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September 6, 2013
• Wembley Stadium, London
Referee: I. Kružliak
• Attendance: 61607
S. Gerrard 12'
R. Lambert 27'
D. Welbeck 45'+, 51'
Thanks for joining us for the LIVE commentary of England 4-0 Moldova. I've been Tom J Doyle, and the Three Lions have the points. Enjoy the rest of your evening, and make sure you're back for the crucial game in Ukraine on Tuesday - bye for now.
It was always comfortable for the Three Lions, but Hodgson will be pleased with his side's professional approach. Rickie Lambert is looking every bit the international player, and Steven Gerrard in particular had a brilliant game, dictating the tempo with ease. Welbeck continued his fine early season form with a double - but how important will his suspension for the Ukraine game be?
That's it! England take the three points here and now top Group H with Montenegro drawing 1-1 in Poland - a perfect night for Roy Hodgson, minus the yellow for Welbeck.
90' + 2'
James Milner, how have you missed?! The marking is shocking and the Manchester City midfielder is all alone at the back post, but he casually leans back and volleys over the bar from six yards. He had enough time to take the ball down, make a cup of tea AND finish it - but it's not to be.
Barkley tries to slot in Walcott here but the pass is blocked, and Welbeck takes it out wide. Walker ends up with the ball and wins a free kick in a good position on the wing - time for a fifth?
The ball is swung over and a Oldovan pulls it back across goal, but Armas can only hook a shot high over Hart's goal. A pity that what has been the visitors' best chance fell to a defender, really.
Moldova have a corner! Can they get a memorable consolation strike here?
OOF! Walker goes for glory and lashes a half-volley at Namasco's goal from an angle on the right, but can only hit it a couple of yards over the bar. That got the crowd going - though in truth, it's been a relatively quiet night at Wembley.
Not long left now, and it's been a comfortable stroll for the Three Lions. Barkley's looked sharp since coming on, and Welbeck and Lambert have linked well. Bigger challenges await, but results like this are always welcomed.
Gerrard has been superb today - he curls in a lovely chipped cross, and Welbeck glances the header wide of goal. The Liverpool captain really is in fine form at the moment.
STAT ATTACK (via @OptaJoe): 94 - Rickie Lambert has scored two goals and assisted two in just 94 minutes of action for England. Saint.
Namasco gets lucky here as he diverts Lampard's low drive over his own bar with an outstretched foot. He dived beyond the Chelsea midfielder's 20-yard fizzer, but the ball span up and over the goal. Luck? Judgement? All he'd say is that it's not nestling in his net.
Welbeck flashes a shot on the turn from 20 yards, and Namasco spills it - but it simply pops out of his hands onto the floor, rather than into the net. The nicest thing you could say the Moldova keeper tonight that he's looked a little 'off'.
STAT ATTACK (via @OptaJoe): 23 - Under Roy Hodgson, Steven Gerrard has created more chances for England than any other player (Rooney 19, Lampard 17). Captain.
Chance for Barkley! Gerrard finds him through the middle with a lovely ball through, and the youngster shimmies before lashing a low shot a yard wide of Namasco's right-hand post from 25 yards. That would've been a dream debut.
The pace has slowed a little now, and Lambert's withdrawal for Milner suggests Hodgson is comfortable with this scoreline.
Hodgson has replaced Lambert with James Milner, presumably with one eye on the Ukraine game. England will need all the attackers they can muster for that trip, so it's a wise choice.
Lambert looks to set up Welbeck again here with a nice pass through the defence, but the United striker's shot is blocked for a corner. Namasco stays true to himself by coming for a punch and making a hash of it, but England can't put the ball in the net.
Barkley is getting himself about here, but is like an eager puppy as the referee blows up for the Evertonian tugging at a Moldova shirt.
Dedov tries one from distance, but it's well, well wide of the target. And I mean well wide. That won't stop the Moldovan fans from enjoying themselves tonight though, as they're dancing in the stands.
Sidorenco is flagged offside but chases the ball, and a sliding Gary Cahill wins the ball and causes the forward to fall flat on his face. It's been that type of night...
Moldova finally have the chance to apply a little pressure with a free kick on the halfway line here - but no, they pass the ball, turn around, punt it and lose it. Come on guys, put it in the box!
Baines puts over a hopeless long pass for Welbeck - but nothing is hopeless when Namasco is in goal, as he refuses to come for the ball and his defender is forced into a rushed clearance with the sprinting striker bearing down on goal.
STAT ATTACK (via @OptaJoe): 13 - No-one has attempted more shots (inc. blocked) than Everton's Ross Barkley so far this season in the Premier League. Eager.
Barkley comes on for Wilshere and has his first touch for the Three Lions - can he replicate his fine club form tonight?
Ross Barkley is about to come on for his England debut - what a night for the Toffees youngster.
STAT ATTACK (via @OptaJoe): 6 - Danny Welbeck has scored six goals in his last seven appearances for England. Finish.
It's a shame that Welbeck is suspended for the Ukraine game, as his link-up play with Lambert tonight has been superb The pair are a real prospect together, and the Southampton striker looks as if he's been playing for England for his whole career.
