England wrapped up their World Cup qualifying campaign with victory against Belarus at Wembley. Having lost Wayne Rooney to a calf injury after Saturday's game in the Ukraine, Fabio Capello paired Peter Crouch and Gabriel Agbonlahor up front. The England manager also made several other changes to his team from last weekend's game as he tries to figure out his World Cup squad.
With a mere two minutes on the clock, Frank Lampard took a free-kick which Shaun Wright-Phillips met, and his shot went just wide of Belarus' goal.
It only took England a further two minutes to get on the scoresheet when Gareth Barry sent the ball down the left to Agbonlahor, who was making his first appearance in the starting line-up for England. Agbonlahor spotted Peter Crouch making a good run in the middle, and the Spurs forward slid to get a touch on the ball before Sosnovskiy could get to it.
England's second goal of the night came one minute after David Beckham replaced Aaron Lennon, and it was the LA Galaxy midfielder who assisted England in extending their lead. Beckham had the vision to take a short corner, the ball going to Wright-Phillips who curled the ball into the net from the edge of the area.
The last fifteen minutes of the match saw a good exchange between Lampard and Wright-Phillips, with Lampard crossing the ball which was met by Zhevnov. Had it not been for their goalkeeper, the visitors would have been in trouble as Carlton Cole was in a good position to score. Still, it only took England another minute to add a third goal when Carlton Cole's shot was saved by Zhevnov but Crouch was able to pick up the rebound and get his second goal of the night.
England newcomer, James Milner, was unlucky in the final few minutes of the match when his shot hit the inside of the right post, and then Beckham, a moment later, had a shot but his effort hit the outside of the left post and went out of play. Both chances were agonisingly close.
So, England end their World Cup qualifying campaign in style and can reflect on a job well done in heading the top of their qualifying group, dropping only three points. Next up is a trip to Qatar where England will take on the mighty Brazilians in a friendly. There will be several friendlies lined up between now and the start of the World Cup, with Capello contemplating his squad and getting his players ready for some tough World Cup games next summer. The World Cup Final draw takes place on 4 December and will be eagerly anticipated as we ponder who will be in England's group.
Foster #1, Ferdinand #5, Bridge #3 (Milner 78 mins - #15), Terry #6 - Captain, Johnson #2, Wright-Phillips #11, Barry #4, Lampard #8, Lennon #7 (Beckham 58 mins - #17), Crouch #9, Agbonlahor #10 (C Cole 66 mins - #18).
Subs Not Used: Hart #12, Upson #13, A Cole #14, Carrick #16. (Full Squad)
Zhevnov #12, Shitov #16, Verkhovtsov #18, Sosnovskiy #17, Yurevich #5, Kulchy #2, Omelyanchuk #7, Kalachev #4, Kutuzov #13 (Rodionov 46 mins - #15), Bordachev #14 (Kashevsky 84 mins - #3), Kornilenko #8 (Kovel 77 mins - #9).
Subs Not Used: Amelchenko #1, Lantsevich #6, Krivets #11, Rudik #10.
England Goals: Crouch (4 & 76 mins), Wright-Phillips (59 mins)
Belarus Caution: Kornilenko (54 mins)
Referee: Lucilio Cardoso Cortez Batista (Portugal)