The European Championship qualifying campaign got under way today, and England made a great start. They were without John Terry and Frank Lampard, both of whom are nursing injuries, and of course Rio Ferdinand, who has been injured since England's first training session at the World Cup Finals in South Africa. The England players were wearing the new England shirt which will go on sale next month. After problems with the Wembley turf in recent matches, the pitch was in good condition today.
The home side got off to an encouraging start in the third minute when Wayne Rooney, with good vision, sent the ball to Ashley Cole. Chelsea's defender knocked the ball on to Jermaine Defoe who beat a Bulgarian defender, and put the ball into the oppositions net.
Moving swiftly into the second half, and in the 53rd minute Michael Dawson suffered what looked like a nasty leg injury and needed to be stretchered off the field. Gary Cahill made his debut, replacing Dawson in the 56th minute.
In the 61st minute, Joe Hart made a good save. Immediately, England went on the counter attack and Rooney released Defoe, who slid the ball through Mihaylov's legs for his second goal of the night. Great football from England. Two minutes later Popov was shown the yellow card for a challenge on James Milner. From the resulting free-kick, Gerrard sent the ball goalwards, but it went wide of Bulgaria's goal, with Gary Cahill just failing to make contact with the ball to turn it into the net.
Joe Hart made another good save in the 65th minute, this time from Rangelov. The rebound went to Bulgaria's captain, Stiliyan Petrov, however his long range shot hit Cahill and the ball went out for a corner.
With seven minutes of play remaining, Adam Johnson scored his first international goal. There was some good football when Milner sent the ball up to Defoe, and Rooney laid the ball off to Adam Johnson. Johnson took his chance well and with his left foot struck the ball from the edge of the area. The ball went through the legs of a defender and Mihaylov was not able to stop the shot which went into the right of the goal. England were looking comfortable.
England were not done in the goal department, and in the 86th minute Defoe scored his third goal of the night - his first hat-trick for England. Rooney sprinted up the pitch from England's half, and with a lovely pass through to Defoe, the Spur's forward made no mistake in putting the ball in the net to secure England's victory. It was a great display from Defoe and Wayne Rooney, the latter of whom had a hand in all of England's goals tonight. Unfortunately in sealing England's win, Defoe picked up an injury and was replaced by Ashley Young.
With three points in the bag, England find themselves leading their qualification group after the first game and now move on to an encounter with Switzerland in Basel on Tuesday. It should be noted that today's, Friday fixture, and Tuesday's game are unusual days for England matches to be played (usually these are days the under-21 team plays). England have now a record 11 straight wins at Wembley.
Hart #1, Johnson #2, Dawson #5 (Cahill 56 mins - #14), A Cole #3, Jagielka #6, Walcott #7 (A Johnson 74 mins - #16), Gerrard #4, Barry #8, Milner #11, Defoe #9 (A Young 87 mins - #17), Rooney #10.
Subs Not Used: Foster #12, Gibbs #13, Carrick #15, Bent #18. (Full Squad)
Mihaylov #13, Manolev #2 (Minev 66 mins - #5), I Stoyanov #3, Ivanov #15, Milanov #16, Yankov #8, Angelov #6, S Petrov #19 - Captain, M Petrov #17, Bojinov #10 (Rangelov 63 mins - #11), Popov #7 (Peev 79 mins - #12).
Subs Not Used: V Stoyanov #1, Genchev #20, Kamburov #9, Domovchiyski #14.
England Goals: Defoe (3, 61 & 86 mins), A Johnson (83 mins)
England Caution: Milner (90 mins)
Bulgaria Caution: Popov (63 mins)
Referee: Viktor Kassai (Hungary)