It is 4-0, but Hodgson will be watching his defence with intent tonight. Walker has been impressive on the attack, but definitely has a lot to learn at the back - Ukraine will be an altogther different proposition with some good wingers.
Namasco does much better this time, getting up strong hands to deflect Baines' powerful left-footed drive from 15 yards out on the left. A decent stop to prevent a quick fifth.
WELBECK MAKES IT FOUR!!! What a lovely goal that is - and Lambert has another assist. The Southampton striker receives the ball on the left and drifts infield before laying Welbeck through with a superb slide-rule pass, and the United striker deftly dinks a tiny chips over the onrushing keeper. A very cute finish, that.
Lampard breaks forward here and looks to play a through-ball to Walcott, but it's behind the forward and the move breaks down. The Chelsea midfielder was chopped down as he passed it, and looks in a little pain.
Armas makes a great block on Walcott in the box to deny the Arsenal man a shot on goal now - he'll be so important against Ukraine given Welbeck's absence.
STAT ATTACK (@OptaJoe): 18 - Steven Gerrard's opening goal ended a run of 18 appearances for the captain without scoring for England. Leader.
We're off again and Walker is already flying down the right, but can't find a team mate with a low cross.
Gary Neville certainly let the referee know what he thought, shouting at him as the officials walked down the tunnel. We're almost to go meanwhile, and Leighton Baines has replaced Cole - presumably so that the Chelsea left-back doesn't get a needless yellow to rule him out as well.
Looking back on that Welbeck yellow, it really was a shocking decision from Ivan Kruzliak - barely a second passed between his whistle and Welbeck's shot, and after being incorrectly booked for diving against Montenegro, the United forward will feel hard done by.
Ukraine will certainly be full of confidence for England's visit next week - they've just beaten San Marino 9-0! Hodgson will be hoping for at least a couple more now...
STAT ATTACK (via @OptaJoe): 7 - Danny Welbeck has scored with seven of his eight shots on target for England. Sharp.
Despite that yellow card leaving a sour taste, it's been a near-perfect half for England. Hart has had nothing to do, while Lambert has a goal and an assist on his full international debut. The only thing that could top that would be Everton youngster Ross Barkley coming off the bench to net a goal, eh?
And that's half-time! England have the game won, but Hodgson was furious on the touchline with that booking for Welbeck. It seemed harsh as he shots just moments after the whistle blew. It certainly was a strange decision by the official considering he's let a few clumsy/nasty challenges by Moldova players go unpunished - but that's international football for you.
45' + 1'
45' + 1'
WELBECK SCORES!!! That's game over as the Manchester United striker nips in ahead of a befuddled Namasco to steal a long ball from Lambert, and controls it well before prodding it into an empty net. He looks angry about that yellow card though...
45' + 1'
Yellow CardDanny Welbeck
Welbeck breaks through on the left now - but he's flagged offside before curling just over. It's marginal, but probably the correct call...and he's been booked for shooting - that's Welbeck out of the Ukraine game!
A minute until half-time and England have not looked this safe in a long, long time. You can practically hear the conversations in the crowd, it's got the intensity of a cricket test match at the moment.
Gerrard whips in a high cross from the left wing, and Namasco again looks unconvincing by electing to punch rather than catch. England will want to exploit him in the second half with a few more dangerous crosses, as it's a bit too comfortable at the moment.
Welbeck shows some silky skills on the left here but runs the ball out before he puts the cross in - he's started the season well but will have to really put himself about tonight with such defensively-minded opponents to make himself an automatic pick for next week.
It's disappointing from the Chelsea man given his goal against Hull on the opening day of the Premier League as the wall blocks well.
Wilshere wins a free kick from 30 yards out after he is caught again, this time by Onica. This is Gerrard/Lampard territory...
Moldova are sitting back a little more here, presumably to keep the score down before half-time. They'll have to show a little more courage getting forward though, otherwise England will simply pick them apart as the game wears on.
STAT ATTACK (via @OptaJoe) 12 - England have won all three previous meetings with Moldova scoring 12 goals; winning in chronological order, 3-0, 4-0 and 5-0. Six?
Antoniuc shoots for Moldova from range - but it's well wide. Hart may currently be struggling, but that will never beat him. Wilshere is limping here after being caught high by a clumsy kick by Bulgaru, but he looks ok for now.
Welbeck and Cole are really linking well on the left with a series of flicks and passes, and the Manchester United forward breaks in before curling a shot well over.
Ion Caras said he knew this was coming before the game, but he'll be hoping that the scoreline doesnt become embarrassing for his side. Hodgson's men really look in the right frame of mind tonight, and will want to impress before the crucial Ukraine game next week.
Party time for Walcott here as the ball sits up off of his foot, and he tries to smash a swerving volley across goal into the top-right corner from 25 yards. it's well over, but shows how confident he feels tonight.
Yellow CardVictor Golovatenco
LAMBERT SCORES!!! It's two in two games for the Southampton striker but Namasco wont want to see that one again - Moldova fail to clear their lines after his last flap and Walcott fizzes in a shot from the right that the keeper can only parry across his goal for Lambert to nod in from a yard out. Game over already?
