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England Maul Moldova: How Roy Hodgson's Men Sent a Message to the World

CHISINAU, MOLDOVA - SEPTEMBER 07: Jermain Defoe of England celebrates scoring to make it 3-0 during the FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifier match between Moldova and England at Zimbru Stadium on September 7, 2012 in Chisinau, Moldova.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images
Dan RenfroCorrespondent IIINovember 4, 2016

England's 5-0 thrashing of Moldova should send a message around the world.

The Three Lions are still among the world's elite.

After a poor showing at Euro 2012, where they couldn't seem to muster a single attack (aside from the victory over Sweden), England netted five goals against a clearly inferior Moldova side, including three in the first half.

The English were heavy favorites heading into the match, and with a fourth minute penalty from Frank Lampard, it was clear why. Lampard nodded in another goal in the 29th minute to double the lead. Then Jermain Defoe put the game away with a goal shortly after the half hour mark.

Not many people believe England truly is the third-best team in the world, which is their current FIFA ranking, but they didn't let a Moldova slip-up cause more doubt. Instead, the Three Lions looked good for a full 90 minutes.

And, England's biggest obstacle in recent years has been playing a full match. They've shown glimpses of great defending and clever attacking, but this is the first full match they've put together in awhile.

Moreover, England had a youthful feel to the side. Only four players were older than 29. Despite their mileage, all four of those players (Lampard, Steven Gerrard, John Terry and Joleon Lescott) could still play in the World Cup.

When you add in the attacking youth, Wayne Rooney's return and some solid midfield play, England's side is slowly coming together for Brazil in 2014. It's still two years away, but this team will be reaching its peak just in time.

England's team is evolving from the lethargic, defensive side that featured in the European championships. They'll be better moving forward, and Friday's dominating performance was only a glimpse of what the English side is capable of.

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