WAYNE Rooney hit the goal trail once more as England took a significant stride towards Euro 2012 with an impressive 3-0 hammering of Bulgaria in Sofia.
A decade after that memorable 5-1 win over Germany in Munich, Fabio Capello’s men could not quite come up with a repeat performance.
Nevertheless, their hosts had no answer to a three-goal first-half salvo that means four points from their final two games will book England a ticket to next summer’s Finals in Poland and Ukraine.
And Rooney will approach Tuesday’s Wembley meeting with Wales in fine fettle, grabbing a brace after Gary Cahill, formerly of Sheffield United, hit a well-taken opener to end a barren run that had brought him just one goal in his previous 15 appearances prior to kick-off. After digesting the news that he was being omitted from a competitive England starting line-up for the first time since he spent all but 10 minutes of a sickening defeat in Russia on the bench nearly four years ago, by half-time Frank Lampard must have been wondering if he would ever play for his country again.
Captain John Terry said: “It was a really good night.
“We were hoping for a good start and certainly got that.
“They came at us in the first five or 10 minutes and tried to press us.
“We spoke of trying to soak it up and it was always going to be difficult in the first 15 to 20 minutes.
“We soaked it up well and after that we played some really good football.
“Some of the football we played was the best for a long time. We’re very pleased with that.”
n The Football Association last night complained to UEFA after racist abuse appeared to be directed towards Ashley Young by Bulgaria supporters during England’s Euro 2012 qualifying match in Sofia.
The FA reported the behaviour of a section of home supporters to the UEFA match delegate.
Terry had not heard the abuse during the game and said it was an issue for the FA and UEFA to deal with.
But after England’s 3-0 win, Terry said it was a shock to learn of it.
He said: “You don’t expect that at all.
“It was a great spectacle for everyone to watch this evening. Let’s not let that spoil it.”