Namasco saves from Lampard! It's an odd one from the Moldova keeper as he punches the ball away and it's pinball in the box...
With Montenegro currently drawing in Poland, England would go top of the group on goal difference if the scores stayed the same tonight. Ukraine meanwhile are showing no signs of nerves against San Marino - they're 6-0 with 30 minutes to play.
Walker gets himself into a spot of bother at right-back by air-kicking the ball, but Gerrard comes in to sweep up the problem like a mother hen with an unruly chick. A top, top player.
England have yet another corner and Lampard gets to it - but he can't direct his header towards goal. Looked a sore one, that.
Artur Ionita's night ends prematurely as the attacker has to limp off to be replaced by Alexandru Onica.
Walcott's got the ball in the net - but he's been correctly flagged offside. How long before a legitimate second, though? Not far before the looks of it.
The opponents may not be world-beaters, but it was a truly fantastic strike from Gerrard to open the scoring. Rather than leather the ball, he controlled it expertly into the corner with a little outside swing taking it away from the keeper's hand. It was almost like a golfer's putt into the corner - albeit very, very fast.
England are on the attack again here as Lampard wins a corner, and the ball falls back to Gerrard on the right wing who...puts in perhaps the worst cross he will ever hit, high and wide across the other side of the pitch. The fans will forgive him for that though after that strike!
GERRARD SCORES!!! What a strike that is by the England captain to put the hosts 1-0 up. Cole and Welbeck combined well on the left to feed Lampard - he looks like he wants to shoot, but lays the ball off to an onrushing Gerrard, who perfectly steers a 25-yard shot into the bottom right-hand corner of Namasco's net.
England are pressing forward in huge numbers and Moldova steal the bal and break here, but don't have the quality to create a chance. It looks like a calculated gamble by Hodgson - the home fans will hope he's right about that one.
England were a little lazy in possession just before Lambert's volley, and Moldova looked momentarily dangerous in Joe Hart's penalty area. They'll have to be wary of Eugen Sidorenco, who has scored three goals in his last three internationals.
Ooh, what a ball by Kyle Walker! The right-back bombs down the outside and is fed by Walcott before curling in a delicious curling cross that evades every attacker and defender on the six-yard line. More of the same, Kyle...
Lambert volleys wide! That's two chances in two minutes as Ashley Cole's cross from the right is deflected and falls kindly for the 31-year-old, but he can only smash his half-volley wide of Namasco's left-hand post from 12 yards.
Chance for Lambert! It's a good corner by Gerrard from the right, and the striker gets his head on the ball - but he's on the stretch and nods it over.
Walcott bursts forward and feeds Lambert, who holds the ball up and spins before playing a wayward ball over the top. Waqlcott's pace unnerves the Moldovan defender though, who gives away a corner...
And we're underway! Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck will be stretching the away defence out wide, but both can cut in to devastating effect - how long before they cut inside and trouble goalkeeper Namasco?
It's a big night for the Moldovan defender Alexandur Epureanu - the Anzhi Makhachkala player will have to shoulder a lot of the responsibility for his less experienced team mates.
The England midfield looks particularly strong; captain Steven Gerrard lines up alongside Frank Lampard and Jack Wilshere, and all three will be thinking they can add to their goal tallies tonight.
The teams are out and the national anthems are being played - the Moldovans look like they're ready for the task ahead. And what a task it should be...
Hodgson on Rickie Lambert: On Rickie Lambert:"He's a very good target player, he holds the ball up well and we want him to reproduce his Southampton form in an England shirt. He's got the mental strength to do it."
Roy Hodgson spoke to ITV Sports just now - he's what he had to say about the injuries: "I'm happy with the team - we haven't been extremely fortunate but these things happen, and when you're an international team you should have enough players to cope with that."
Moldova boss Ion Caras has recently come out to say his side have no chance of causing an upset tonight, but the absence of Rooney and the in-form Sturridge will surely fill his team with more confidence tonight.
As expected, the Three Lions are huge favourites tonight - and with Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge out injured, it's a massive chance for Rickie Lambert to stake his claim for more games in an England shirt. He's late to the party at 31 years of age, but will be looking to build on that dream debut against Scotland in his first international start tonight.
Moldova XI: Namasco; Epureanu, Golovatenco, Bulgaru, Bordian; Armas, Ionita, Antoniuc, Sidorenco, Gheorghiev; Dedov.
England subs: Ruddy, Smalling, Baines, Carrick, Cleverley, Milner, Barkley, Defoe, Young, Sterling, Townsend, Forster.
England XI: Hart; Walker, Jagielka, Cahill, Cole; Gerrard, Lampard, Wilshere; Welbeck, Walcott, Lambert.
Good evening and welcome to the LIVE commentary of England v Moldova at Wembley. I'm Tom J Doyle, and I'll be guiding you through all the action tonight as Roy Hodgson's men look to secure a convincing 2014 World Cup win before a tricky trip to Ukraine next week with Group H still firmly in the balance.
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