European Championship Qualifying - Group E
EstoniaEstonia0EnglandEngland1

Estonia 0-1 England

By Phil McNultyChief football writer in Tallinn
Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney scored his 43rd England goal on his 99th international appearance
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England laboured to victory over Estonia in Tallinn as Wayne Rooney's late free-kick made it three wins out of three in their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

Rooney curled his shot in from just outside the area 17 minutes from the end of a mediocre encounter to give England's captain his 43rd goal for his country - six behind all-time record holder Sir Bobby Charlton.

It rescued England as they struggled to break down the stubborn Estonians, who stood firm even after captain Ragnar Klavan had been sent off for a second yellow card three minutes into the second half.

And it spared manager Roy Hodgson some awkward questions over the omission of Raheem Sterling after Liverpool's teenager admitted he was tired following the 5-0 win against San Marino at Wembley.

England monopolised possession but the lack of end product was alarming against opponents who were dogged but hardly an upgrade into the European elite after the stroll against San Marino on Thursday.

Rooney's winner, a rare touch of class, also lifted his own performance after the 28-year-old struggled to apply his usual high standards. Indeed he was in danger of being replaced by Rickie Lambert just before his decisive contribution.

England coach Roy Hodgson
Hodgson was buoyant after his side maintained their 100% record against San Marino on Thursday

The Manchester United captain had opportunities before and after his goal to move closer to history but his display was in keeping with England's night - largely frustrating and salvaged only by a single moment.

Hodgson used the diamond formation, as he had in the opening 2-0 win against Switzerland in Basel, but whereas there - with Sterling at its point - it looked effective, here it left England lacking in pace, creation and width. It was only when Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the Liverpool youngster were introduced that England looked like getting behind the hosts.

They can justifiably point to a job done, and nine points out of nine, but this largely uninspired fare did little to warm fans who turned out in plummeting temperatures in Tallinn.

There should be few obstacles in England's way on the route to Euro 2016external-link - the possibility of 10 wins remains a strong one - but it is to be hoped the level of excitement is greater than that witnessed here in a group not exactly sprinkled with stardust.

After a minor scare in the opening seconds, England dominated the first period to such an extent that one point they enjoyed an 82% share of possession - the more telling statistic was that they did not muster a shot on target until the dying moments of the half.

This had much to do with Rooney's failure to accept chances, volleying over from Jack Wilshere's pass and showing an uncharacteristic lack of control and sharpness in the area when given other opportunities.

The visitors were looking for any advantage they could get and one arrived three minutes into the second half when Klavan departed after a cynical barge on Fabian Delph.

Hodgson made two changes in quick succession just after the hour as Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sterling replaced Delph and Jordan Henderson.

And Sterling was involved as England finally broke Estonia down after 73 minutes. He was fouled on the angle of the penalty area and Rooney weighed his options up carefully before curling in a low, right-foot effort from the set-piece.

England fans at A Le Coq Arena
England fans congregate at Tallinn's A Le Coq Arena
England and Estonia line up for the national anthems
England and Estonia line up for the national anthems
Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney goes close for England in the first half with a volley
Ragnar Klavan (centre)
Estonia are reduced to 10 men when full-back Ragnar Klavan (centre) is shown a second yellow card
Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney grabs the winner with 17 minutes remaining and should have scored a second in stoppage time

Line-ups

Estonia

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Pareiko
  • 17Jääger
  • 4Morozov
  • 15KlavanBooked at 48mins
  • 19Pikk
  • 18Mets
  • 16Antonov
  • 14VassiljevSubstituted forLindpereat 45'minutes
  • 13VunkSubstituted forKruglovat 83'minutes
  • 10ZenjovSubstituted forOjamaaat 80'minutes
  • 8Anier

Substitutes

  • 2Lindpere
  • 3Bärengrub
  • 5Kruglov
  • 6Dmitrijev
  • 7Saag
  • 9Hunt
  • 11Ojamaa
  • 12Aksalu
  • 20Kams
  • 21Artjunin
  • 22Londak
  • 23Teniste

England

Formation 4-1-2-1-2

  • 1Hart
  • 2Chambers
  • 5Cahill
  • 6Jagielka
  • 3BainesBooked at 45mins
  • 7WilshereBooked at 87mins
  • 4HendersonBooked at 53minsSubstituted forSterlingat 64'minutes
  • 8DelphSubstituted forOxlade-Chamberlainat 61'minutes
  • 11Lallana
  • 9WelbeckSubstituted forLambertat 80'minutes
  • 10Rooney

Substitutes

  • 12Clyne
  • 13Foster
  • 14Gibbs
  • 15Shelvey
  • 16Milner
  • 17Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 18Townsend
  • 19Sterling
  • 20Lambert
  • 21Forster
Referee:
Marijo Strahonja
Attendance:
10,195

Match Stats

Home TeamEstoniaAway TeamEngland
Possession
Home23%
Away77%
Shots
Home7
Away25
Shots on Target
Home1
Away6
Corners
Home1
Away5
Fouls
Home15
Away9

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Estonia 0, England 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Estonia 0, England 1.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Wayne Rooney (England) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

  4. Post update

    Jack Wilshere (England) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Igor Morozov (Estonia).

  6. Post update

    Attempt saved. Wayne Rooney (England) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jack Wilshere with a through ball.

  7. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Raheem Sterling (England) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Wayne Rooney (England) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box misses to the left. Assisted by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with a cross.

  9. Post update

    Attempt saved. Raheem Sterling (England) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Calum Chambers.

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. Dmitri Kruglov (Estonia) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  11. Booking

    Jack Wilshere (England) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Jack Wilshere (England).

  13. Post update

    Ilja Antonov (Estonia) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  14. Post update

    Raheem Sterling (England) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Dmitri Kruglov (Estonia).

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Estonia. Dmitri Kruglov replaces Martin Vunk.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Rickie Lambert (England).

  18. Post update

    Karol Mets (Estonia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Hand ball by Henri Anier (Estonia).

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, England. Rickie Lambert replaces Danny Welbeck.