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GROUP G EURO QUALIFIER 2012: Rooney brace as England cruise against Bulgaria

Without really extending themselves England scored three goals in the first-half to comfortably dispose of Bulgaria 3-0 and remain top of Group G in this European qualifier. England had the perfect start after just 12 minutes which settled any nerves as Bulgaria failed to pick up Gary Cahill from a corner and as Gareth Barry clipped the ball forward the Bolton defender controlled and fired under the Bulgarian keeper Mihaylov from close range.

If the host's defence looked suspect then it did not cover itself in glory for England's second. Stewart Downing's corner was met unchallenged by Wayne Rooney to head thnumber two.

The game then went into a fallow period as England sat back and Bulgaria pressed without really causing Joe Hart too many problems.

As the half seemed to be drifting to its conclusion England enjoyed a moment of good fortune which led to goal number three.

Scott Parker clearly charged down a shot with his arms but the referee ignored the Bulgarian appeals and ball fell to Theo Walcott who broke quickly.

The ball was fed to Ashley Young who played a low ball across the face of goal for Rooney to stroke into an empty net.

With the game as good as over the second period was played at England's pace as the home side, after an early flurry, began to look well beaten.

A Downing header hit the post and Walcott missed a glorious opportunity when put clean through by Rooney. Hart made one fine save but overall this was a comfortable display against poor opposition.

Referee: Frank De Bleeckere (BEL)

Venue: Vasil Levski Stadium, Sofia


Bulgaria scorers: England scorers: Cahill 13, Rooney 21, 45

Yellow cards: Parker (ENG), Sarmov (BUL), Milanov (BUL)

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Dave Williams

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