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Early blows help England floor Wales

Wales 0-2 England
The all-British Group G tie was settled inside 15 minutes asa Frank Lampard penalty and a Darren Bent strike sunk Wales.

Frank Lampard celebrates putting England ahead in Cardiff
Frank Lampard celebrates putting England ahead in Cardiff ©Getty Images

The 100th international between England and Wales ended in an easy victory for Fabio Capello's side as they climbed to the top of UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group G with their third win in four games.

The damage for Wales – who have now lost all four of their fixtures – was done in the first 15 minutes as Frank Lampard put away an early penalty before Darren Bent helped himself to a third goal in his last three internationals.

A couple of early skirmishes between Craig Bellamy and Ashley Cole appeared to bear out the theory that this would be a passionate encounter between the neighbours, but England soon doused the Welsh fire. Cole and John Terry advanced and as the ball was played into the Welsh area, James Collins initially slipped and then, trying to recover, ran into his Aston Villa FC team-mate Ashley Young.

Lampard easily dispatched the seventh-minute penalty and England never released their stranglehold on the game. The second goal exposed a gaping hole down Wales' left side as Glen Johnson sent a long pass in behind Danny Collins. Young rolled the ball across and Bent was handily placed to score.

At that stage it seemed England could score any number of goals but, satisfied with their early work, they declined to press home their undoubted superiority. Wayne Rooney, operating mainly down the left, received a booking for a lunge on Joe Ledley that will keep him out of the home game with Switzerland on 4 June.

The second half began with Rooney centimetres away from connecting with a Young cross. Wales raised their game and created a couple of chances, but Joe Hart remained largely unemployed. Andy King, and then Aaron Ramsey, trying hard to make an impression in his first game as Wales captain, fired off target when well placed. Wales kept plugging away to little effect while in the final minutes substitute Stewart Downing came close to making it three.