Croatia 1 England 4 World Cup

September 11, 2008 | Filed Under: UK Box 
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FOOTBALL Croatia England Walcott - 0

Theo Walcott fully justified his inclusion in Fabio Capello’s line-up after netting a stunning hat-trick as England downed 10-man Croatia 4-1 in their World Cup qualifier in Zagreb.

Wayne Rooney was also on the scoresheet – his first international goal in nearly a year – as England finally put in a performance worthy of the hype that so often goes before them.

Considering that, heading into the game, Croatia were unbeaten in competitive matches at home, such a convincing victory – off the back of an uninspiring 2-0 win over minnows Andorra at the weekend – was all the more impressive.

England’s cause was slightly helped by the dismissal of Robert Kovac early in the second half – for a leading elbow on Joe Cole, who was forced off with blood gushing from a head wound – but with England already a goal to the good at the time, his departure did little to affect the result.

Substitute Mario Mandzukic netted on 78 minutes to pull Croatia back to 3-1, but it proved nothing more than consolation for the hosts as England maintained their perfect start to the qualifying campaign and took control of Group 6.

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