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  • Date:02 Sep 2011
  • Kick-off:19:15
  • Venue:Sofia - Vasil Levski Stadium
  • Cahill (13) Rooney (21)
    Rooney (46)

Live Commentary


So England as I see it do a job if in a professional manner in Sofia and if Wales hold on will top the group by points going into the Wales match on Tuesday. We would love to hear your thoughts on the forums of and as always. Have a good evening.


Thats it in Sofia! Bulgaria Boo there own team as the ref blows his wistle for full-time. Bulgaria 0-3 England


Two minutes of normal time added as smoke fills the stadium from flares in the stands.


three minutes left for Rooney to get his first international hat-trick


Here comes another change. Adam Johnson replaces Walcott. The Arsenal forward is likely to be a little frustrated. He struggled to get into the game and was then a little wasteful.


Lampard comes on for Barry. The City man did his job and set up Cahill's goal.


Activity now on the England subs bench as England look to park the bus.


Poor finish by Walcott really after being released by Rooney, Walcott punts wayward. Not sure you can blame it on the poor pitch.


Free-kick to England wide on the right. Downing whips in the cross. The ball is just a bit short from Downing and the Bulgarian defenders can head clear.


Barry's cross is in the direction of Rooney. Rooney gets his head on the ball which is just too high and he heads over the bar from six yards.


Bulgaria are chasing shadows in midfield at the moment with the slick and sharp interchange from Parker and Rooney.


Parker is doing a brilliant job in the holding midfield role.


Walcott creates a bit of room inside the Bulgaria box after a pass from the excellent Young. Sarmov is makes a last ditch tackle. Sense of job done from England


England break and Downing at the back post has acres to line up a header. Theo Walcott breaks forward and his deep cross is met by Stewart Downing who sees his looping header graze the post with the keeper beaten.


53 - Fantastic step over from Rooney allows Young room to attack. The winger tries for another low cross, but does not beat the first man this time. Brilliant from Rooney. He is enjoying himself.


Goal!! Rooney gets his second in a fantastic counter-attack!


Lovely pass from Walcott around a corner to Young on the right. From inside the Bulgaria box, Young goes for the accurate low, pass across the face of goal and finds an unmarked Rooney at the back post who taps it in. Must surley be the end for Bulgaria.




Crowd are singing 'God Save the Queen' as second half kicks-off


Bulgaria have brought on Sarmov for Bandalovski.


Walcott caught offside just a minute of added time.


England looking professional and probably happy to control the game and go into half-time with the two goal advantage.


Wales 0-0 Montenegro currently


Petrov hits an optimistic 35 yard shot but Hart has it covered


Scott Parker becomes the first player to be booked by Belgian referee Frank De Bleeckere. He went in with his studs showing, although he did get the ball he can't have compaints.


England pressing well and pushing Bulgaria back


Parker may have looked a little sloppy with the ball, but he is doing brilliantly to break up the play. Bulgaria now looking like they are lacking confidence however.


Rooney Scores! Thundered in - Bulgaria 0-2 England!


Poor defending from Bulgaria. Downing's corner is perfect and, from the edge of the six-yard box, Rooney climbs above a stationary defence to head into Mihaylov's top right-hand corner. Crowd are somewhat quieter now.


Goal!!! Bulgaria 0-1 England


Cahill scores from a corner! Messy but effective. England should start to settle now.


Superb, chipped left-footed pass from Barry just outside the area allows Cahill to control on his chest. It looks like his first touch may have let him down, but he shows strength, speed and bravery to beat the goalkeeper to the ball and poke a bobbling effort into the back of the net. What a moment for Cahill!


Downing strays offside on the edge of the Bulgaria box. England have not really clicked yet. But it is very early stages. They could do with keeping possession for a few passes in midfield.


Downing does well to slide and prevent the ball from crossing the left touchline, but he cannot retain possession.


Not much movement from England at the moment. Bulgaria are very tight on England.


A few shouts for a Bulgaria penalty as that man Georgiev bursts into the box under pressure from Parker. There is nothing in it, he went down very easily.


Stuart Downing's first attempt to run down the left ends abruptly. Bulgaria have started brightly however


We are under way

Fabio Capello is debating whether to plunge his England rookies into the white-hot heat of a Euro 2012 qualification battle in Sofia on Friday. Having brought three members of Manchester United's youthful band of Premier League leaders with him to Bulgaria, Capello must now decide which he will use.

Hello, just under an hour to go before kick off in Sofia of what must be a must win game for England who currently top their group only on goal difference.

England: Hart, Smalling, Cahill, Cole, Terry, Walcott, Parker, Barry, Downing, Young, Rooney. No place for Lampard.

Plenty of chat going on at the and footymad forums as we build up to the game where England must make amends for dropping two points at Wembley against Switzerland. Rooney Hat-Trick anyone?

Capello of course has already stated that he expects a better performance from England playing away, stating that he expects there will be more space. Wales of course, currently rock bottom in Group H kick-off against Montenegro at 7:45 and could do England a big favour if they get anything from that game.

So the big talking points on the footymad and forums is Barry replacing Lampard. Good Idea? Lampard was last excluded from the team in 2007. Smalling playing at RB?

Twenty five minutes to go. Has Capello completely lost the plot or does this represent the start of a new era for England? Get your thoughts up on the forums.

