Becks record as England cruise

28 March 2009 07:09
David Beckham became England's most-capped outfield player as Fabio Capello's side strolled to a 4-0 friendly victory against a poor Slovakia side. Beckham came on as a half-time substitute at Wembley to win his 109th cap and break Bobby Moore's record. England completely dominated the game and should have won by a wider margin, but had to settle for goals by Emile Heskey, Wayne Rooney (2) and Frank Lampard as they stepped up their preparations for Wednesday's important World Cup qualifier against Ukraine. Aston Villa striker Heskey scored after eight minutes but soon had to be substituted after appearing to aggravate an Achilles problem. His replacement Carlton Cole then went off with a groin injury and Peter Crouch also limped out of the action in the closing stages. Rio Ferdinand missed the match with a groin problem and was replaced in the starting line-up by Matthew Upson. An ankle injury also sidelined Shaun Wright-Phillips so Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon started on the right. Gareth Barry and Lampard were paired in midfield with Steven Gerrard given a role on the left while Rooney started just behind Heskey. England took control of the game from the first whistle, with Gerrard setting up England's first goal. The Liverpool midfielder was found by Rooney before pulling a left-footed pass back to Heskey who edged ahead of Martin Skrtel and forced the ball home. Heskey almost immediately made it 2-0 when he somehow headed Rooney's cross over the bar when it seemed easier to score. Heskey was replaced in the 15th minute by Carlton Cole but, when Slovakia finally settled, Stanislav Sestak fired a 20-yard volley over the bar. Lampard's half-volley was pushed away by Slovakia keeper Stefan Senecky but, just after the half-hour mark, David James was forced to make a fine save to keep Miroslav Karhan's 20-yard effort out. Carlton Cole shot tamely towards goal after being set up by Gerrard but appeared to sustain a groin injury in the process and had to be replaced by Crouch. Lennon had his angled shot blocked by the keeper at the near post before Gerrard saw his follow-up header pushed away. James touched an effort from Slovakia captain Robert Vittek over the bar after Upson had dithered while, at the other end, Gerrard's low drive was held by Senecky. The pattern of play continued in the same vein after the break and, just after the hour mark, John Terry had the ball in the net but was rightly adjudged to be offside. The Chelsea defender then fired wide after a goalmouth scramble. With 20 minutes left, Beckham lifted in a cross from the byline for Rooney to head home before Lampard fired a shot into the net from a tight angle to put the seal on a comfortable victory for Capello's side. With virtually the last kick of the game Rooney added a fourth to complete the rout.

Source: ESA