Internationals: Cleverley stars
Tom Cleverley sparkled from the outset on his competitive England debut to play a key role in a facile 5-0 mauling of Moldova in the World Cup qualifiers.
The midfielder, wearing No10 and playing in an advanced role, earned a penalty from the first real attack of the game when his shot was handled by Simeon Bulgaru. Frank Lampard converted the spot-kick before heading a second and the match was over as a contest before half-time thanks to Jermain Defoe’s near-post effort.
Michael Carrick came on for Steven Gerrard for the second half and Danny Welbeck was introduced at the expense of Defoe on 68 minutes. After Cleverley had decent attempts in both halves, he was heavily involved with fellow Academy graduate Welbeck in assisting James Milner’s fourth strike. A hugely-deflected Leighton Baines free-kick rounded off a one-sided affair.
Two-goal Lampard, the Chelsea midfielder, told ITV Sport afterwards: “Tom Cleverley’s a pleasure to play alongside. He’s going to be part of the team for years to come.”
Robin van Persie carried on from where he left off last weekend with another goal and another header from a corner. The deadly Dutchman met Wesley Sneijder’s set-piece from the left with a perfectly-guided finish as the Netherlands defeated Turkey 2-0.
Patrice Evra was also on the winning side after playing all 90 minutes of France’s 1-0 triumph in Finland and Nani was outstanding in the first half as Portugal toiled somewhat against Luxembourg but ran out 2-1 victors with Cristiano Ronaldo on the scoresheet.
Joshua King came off the bench to make his debut for Norway in Iceland and went close to scoring – seeing a goal disallowed and also hitting the woodwork. However, Egil Olsen’s side slipped to a 2-0 defeat with ex-Red Magnus Eikrem starting in midfield.
Jonny Evans played in Northern Ireland’s 2-0 defeat to Russia in Moscow with the visitors adopting an approach that was criticised by coach Fabio Capello. The Italian said he was upset with a defensive formation and “long ball” tactics deployed by Michael O’Neill’s side.