» Sports » Euro 2016 Qualifiers: Rooney closes on scoring record; Diego Costa ends drought

Euro 2016 Qualifiers: Rooney closes on scoring record; Diego Costa ends drought

Last updated on: October 13, 2014 12:54 IST
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Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney of England celebrates after scoring the opening goal from a free kick during the EURO 2016 Qualifier match against Estonia. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Wayne Rooney struck with a 74th-minute free kick to give England a 1-0 win over 10-man Estonia in a Euro 2016 Group E qualifier on Sunday and move to within six goals of Bobby Charlton's record tally of 49.

Rooney curled home his set-piece from the edge of the penalty area after Raheem Sterling was fouled and although goalkeeper Sergei Parelko got his hands to the ball it went in off the post.

The England skipper, playing his 99th international, has now scored 43 times for his country, one behind Jimmy Greaves who is third on the all-time list.

Estonia were reduced to 10 men for the second successive qualifier when their captain Ragnar Klavan was sent off for a second yellow card after 49 minutes for fouling Fabian Delph, leaving them with an even tougher task.

However, they managed to frustrate England for long periods before the visitors scored to maintain their perfect start to the campaign with a third successive win.

Rooney could easily have moved past Greaves's record and gone closer to Gary Lineker's 48 goal-haul as well as Charlton's record tally, but missed two good chances in the first half, and one in stoppage time when he shot straight at Parelko.

"We knew it was going to be a tough game, but it was a good win," Rooney told ITV Sport.

"The pleasing thing tonight is that we have a young team and we hung in there and saw the game out well."

‘England were not that dangerous’

Jack Wilshere of England

Jack Wilshere of England and Martin Vunk of Estonia compete for the ball during the EURO 2016 Qualifier. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

England manager Roy Hodgson said he thought his team played some ‘excellent’ football in the first half but failed to convert chances.

"That led to an air of frustration in the second half," Hodgson said. "When you dominate the opposition and get so many opportunities in and around the box you have got to take the chances, at least one, and we didn't.

"Still we did in the second half, and now we have won all of our last four games and kept five clean sheets in a row and that's not to be sniffed at."

Estonia's best chance fell to Sergei Zenjov in the first minute when his deflected shot hit Joe Hart's side netting, and apart from a few isolated raids, most of the match was played in the hosts' half.

Estonia's Swedish coach Magnus Pehrsson, whose team have now won one and lost two of their qualifiers, said defeat was a "big disappointment".

"Although we played with one less for almost the whole second half, it felt that England were not that dangerous. Then they scored from a free kick but it felt like that they should have done more to win the game -- but that is what you call football, so I am left with really mixed emotions."

Mixed feelings

Fabian Delph of England is tackled

Fabian Delph of England is tackled by Enar Jaager, left, of Estonia and Alo Barengrub of Estonia during the EURO 2016 Qualifier. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

England lacked accuracy in front of goal with Rooney and Danny Welbeck misfiring until the late goal, but Hodgson denied he intended replacing Rooney with Rickie Lambert before Rooney scored.

"We were going to put Rickie Lambert on but we were discussing which player would come off and hadn't made our minds up," he said.

"It was more likely to be Danny Welbeck and in the end it was him because he took a knock."

Diego Costa ends drought as Spain ease past Luxembourg

Diego Costa

Paco Alcacer, right, of Spain celebrates with team mate Diego Costa during their Euro 2016 qualification match. Photograph: David W Cerny/Reuters

Diego Costa ended his long international scoring drought with the third goal in an uninspiring 4-0 win for Spain away to minnows Luxembourg in Euro 2016 qualifying Group C on Sunday.

Brazil-born Costa had failed to find the net for his adopted country in six previous appearances but broke a duck lasting more than 500 minutes when he netted from close range in the 69th minute in a rain-lashed Luxembourg City.

David Silva opened the scoring in the 27th minute with a fine long-range strike and set up Paco Alcacer to make it 2-0 three minutes before halftime. Substitute Juan Bernat added the fourth two minute from the end.

The European champions hardly dispelled doubts about their form following Thursday’s surprise 2-1 loss in Slovakia but the win put them back on track to qualify from a pool that also includes Ukraine, Belarus and Macedonia.

Ibra-less Sweden huff and puff in downing Liechtenstein

Sweden's Erkan Zengin

Sweden's Erkan Zengin (22) fights for the ball with Liechtenstein's Seyhan Yildiz and Ivan Quintans, right, during their Euro 2016 qualifying match in Stockholm. Photograph: Janerik Henriksson/TT News Agency/Reuters

Without captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic for a second straight game, Sweden struggled to convert their chances but still beat Liechtenstein 2-0 in their Group G Euro 2016 qualifier at the Friends Arena on Sunday.

With striker Ibrahimovic confined to the bench due to a persistent heel injury, the Swedes spent most of the first half-hour firing in a succession of crosses and peppering Cengiz Bicer in the Liechetenstein goal, but the visitors held firm.

Winger Emil Forsberg did manage to beat Bicer after chesting the ball down in the box and rifling home, but his effort was ruled out for offside.

Any attacks the visitors had were short-lived, with the home side often winning the ball back quickly and attacking the massed red ranks of Liechtenstein defenders once again.

Erkan Zengin finally broke the deadlock after 34 minutes with his second goal in three qualifying games, his thumping shot taking a deflection off a defender and looping over the goalkeeper into the net, prompting Zengin to run to the bench to celebrate with Ibra.

Jimmy Durmaz doubled Sweden's advantage in the first minute of the second half, stabbing the ball home from close range after Bicer horribly sliced a left-footed clearance into his path.

Despite a slew of efforts on goal, the Swedes could not add to their tally, but the win puts Sweden in third place in Group G on five points, the same number as Russia who are in second thanks to their superior goal difference.

Austria lead the group on seven points having beaten Montenegro 1-0 earlier in the day, with Liechtenstein bottom on one point.

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