ENGLAND started their World Cup qualifying campaign in fine style as they cruised to victory in Moldova.
Roy Hodgson’s side were playing their first match in Group H, ahead of Tuesday’s home match against Ukraine, and were ahead inside three minutes as Frank Lampard converted from the penalty spot.
Lampard headed a second in the 29th minute before Jermain Defoe made it 3-0 only three minutes later.
James Milner added a fourth in the 74th minute and Leighton Baines’ deflected free kick rounded off victory with seven minutes left.
Hodgson named Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Tom Cleverley in central midfield for the fixture and it was Cleverley who won the early penalty, with his shot handled by Simion Bulgaru. Lampard stepped up to fire home from the spot.
Defoe should then have made it 2-0 as he turned Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross wide.
England were creating chances at will and Defoe saw an effort saved by Stanislav Namasco.
Oxlade-Chamberlain then had a volley saved before Gerrard fired a fierce free kick inches over the bar.
The second goal did come just before the half hour mark, though, as Glen Johnson crossed from the right and Lampard stole in to head home from close range.
Cleverley then saw a low 20-yard shot tipped around the post by Namasco before Defoe ended the game as a contest with England’s third, running on a pass from Oxlade-Chamberlain and firing into the net from a narrow angle.
England made it 4-0 midway through the second half when substitute Theo Walcott provided the pass for Milner to convert from the edge of the box.
Baines then saw his free kick wickedly deflect past Namasco for a fifth goal late on.
Elsewhere in Group H, Blackburn Rovers midfielder Simon Vukcevic played 71 minutes for Montenegro as they drew 2-2 with Poland in Podgorica.