Injuries pile-up after England victory

28 March 2009 07:30
Wayne Rooney grabbed a brace as England strolled to a 4-0 friendly victory over Slovakia at Wembley - but the win came at a heavy cost. On a night when David Beckham broke Bobby Moore's record for outfield caps, the hosts strolled past a poor Slovakian side thanks to Emile Heskey's early strike and a second-half double from the Manchester United striker, which came either side of Frank Lampard's 15th international goal. However, with Heskey (hamstring), Carlton Cole (groin) and Peter Crouch (hip) all limping off, Fabio Capello could be desperately short of attacking options ahead of Wednesday night's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine. The hosts started quickly and were cutting through the Slovakian defence at will. So it was no surprise when Heskey opened the scoring in the seventh minute. Steven Gerrard and Rooney combined brilliantly down the left and the Liverpool talisman's cross was bundled home by Heskey, who did superbly to get across Martin Skrtel at the near post. The strike was Heskey's first at Wembley for England, and the Villa front man wasted a glorious opportunity to double his and his country's tally on the quarter-hour mark when he headed Gerrard's cross over the bar from less than two yards out. The miss was Heskey's final contribution as a hamstring injury saw him replaced by Carlton Cole. Worringly for England - and even more so West Ham - Cole lasted only 17 minutes before he was withdrawn with a serious-looking groin problem. Frank Lampard saw his low volley parried by Steffan Senecky before the visitors caught their first glimpse of goal, with Miroslav Karhan's side-footed effort from the edge of the box having to be turned round the post by David James.James also had to flick Robert Vittek's drive over the crossbar following sloppy play by Matthew Upson while Senecky was kept busy at the opposite end, with the Slovakian keeper parrying efforts from Aaron Lennon and Gerrard before the break. Beckham was introduced at half time for his landmark 109th appearance, replacing Lennon, while Ben Foster and Stewart Downing also came off the bench with Gerrard and James being given a rest by Capello.The AC Milan midfielder's set-piece on the hour saw John Terry stab home Peter Crouch's goal-bound header but the effort was ruled out with the England skipper correctly adjudged to have finished from an offside position. Midway through the second half however, Beckham did lay on England's second.The 33-year-old collected the ball on the right hand side, and his floated cross picked out Rooney, who nodded home from eight yards.Crouch's exit after clashing with Skrtel was followed by England's third of the evening with nine minutes remaining, when Lampard burst into the box before dispatching a low shot across Senecky into the far corner. Rooney flicked home England's fourth in the second minute of added time but Capello's joy at the victory will surely be tempered by the attacking injury problems his side now face ahead of the midweek meeting with Ukraine.

Source: Eurosport