England ease past Estonia
Wright-Phillips, Rooney and own goal give McClaren's men the points
Last Updated: 13/10/07 6:55pm
Rooney: On target
England cruised to a 3-0 success over Estonia at Wembley, but Steve McClaren's mood will have been tempered somewhat by an ankle injury suffered by Ashley Cole.
Cole fell awkwardly on his ankle shortly after half-time and after receiving treatment pitch side was stretchered off and would appear to be a major doubt for Russia on Wednesday.
England were always comfortable after Shaun Wright-Phillips fired through Mart Poom's legs in the 11th minute.
Wayne Rooney scored his first competitive goal for England since Euro 2004 in the 32nd minute, with the help of a deflection off Raio Piiroja which diverted the ball into the corner.
Taavi Rahn then put through his own goal in extraordinary fashion a minute later as he headed Cole's cross past Poom from the edge of the Estonia area.
England seemed to take the foot off the gas after the break with the three points in the bag and McClaren gave a debut to Everton defender Joleon Lescott who came on for Rio Ferdinand at half-time.
They can now look forward to Wednesday's qualifier in Russia where a win will send them to the Euro 2008 finals in Austria and Switzerland.
England got the early goal they wanted when Wright-Phillips surged between Dmitri Kruglov and Rahn to catch Micah Richards's astute through ball.
Having successfully achieved his aim, the Chelsea winger let fly from an acute angle more in hope than expectation but his shot flew straight between Poom's legs and into the Estonia net.
England will have been desperate to get Rooney's name on the scoresheet, with the young striker still at Everton when he last found the net for his country in a competitive encounter.
Rooney landed one audacious chip on the roof of Poom's net before he eventually broke his duck, turning effortlessly onto Joe Cole's low cross and unleashing a powerful shot that flicked off Piiroja and nestled neatly in the corner.
Within a minute, England had a third, a most bizarre own-goal from Rahn, who stuck out his neck to intercept Ashley Cole's cross and from fully 20 yards beat Poom with firm header.
The comfort of his team's position at half-time will have pleased McClaren but it all seemed too good to be true, and so it proved in the 50th minute as Cole clutched his ankle in agony after getting injured trying to atone for an error of judgement by Lescott.
Cole's injury left many worried faces on the England bench and John Terry, who missed the game with a knee injury, appeared to offer Frank Lampard what seemed to be a bleak assessment about their Chelsea team-mate.
The serious nature of injury seemed to dampen spirits inside Wembley and England were much flatter in the second-half, although they should have added a fourth goal in the closing stages.
Stand-in captain Steven Gerrard and Joe Cole somehow contrived to waste an opportunity when both were clear through on Poom's goal, before Cole flashed a shot wide in stoppage time.
|3||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||3|
|5||Shots off Target||3|