England beat Wales 2-0 in their Euro 2012 qualifier in Cardiff, leaving Wales bottom of qualifying group G. England, meanwhile, lead the group on goal difference after what was a reassuring display against an admittedly poor Wales side. After a disappointing display the last time they played a competitive international fixture, drawing 0-0 with Montenegro at Wembley in October, England moved to a 4-3-3 and it did its job more than effectively, annihilating Wales in the first half and allowing the visitors to coast to victory in the second.
Frank Lampard, who was playing alongside Jack Wilshere in the centre of the midfield ahead of Scott Parker, got England on the scoresheet in the 7th minute from the penalty spot after Ashley Young was fouled by Aston Villa teammate James Collins. The Chelsea midfielder stepped up, sent Wayne Hennessey the wrong way, and roleld the ball into the net for an early lead.
Said lead was doubled eight minutes later, and Young was once again involved. Glen Johnson released the Villa man down the right side with a pretty lofted pass, and Young was able to get to the byline to deliver a perfect low cross to Darren Bent, who swept into the roof of the net for a 2-0 lead. England looked more than capable of scoring more most of the rest of the match, and it wasn't until the second half that Wales really got going.
By then, though, the visitors had decided that the game was won, and spent much of the final 45 coasting. By end of the match, they had introduced Stewart Downing, James Milner, and Phil Jagielka (who played in the midfield for some reason) and switched to a more defensive 4-5-1 that invited a few long shots and corners for Wales, but even the hosts' spells of dominance were fairly sad affairs - Joe Hart didn't have a save to make and England continued to look threatening on the break.
All in all, a comfortable win. England should be beating teams like Wales, but in recent times they haven't looked comfortable against teams they should be beating, so it's hard to argue that this wasn't an improvement. Ashley Young was especially impressive, but everyone on the squad did their job effectively enough.
For Gary Speed's Wales, they'll be disappointed not to have asked more questions of the England back line - Glen Johnson in particular is a vulnerability at right back. Would Gareth Bale have changed the game? Maybe, but probably not. The home side's problems were mostly in possession, where England's midfield dominated, and although Bale would have been a major threat on the counter they probably wouldn't have come close to earning a point even with the Tottenham Hotspur winger.