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Rediff.com  » Sports » Euro qualifiers: Rooney scores in 100th match as England rally; Spain beat Belarus

Euro qualifiers: Rooney scores in 100th match as England rally; Spain beat Belarus

November 16, 2014 12:16 IST

England captain Wayne Rooney (top) celebrates with teammates after scoring from the penalty spot during their Euro 2016 Group E qualifying match against Slovenia at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday

England captain Wayne Rooney (top) celebrates with teammates after scoring from the penalty spot during their Euro 2016 Group E qualifying match against Slovenia at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday. Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

Wayne Rooney celebrated his 100th England cap by scoring a penalty to lead his team to a 3-1 win over Slovenia in a Euro 2016 Group E qualifier at Wembley on Saturday which only came to life after halftime.

The England skipper scored with a thunderous spot-kick after 59 minutes having been fouled by Slovenia captain Bostjan Cesar to move level with Jimmy Greaves as his country's joint-third highest scorer on 44 goals.

He is now just five goals behind Bobby Charlton's all-time record of 49 England goals.

Rooney's equaliser came two minutes after Slovenia took the lead when Milivoje Novakovic whipped in a free kick and Jordan Henderson sent a header flying past Joe Hart for an own goal.

England secured victory with two goals from Danny Welbeck who struck after 66 minutes with a scrappy left-foot shot before making it 3-1 six minutes later after fine build-up play culminated in a superb one-two with Raheem Sterling. He has now scored five times in his last four England appearances.

Slovenia posed no attacking threat

England's Raheem Sterling (left) challenges Slovenia's Jasmin Kurtic during their Euro 2016 Group E qualifying match on Saturday

England's Raheem Sterling (left) challenges Slovenia's Jasmin Kurtic during their Euro 2016 Group E qualifying match on Saturday. Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

The victory maintained England's perfect start to the campaign and they head the standings with 12 points from their opening four matches.

Slovenia are second with six points from four games and although they were more adventurous in the second half, they posed virtually no attacking threat in a turgid opening 45 minutes.

The only attempt either team had on goal before halftime was when Jasmin Kurtic forced his goalkeeper Samir Handanovic to make a save to stop what would otherwise have been an own goal.

The evening began when Rooney was presented with a golden cap to mark his 100th match by Charlton before kickoff, but that was about the only memorable thing that happened before Slovenia went ahead.

Welbeck wrapped up the points for England

England's Danny Welbeck (right) shoots to score during their Euro 2016 Group E qualifying match against Slovenia

England's Danny Welbeck (right) shoots to score during their Euro 2016 Group E qualifying match against Slovenia on Saturday. Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters

The hosts, who lacked any attacking threat before the break, suddenly came to life in the 59th minute as Rooney sparked their revival after the visitors scored the first goal England have conceded in this qualifying campaign.

Rooney dribbled through the defence until he was tripped by Cesar, who was making his 81st appearance for his country to become their all-time most-capped player.

Handanovic got his hand to Rooney's penalty but could not stop it going in.

Welbeck, who worked hard alongside Rooney up front, wrapped up the points and the only other England player to emerge from the match with much credit was debutant Nathaniel Clyne, who had a fine game at right back.

Spain beat Belarus 3-0, stay three points behind group leaders Slovakia

  Spain's Isco (2nd from right) wins the ball against Belarus' Sergei Balanovich (left) during their Euro 2016 Group C qualifying match in Huelva on Saturday

Spain's Isco (2nd from right) wins the ball against Belarus' Sergei Balanovich (left) during their Euro 2016 Group C qualifying match in Huelva on Saturday. Photograph: Marcelo del Pozo/Reuters

Real Madrid midfielder Isco helped Spain open the scoring against Belarus as they stayed three points behind leaders Slovakia in Group C of Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Isco opened the scoring when he curled the ball home from 18 yards in the 18th minute, followed by a second from Barcelona's Sergio Busquets as he drove the ball in from outside the area almost straight from the restart.

Pedro completed the scoring when he smashed a shot high into the net from inside the box.

Slovakia maintained their 100 percent qualifying record with a 2-0 win in Macedonia thanks to goals from Juraj Kucka and Adam Nemec.

Sweden in draw with Montenegro

Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic (right) fights for the ball with Montenegro's Nikola Vukcevic during their Euro 2016 Group G qualifying match in Podgorica on Saturday

Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic (right) fights for the ball with Montenegro's Nikola Vukcevic during their Euro 2016 Group G qualifying match in Podgorica on Saturday. Photograph: Stevo Vasiljevic/Reuters

In the day's other Group C game, Dynamo Kiev forward Andriy Yarmolenko scored a hat-trick as Ukraine, who are level on points with Spain, won 3-0 at bottom side Luxembourg.

Elsewhere, Austria are four points clear at the top of Group G after 1860 Munich striker Rubin Okotie gave them a 1-0 win over Russia.

Meanwhile, Sweden climbed above Russia into second after a 1-1 draw in Montenegro, thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimovic poking in the opener for the Swedes before Manchester City midfielder Stevan Jovetic equalised from the spot 10 minutes from time.

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