England a class apart

Hodgson rightly happy with opening qualifier, says Mullery

Last Updated: 08/09/12 9:50am

Alan Mullery praised England's professionalism after watching Roy Hodgson's side cruise to a 5-0 victory over Moldova in their opening World Cup Group H qualifier.

"It could have been six or seven - but I would say a very professional performance for Roy Hodgson."

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Frank Lampard (two), Jermain Defoe, James Milner and Leighton Baines all found the net in the Zimbru Stadium as England made a strong start to their 2014 campaign. Read our match report here.

Former England captain Mullery told Sky Sports News that the margin of victory could have been greater but said that overall the side put in an impressive display.

"They've gone to a place where the surface is not particularly good," he reflected, "and they've settled in beautifully.

"There was some wonderful play in the first half - pass and move, pass and move. They've created great chances - the goalkeeper's made two or three brilliant saves."


Lampard scored twice in the opening 29 minutes to move above Sir Geoff Hurst into 13th place in England's all-time top scorer's list. Lampard's 25 goals are the most by a midfielder since David Platt ended his career with 27 back in 1996.

"They've scored the first goal in the first three minutes with a penalty - Frank Lampard - and it was a penalty. He knocks it in beautifully," said Mullery.

"The second goal was a really classy pass from Glenn Johnson, into the six yard box, for a header from Frank Lampard. He didn't even have to get off the floor to knock it past the 'keeper.

"Jermain Defoe, who loves scoring goals, got another one today; he loves getting in behind defenders and he put it into the back of the net although the goalkeeper should have done something about it.

"The fourth goal from Milner came from some great play by Walcott; he beat two or three and laid it back to Milner, who smashed it in.

"And Baines - with a lot of luck, to be fair, although he's got a lovely left foot - tries to curl a free-kick from the right-hand side into the top corner; it hits a guy on the shoulder and goes into the over corner where the goalkeeper's got no chance.

"So five-nil - it could have been six or seven - but I would say a very professional performance for Roy Hodgson."

The result puts England top of Group H ahead of Poland and Montenegro who drew 2-2.

Defender John Terry is doubtful for England's next World Cup qualifier, against Ukraine on Tuesday at Wembley, after injuring his ankle. ,b>Read the story here.

Hodgson revealed that the Chelsea stalwart played on even though the manager wanted to replace him.