England put themselves in pole position to top their qualifying group with a 1-0 victory of neighbours Wales at Wembley Tuesday. The result leaves Fabio Capello's men needing only a point when they travel to Montenegro in order to win Group G and secure their place in Poland/Ukraine 2012. While the result will please England's fans, the performance will not.
England were clearly the better team in the first half but didn't create as many chances as they should have given their domination of the possession. Coming off an impressive display of attacking football and an excellent win in Sofia, England were expected to give Wales a bit of a footballing lesson and in the first half they did looked like they might indeed do that, deservedly going in ahead following Ashley Young's goal.
The second half was a different story, though. England came out and likely expected to add further goals and run out comfortable winners. Wales had different ideas, however, and clearly came out after a telling off from manager Gary Speed.
Wales were the better team in the second half and even the staunchest England fan must agree that they were unlucky not to get a point out of this game. Wales can take great pride from this performance and will look to build on it in their remaining qualifying games.
England, as I mentioned, now need only one point from their trip to Podgorica but they will need to improve on this performance if they are to secure that point. They were missing a number of players tonight, but they still should have comfortably beaten a Welsh team that sit some 110 places behind them in the current FIFA rankings.
Based on this performance, while England may sit fourth in those rankings, they are certainly not one of Europe's elite and it's hard to imagine the Dutch, Spanish, German or Italian teams losing much sleep over having to face them next summer.
And on that note, on to the ratings.