European Qualifiers: Wayne Rooney free-kick helps England edge Estonia 1-0 in Tallinn
Last Updated: 13/10/14 10:08am
Wayne Rooney bends home the winner in Estonia
England needed a late Wayne Rooney free-kick to secure a 1-0 victory over the 10 men of Estonia in Euro 2016 qualifying Group E.
On a frustrating night in Tallinn, the visiting captain endured some moments to forget in front of goal aside from the 73rd minute, when his set-piece bagged Roy Hodgson's side the points and maintained the perfect start to the campaign.
Slovenia's 2-0 victory in Lithuania later in the evening resulted in a three-point cushion for England at the top of Group E.
It was Estonia who crafted the game's first opening - Sergey Zenyov finding himself in a worrying amount of space in the very first minute before dragging wastefully into the side-netting from 12 yards.
England gradually asserted themselves in possession and Rooney passed up two opportunities in the space of two minutes - first volleying over from a sweetly-lofted Jack Wilshere pass and then failing to connect with an inviting Leighton Baines delivery when well placed.
Zenyov was the victim of an ugly follow-through by Cahill in the 18th minute but England were soon back in possession and creating chances - Fabian Delph lashing over from the edge of the area and Danny Welbeck's cross-shot forcing Sergey Pareiko to tip the ball agonisingly out of Adam Lallana's reach.
Rooney headed a Delph cross wide of the mark before the break but the visitors were handed fresh impetus after it when home captain Ragnar Klavan, booked for a crude barge on Welbeck in the first period, hauled down Delph in full flight and was duly dismissed for a second yellow card.
England failed to seize the initiative as Estonia withdrew further into their own half and defended their goal manfully - prompting Hodgson to throw on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Raheem Sterling either side of the hour-mark.
It was the former who should have opened the scoring in the 69th minute when he rose all alone six yards out to meet a pacy cross from Calum Chambers, mis-timing his jump and seeing the ball spin off his back to safety.
Relief arrived in the 73th minute when Sterling was fouled right on the edge of the home box and Rooney, who had launched an earlier set-piece horribly high and wide, whipped the ball home at the near post via the bundling dive of Pareiko.
England showed little inclination to commit men forward in search of a second - instead opting to keep possession, although Rooney should have done better than fire a masterful injury-time pass from Wilshere straight at Pareiko when clean through.
European Championship Qualifying
Sun 12th Oct - Group C
Ukraine1 - 0Macedonia
Belarus1 - 3Slovakia
Luxembourg0 - 4Spain
Sun 12th Oct - Group E
Estonia0 - 1England
Lithuania0 - 2Slovenia
Sun 12th Oct - Group G
Austria1 - 0Montenegro
Russia1 - 1Moldova
Sweden2 - 0Liechtenstein
European Championship Qualifying Group A
European Championship Qualifying Group B
|5||Bosnia and Herzegovina||5||5|
European Championship Qualifying Group C
European Championship Qualifying Group D
|4||Republic of Ireland||5||8|
European Championship Qualifying Group E
European Championship Qualifying Group F
European Championship Qualifying Group G
European Championship Qualifying Group H
European Championship Qualifying Group I
Estonia v England
Trevor Francis believes Raheem Sterling did not request not to play for England against Estonia.
Ryan Giggs admits it can be tough playing top-flight football as a teenager after the news that Raheem Sterling asked to be withdrawn from the England side to face Estonia.
Highlights of England against Estonia in the European Qualifiers.
- Reason to believe
- Smith: Wilshere thriving
- Sterling hits back at critics
- Carragher: Keep it private
- Hodgson: Sterling 'too tired'
- 'Job done' says Cahill
- Hodgson: We created enough
- England: Rate the players
- Rooney hails England attitude
- England's new 'running back'
- Rooney targets England records
- Wilshere: Welbeck is key man
- Hodgson: Let's go unbeaten
- Hodgson: I'll manage Sterling
- Redknapp's England XI for Estonia
- Hodgson: Estonia tougher test