Jermaine Defoe Scores a Hat Trick and Leads England to 4-0 Blowout over Bulgaria

Manuel TraqueteSenior Analyst ISeptember 3, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 03:  Adam Johnson (right) of England celebrates with team mate Jermain Defoe (2nd right) after scoring the third goal of the game during the UEFA EURO 2012 Group G Qualifying match between England and Bulgaria at Wembley Stadium on September 3, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

England started their Euro 2012 qualification campaign with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Bulgaria in Wembley. Jermaine Defoe was the hero by scoring a hat trick. Adam Johnson came into the match in the 74th minute and scored the other goal (the third).

Capello got his tactics right, which was a key factor for this easy win: The team clearly performed better with Steven Gerrard playing in the centre and, especially, with Wayne Rooney playing between the Bulgarian lines behind Defoe.

In fact, as Fabio Capello stated right after the match, Rooney's performance was absolutely sublime. He helped create all of Defoe's goals and he was a constant nightmare for the Bulgarian defenders.

England managed to control possession for the whole 90 minutes (something they hadn't managed in the World Cup in June), with Steven Gerrard commanding the midfield. Once again, it became apparent that the Gerrard and Lampard duo doesn't work, as England performed much better with Lampard sidelined. They're both excellent players, but they have very similar ways of playing and the duo hasn't brought much success to England.

In the wings, both James Milner and Theo Walcott had excellent performances, especially the Arsenal player. Judging by what he has been showing lately, Theo Walcott might finally have his big breakthrough. It would be great news for England and, of course, for Arsenal. Today, Walcott's tremendous pace played a vital role in England's success, as the Arsenal player constantly wreaked havoc in the Bulgarian defense.

In addition, it seems that Capello has finally found a reliable goalkeeper: Joe Hart. The Manchester City goalkeeper didn't have much work, but it was clear that he provided safety to the team, especially the defense. It may be too soon to judge, but it seems that England have finally found their goalkeeper.

It was, undoubtedly, an impressive performance, but it's also a fact that Bulgaria aren't exactly a very strong opponent. The match against Switzerland will show whether the English national team have turned over a new leaf (after a disappointing World Cup) and if they're finally ready to win a major competition—the upcoming Euro 2012.