Referee for tonights game is Frank De Bleekere (Belgium)

On the subs bench for England: Stockdale, Jagielka, Baines, Milner, Lampard, Johnson and Defoe.

Bulgaria: Mihailov, Zanev, Bodurov, Milanov, Bandalovski, Ivanov, Georgiev, Martin Petrov, Stiliyan Petrov, Popov, Genkov.

The two teams walk out through the tunnel. england led by Terry.

Well its a dodgy looking pitch but not the lack of attendance expected

Anthems over. Its down to business. Flares are leaving a mist across the field.

Game now under way at the Cardiff City Stadium

David Vaughan has just picked up a yellow card for Wales and that means he will miss Tuesday's game with England.

Good first half performance from England with two goals from Rooney and one from Cahill. Wales are currently holding Montenegro 27 minutes in. Can Rooney get that Hat-Trick? Your thought as always are welcome on the forums.

Wales have scored! Wales 1-0 Montenegro

Wales score again!! Wales 2-0 Montenegro

Eight minutes to go as England see out the game.

Match Report

England made the perfect start to their European Championship qualification campaign on Friday evening, when a Jerman Defoe hat-trick and an Adam Johnson strike proved enough to see off a stubborn Bulgaria team at Wembley.With a trip to face Switzerland to come on Tuesday, it was important for Fabio Capello’s team to get off to a winning start and a predatory Defoe finish in the early stages settled the nerves before a second half double for the Spurs man and a late salvo from substitute Johnson finished the job.Bulgaria had their chances too, particularly when England only held a single goal lead but in terms of possession, England were always superior.The Three Lions will now head out to Basel on Monday knowing that with three points in the bag and a healthy goal difference to their name, they have an opportunity to try and take an early stranglehold on Group G.They got off to the perfect start and were ahead within three minutes. Wayne Rooney was the architect as he cleverly reversed a chip into the path of the onrushing Ashley Cole in the box. Bulgarian ‘keeper Nikolay Mihaylov was out quickly to half-block his initial effort, but Cole quickly reacted to the loose ball and picked out Defoe in the six yard box and he made no mistake by emphatically smashing home into the roof of the net.There was almost a disaster for England, and Glen Johnson, in particular in the 20th minute when he tried to knock Chavdar Yankov’s pacy centre behind the goal to safety. He mis-judged it though and was just fortunate that Joe Hart was alert enough to make a fine stop on the goal-line to deny what would’ve been a horrific own goal.Bulgaria were gradually finding their way into the game and it took a terrific challenge from Phil Jagielka in the area to tackle Valeri Bojinov, just as he was about to shoot at goal.After the early flurry, the game certainly settled down with few chances of note at either end although with half-time approaching, James Milner saw a shot diverted wide of the target after cutting in from the left.Four minutes after the break, it was Rooney’s turn to try his luck when the Bulgarian defence seemed to part in front of him. With Mihaylov slightly off his line, the Manchester United man tried to chip the ball home but the ‘keeper scampered back in time to tip the ball over the bar.Within moments, Bulgaria themselves had an even better chance when Yankov placed a pass into the path of Ivelin Popov, who had raced into the box from the left. All he had to do was poke the ball past Hart and they were surely level, but his effort went a yard wide of the far post.England were then forced into making a substitution just ten minutes after the re-start, when Michael Dawson appeared to fall awkwardly and twist his knee in the process. It was immediately clear he was in no state to continue and Capello had debutant Gary Cahill ready to replace him within seconds of the incident.If the importance of a goalkeeper needed to be even further illustrated, then that happened on the hour mark. With Bulgaria increasingly in the ascendancy, Martin Petrov broke clear on the left. He pulled a ball back for Stanislav Angelov, but the midfielder’s shot was punched away by Hart on the goal-line. Immediately, England were on the counter attack and when Barry picked out Rooney, he slipped a first time pass to Defoe and the striker was through on goal. With just Mihaylov to beat, he made no mistake and tucked a low left-footer into the far corner. Hart then made another fine save five minutes later, when the ball dropped to substitute Dimitar Rangelov in the area. He had the full goal to aim at, but Hart was out quickly and saved with his chest. It fell outside the area to captain Stiliyan Petrov, but his well struck shot was bravely blocked and diverted over the bar by Cahill. That seemed to take the steam out of Bulgaria and their spirit looked pierced.Skipper Steven Gerrard then tested his former Anfield team-mate Mihaylov with a stinging shot from 25 yards. The ball bounced off Mihaylov and with Defoe lurking, he looked certain to score but the Bulgarian somehow stretched a hand out and turned the ball away from danger at the last moment.With the game in the last ten minutes and Bulgaria clearly tiring and disillusioned, England took advantage. Rooney was again the creator, when he slid a pass to Adam Johnson on the right. The substitute brought the ball inside before arrowing a low left-footer at goal which beat Miyalov courtesy of a slight deflection to register his first goal for England.England weren’t finished there and Defoe had time to complete his treble three minutes later when Rooney was again on hand to send a slide-rule pass into the area for him. The Spurs man was again clinical, firing a shot past Mihaylov and into the far corner but also appeared to pick up some sort of tweak in the process. He was duly replaced by Ashley Young and received a standing ovation for his duty.There will certainly be tougher tests for Capello’s Lions over the coming months, but for an opening match to a new campaign, the camp will undoubtedly be pleased with their night’s work here.Now onto Switzerland…