Peter Crouch, who once seemed an unlikely starter for England, seems now to have a firm place in the team, and why not, having scored 11 goals in 14 appearances after this game. After crushing their last two oppenents, England had a tougher time against Macedonia. The first half didn't produce any goals although it wasn't through a lack of trying from both sides, and Macedonia were a lively side. Phil Neville's long throws into Macedonia's area almost came to fruition in the 24th minute when a thrown was met by Crouch's head but Nikoloski tipped the ball over the net. Then another long throw from Neville went to Defoe whose overhead kick went wide. With six minutes remaining in the first half another Neville long throw was received by Crouch who played the ball on to Crouch and then on to Defoe. The Spurs player volleyed the ball over the net from short range.
Meanwhile, Macedonia were not sitting back admiring England's play. They looked bright and were it not for John Terry in the 41st minute blocking Sumukiloski's shot, Macedonia could have taken the lead.
In the dying moments of the first half, Lampard had a shot on target which produced a nice save from Macedonia's goalkeeper.
England made a good start in the second half when Crouch put them ahead. Lampard got the ball to Crouch who on the volley put the ball in Macedonia's net. The ball bounced over the goal line before bouncing back out. The goal was given.
With almost an hour gone, Crouch nearly added a second goal but his shot went agonisingly wide. Tension built for England with six minutes left on the clock but Cole was there again to clear off the line and save the points.
England are sitting pretty at the top of Group E and with three games under his belt, McClaren is undefeated.
Nikoloski #1, Lazarevski #11, Mitreski #5, Noveski #2, Petrov #3, Sedloski #4, Jancevski #17 (Tasevski 52 mins - #18), Sumulikoski #8, Maznov #9 (Stojkov 56 mins - #20), Naumoski #11 (Sakiri 74 mins - #10), Pandev #19.
Subs Not Used: Pacovski #12, Vasovski #15, Grozdanovski #7, Mitrevski #6.
Robinson #1, A Cole #3, Ferdinand #5, P Neville #2, Terry #6, Downing #11, Gerrard #4, Hargreaves #7, Lampard #8 (Carrick 84 mins - #15), Crouch #9 (Lennon 76 mins - #16), Defoe #10 (Johnson 87 mins - #18).
Subs Not Used: Foster #13, Bridge #12, Brown #14, Bent #17. (Full Squad)
England Goal: Crouch (46 mins)
Macedonia Cautions: Naumoski (2 mins), Lazarevski (38 mins), Pandev (67 mins)
England Cautions: Crouch (60 mins), Gerrard (87 mins), A Cole (89 mins)
Referee: Bertrand Layec (France)