England went with a five-man midfield in this encounter in Cardiff as they tried to break down Wales as they did back in October at Old Trafford. The formation worked as England dominated
the game and took the three points, increasingly setting up a fight for first place in UEFA World Cup Qualifying Group 6 when the Three Lions take on Poland (currently in first place, England
are in second place) in the last game of this qualifying round. After today's results it looks as though first place in this group is going to go down to the wire.
Danny Coyne prevented England taking the lead after 20 minutes played in the first half, when he blocked a shot by Rooney, after the Manchester United forward and Gerrard had linked up with
some good football. While England were controlling the game, Hartson was causing problems for the visitor's defence. Ashley Cole headed away one of Harton's chances as the Welsh player tried
to meet a cross from Ryan Giggs. Then Robinson made a fantastic save with Hartson going again to meet another Giggs cross. The Spurs player dived to his left and averted danger for his team.
On the stroke of half-time Joe Cole had a great opportunity to put England in the lead, but his header from six yards went wide of the target.
Joe Cole quickly made amends for his miss late in the first half when he got the goal England deserved and needed. Captain, Beckham, who was enjoying freedom in a role where he played just in
front of his defence - and was having a great game, played the ball to Wright-Phillips who crossed to Joe Cole, and while the ball took a deflection from Gabbidon, Chelsea player Cole was
accredited with the goal. Rooney could have given England a two goal advantage only Danny Coyne was able to tip the ball away from his net.
Wales did exert pressure on England's defence in the dying minutes of the game but it was too late as the home side were unable to break Eriksson's back line. England now have a trip to
Northern Ireland on Wednesday as they try to take another three points on the road.
Coyne #1, Duffy #2, Page #5 (Collins 65 mins - #12), Gabbidon #4, Ricketts #3, Partridge #6, Fletcher #7, Robinson #8 (Koumas 54 mins - #17), Davis #10 (Earnshaw 70 mins - #18), Giggs #11, Hartson #9.
Subs Not Used: Jones #21, Edwards #14, Roberts #15, Ledley #16.
Robinson #1, Young #2, A Cole #3, Gerrard #4 (Richardson 85 mins - #16), Ferdinand #5, Carragher #6, Beckham #7, Lampard #8, Rooney #9, Wright-Phillips #10 (Defoe 68 mins - #17), J Cole #11 (Hargreaves 76 mins - #15).
Subs Not Used: Kirkland #13, Upson #12, P Neville #14, Bent #18. (Full Squad)
England Goal: J Cole (53 mins)
Wales Caution: Hartson (39 mins)
Referee: Valentin Ivanov (Russia)