Qualified England march on with Estonia scalp

England 2-0 Estonia
Goals from Theo Walcott and Raheem Sterling secured a ninth Group E win for Roy Hodgson's team and left Estonia needing a miracle.

Highlights: England 2-0 Estonia
  • Theo Walcott and Raheem Sterling score late in each half
  • Victory is England's ninth in a row in Group E
  • Defeat all but ends Estonia's hopes of snatching third place
  • Final qualifiers: Lithuania v England, Estonia v Switzerland (Monday)

England made it nine wins out of nine in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group E with a 1-0 victory over Estonia at Wembley.

Theo Walcott broke the deadlock seconds before the interval with a close-range finish and Raheem Sterling added a late second to inflict a fifth defeat on the Baltic side and – all but arithmetically – end their outside hopes of reaching the UEFA EURO 2016 play-offs. They are three points behind third-placed Slovenia, who face San Marino in their final fixture on Monday.

England, already assured of their place in France next summer, dominated possession but the promise of an early Walcott shot, which was beaten away by Estonia goalkeeper Mihkel Aksalu, subsided as the well-organised visitors made life awkward for the home team.

Estonia had arrived in London with the group's second best defensive record yet they are also a side short on goals and got no closer to threatening Joe Hart than an effort from full-back Taijo Teniste which deflected away off the first defender.

Theo Walcott praises Ross Barkley
Theo Walcott praises Ross Barkley

Wayne Rooney's injury meant his involvement was limited to a pitchside appearance before kick-off to collect a golden boot to mark his 50 England goals. Instead Harry Kane led the attack but it was Walcott who provided the main first-half menace. Having had a strike deflected behind five minutes before the break, the Arsenal attacker found the net in the 45th minute. England's final pass had been lacking but now Ross Barkley picked out Walcott's run behind the Estonia back line with a lovely pass through the legs of Karol Mets and Walcott tucked the ball past Aksalu from close range.

England might have added to their lead after half-time. Adam Lallana had a free-kick saved by Aksalu before the lively Barkley drove a shot across goal after bursting past two men. The Everton man, making his first Wembley start, came even closer in the 77th minute when his quick feet carried him past two blue shirts and he drew a flying save from Aksalu.

Instead it was Sterling who doubled the advantage, tapping in after being teed up by substitute Jamie Vardy.