Just the inclusion again of David Beckham in the England team brings a sense of anticipation and excitement to the game, and the hope that he can turn around England's fortunes in this qualifying campaign and get England through to the finals next summer. If he can do that, he'll keep McClaren in his job. Kind of ironic given that McClaren was the manager who dropped England's former captain at the start of this season.
There were only three players named in the England team for this match who started for England in the last qualifer against Andorra in March - Paul Robinson, Steven Gerrard and John Terry. With England enjoying most of the play in the opening period, it was with dismay that it appeared that Beckham had picked up an injury in only the 16th minute. It was later confirmed that the Real Madrid player had twisted his ankle. Still he managed to play until the 68th minute, and to feature heavily in the game and had a hand in two of England's goals.
In the 37th minute Joe Cole broke the deadlock with a lovely volley, after a flick on from Crouch. It was a relief for England to get the go-ahead goal against a country they had not played before. Once this goal was scored there was a sense there would be more.
After the break there was a spell, about 10 or so minutes in, where Estonia threatened England's defence through Vassiljev. England survived the home side's attempts to get back on level terms and moments later Peter Crouch popped up to extend England's lead. Beckham made a magnificent cross which the Liverpool forward rose high to beat Poom. Estonia had been troubled by Crouch's height during this match.
Estonia, though Terehhov, managed a shot at Robinson in the 56th minute, but Tottenham's 'keeper made an easy stop. Michael Owen sealed the win for the visitors in the 62nd minute, thanks to another fantastic cross from Beckham.
John Terry prevented Estonia from scoring their first goal of the qualification phase when he cleared the ball off the line in injury time. Conceeding a goal so late would have dampened England's spirits a bit, but they did keep a clean sheet. With Croatia and Russia drawing their match, qualification for the finals next year does not seem as bleak for England as it did prior to today. England's next match is at home against Israel in September. Peter Crouch will be sitting that one out due to the yellow card he was given tonight.
Poom #1, Jaager #2, Stephanov #3, Kruglov #5, Klavan #4, Dmitrijev #6, Lindpere #8, Vassiljev #10, Konsa #7 (Neemelo 46 mins - #18), Voskoboinikov #9, Terehhov #11 (Kink 64 mins - #17).
Subs Not Used: Kotenko #12, Barengrub #13, Rooba #14, Leetma #15, Kams #16.
Robinson #1, Brown #2, Terry #6, King #5, Bridge #3, Beckham #7 (Dyer 68 mins - #15), Gerrard #4, Lampard #8, J Cole #11 (Downing 75 mins - #16), Crouch #9, Owen #10 (Jenas 88 mins - #14).
Subs Not Used: Carson #13, Carragher #12, Defoe #18, Smith #17. (Full Squad)
England goals: J Cole (37 mins), Crouch (54 mins), Owen (62 mins)
England Caution: Crouch (81 mins)
Referee: Grzegorz Gilewski (Poland)