Winners and losers: Deadly Defoe
Eurosport - Sat, 04 Sep 10:36:00 2010
We take a look at who was hot and who was not from the home nations and Ireland’s opening Euro 2012 qualifying matches.
Jermain Defoe – The England man was a hat-trick hero as he continued his impressive run of goals for Fabio Capello. Two with his left, one with his right, all crisp, unstoppable finishes. Decent link-up play too.
Wayne Rooney – The Manchester United striker showed what he was all about, marauding and pulling the strings as a withdrawn striker. Tireless running was matched with superb passing: he notched three assists and was involved in the other.
Gareth Bale - The Spurs speedster provided Wales' main threat. Flying down the left channel he gave Savo Pavicevic a torrid evening. His attacking menace was coupled with a battling performance that was full of heart and determination.
Davie Weir – The veteran became the oldest capped player in Scottish football history in Lithuania, and the defender, 40, responded with an accomplished performance. The Rangers skipper enjoyed a fine night despite the 0-0 draw.
Mirko Vucinic - The Montenegro skipper had the Welsh defence chasing shadows - James Collins will testify to that. The West Ham defender was left in the Roma striker's wake as he made his decisive charge on goal.
Corry Evans – The younger Evans scored Northern Ireland’s match-winner from the bench, in doing becoming the definition of a supersub.
Toothless Scotland - There are reasons why the Scots have not reached a major finals since 1998 - their lack of goals is one of them. Sadly they look no nearer to finding the winning formula that goals bring.
Joe Ledley - The Wales midfielder needs to step up on the international stage and deliver. Too often he conceded the possession and provided scant service for Steve Morison up front.
Savo Pavicevic – The Montenegrin defender was lucky to have stayed on the pitch. He was booked early on for a poor challenge on Gareth Bale and walked a disciplinary tightrope for the remainder of the game.
David Healy – Northern Ireland’s record scorer just never looked like he would score and clearly isn't match fit - two years and counting since he last scored now.
Bulgaria - The days of Hristo Stoichkov and co were a distance memory as a startlingly negative Bulgaria side failed to impose their supposedly superior technique on England. The two Petrovs were particularly poor.
Michael Dawson - On his competitive start for England, poor Dawson followed a bad error with a stomach-churning knee twist that could well end his season.