England ease to comfortable win as Gareth Bale inspires Wales with victory over Scotland in Cardiff

In a busy weekend of World Cup 2014 qualification matches, England were comfortably victorious over San Marino on Friday evening.

Roy Hodgson’s men were frustrated in the early stages, but three points were never in danger as Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck scored twice.

In another significant moment, Arsenal youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain capped his impressed performance with a first international goal to complete the 5-0 win

This result sets England up nicely for the much tougher challenge of Poland on Tuesday evening.

Elsewhere on Friday evening, there was a fascinating battle between Wales and Scotland. It was the latter who took the lead and looked set for three points until Gareth Bale turned the game on his head.

The Tottenham man scored twice in the last ten minutes of the match, with his second goal particularly eye-catching. After a difficult time, Chris Coleman will hope this is the start of a decent run for his Wales team.

It was then a very poor night for Republic of Ireland as they were trashed 6-1 at home to Germany. Famed for being tight at the back, this was an uncharacteristic performance and one that the Irish would quickly like to forget.

Other stand out results from Friday saw Belgium win 3-0 in Serbia, while Russia managed a valuable 1-0 home victory over Portugal. The highest scorers of the night were Israel as they won 6-0 at Luxembourg.

Two European giants in Spain and Italy had no problems with their away fixtures. Italy managed a 3-1 win in Armenia, while Pedro scored a hat-trick as Spain won 4-0 in Belarus.

Overall, it was a very entertaining night, even though there weren’t too many shocks. The elite teams in this European qualifying showed their class and will be ready to go again on Tuesday evening.

For those that lost – including Scotland and Republic of Ireland – it is a case of dusting themselves down and going again as they attempt to keep their World Cup 2014 dreams alive.

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