If England wanted to qualify for next summer's World Cup, they absolutely had to beat Moldova at Wembley Stadium. Sitting at second in Group H, pressured in both directions from Montenegro and Ukraine, the Three Lions would have no excuses for dropping points at home to the minnows.
Fortunately for Roy Hodgson, they wouldn't need them -- Steven Gerrard, Rickie Lambert and Danny Welbeck struck four times between themselves to ensure that England won in convincing fashion with a 4-0 victory.
England, unsurprisingly, started off on the front foot with a couple of half-chances for Lambert before Gerrard opened the scoring. Welbeck and Ashley Cole combined for some rather unorthodox play on the right wing and the ball was eventually cut back for Frank Lampard. With Moldova's defence expecting the Chelsea man to shoot, he rolled it back to the skipper, who hit a delightful low shot in off the post from 25 yards, giving Stanislav Namasco no chance.
Chances kept coming, and the goals followed suit. England's second came after a prolonged catastrophe in the Moldova area, with the defence completely unable to deal with a succession of crosses. Eventually the ball broke to Theo Walcott, who took a vicious shot at Namasco's near post. The goalkeeper could only parry the ball into Lambert's path, and the Southampton hitman headed in from close range.
Welbeck made it 3-0 just before the break, taking a pass from Lambert and gliding around Namasco before slotting in -- his celebration was rather spoiled, however, by the fact that he'd been booked seconds earlier for playing through offside and would therefore be ruled out of Tuesday's match against Ukraine through yellow card accumulation. He took his annoyance out on Moldova again just after the break, dinking over Namasco after being played through by Lambert.
After that, the game petered out. Moldova had been beaten, and with an already-enormous goal difference, the hosts didn't seem too fussed about padding the score (you can tell Hodgson didn't care about getting more goals because he deployed James Milner). 4-0 was good enough considering bigger and better tests await.
England starting lineup (4-3-3): Joe Hart; Ashley Cole (Leighton Baines, 45'), Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill, Kyle Walker; Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Jack Wilshere (Ross Barkley, 60'); Danny Welbeck, Rickie Lambert (James Milner, 70'), Theo Walcott.
Goals: Gerrard (12'), Lambert (26'), Welbeck (45+1', 48')
Moldova starting lineup (4-5-1): Stanislav Namasco; Artur Ionita (Alexandru Onica, 19'), Alexandru Epureanu, Victor Golovatenco, Igor Armas; Serghei Gheorghiev, Simion Bulgara (Aleandru Suvorov, 58'), Eugen Sidorenco, Aleksandru Dedov, Vitaliy Bordiyan; Alexandru Antoniuc.