on his own, earning his 50th cap for the Three Lions tonight. Tom Cleverley will make his first competitive start for England in central midfield, while Michael Carrick has to make do with a spot on the bench. Joleon Lescott partners John Terry in central defence and Leighton Baines replaces the injured Ashley Cole.
Moldova subs: S Pascenco, A Pascenco, Negai, Racu, Ovseannicov, Cebotaru, Bordian, Doros, Sidorenco, Ivanov, Alexeev, Dedov.
Moldova: Namasco; Bulgaru, Golovatenco, Epureanu, Armas; Covalciuc, Gatcan, Onica, Patras; Suvorov, Picusceac.
England subs: Walker, Ruddy, Bertrand, Cahill, Carrick, Jagielka, Walcott, Sturridge, Welbeck, Butland.
England: Hart; Johnson, Terry, Lescott, Baines; Milner, Lampard, Cleverley, Gerrard, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Defoe.
Welcome to Goal.com UK’s LIVE! text commentary of Moldova v England. I’m Ewan Roberts and I’ll be guiding you through this evening’s action! First up, here are the line-ups for tonight’s World Cup Qualifier…
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