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England cruises past Moldova at Wembley

England received two goals from Danny Welbeck as the Three Lions cruised past Moldova in a 4-0 victory in UEFA World Cup qualifying action at Wembley on Friday.

Steven Gerrard opened the scoring in the 12th minute with his first goal for England in three years as he smashed a low shot from outside the box into the bottom corner.

Rickie Lambert made the most of a rare cap by doubling England's advantage 14 minutes later when he nodded home a rebound from close range.

Welbeck then took control of the match, catching Stanislav Namasco off his line in first-half stoppage time to latch on to long ball and guide home an easy finish into the back of the net.

The Manchester United striker then put the icing on the cake five minutes into the second period when he took a through ball and dinked a shot over the on- rushing Namasco.

The win sees England climb into a tie with Montenegro for the Group H lead with 15 points apiece. Montenegro entered the day atop the group, but a 1-1 draw at Poland brought the nation level with England.

Also in Group H on Friday, Ukraine thrashed San Marino, 9-0, to improve to 14 points and tighten things up at the top of the table.

In Group A, Belgium extended its lead atop the table to five points thanks to a 2-0 defeat of Scotland and Croatia's 1-1 draw at Serbia. Wales also fell in a 2-1 loss at Macedonia.

In Group B, Gevorg Ghazaryan scored deep into second-half stoppage time to see Armenia claim a 2-1 victory over the Czech Republic, Denmark received an own goal from Ryan Callimeri in the 53rd minute to get a 2-1 win at Malta and Albert Gilardino's lone goal was enough to hand Italy a 1-0 win over Bulgaria.

In Group C, Germany cruised past Austria in a 3-0 victory, Sweden came from behind to take three points from a 2-1 defeat of Ireland and Kazakhstan scored twice in the span of 13 minutes to overturn a one-goal deficit and defeat the Faroe Islands, 2-1.

In Group D, Umut Bulut bagged a hat trick in Turkey's 5-0 rout of Andorra, Romania eased past Hungary in a 3-0 victory and the Netherlands settled for a point in a 2-2 draw against Estonia.

In Group E, Switzerland and Iceland split the points in a thrilling 4-4 draw, Slovenia edged Albania, 1-0, thanks to Kevin Kampl's goal and Norway scored on opposite sides of halftime in a 2-0 defeat of Cyprus.

In Group F, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat trick to see Portugal reverse a one-goal deficit and earn a 4-2 defeat of Northern Ireland while a brace from Alexander Kokorin helped give Russia a 4-1 victory over Luxembourg.

In Group G, Slovakia earned a 1-0 defeat of Bosnia-Herzegovina thanks to Viktor Pecovsky's lone strike, Latvia escaped with a 2-1 victory over Lithuania and Greece struck late in a 1-0 win over Liechtenstein.

And in Group I, Jordi Alba and Alvaro Negredo produced a goal apiece in Spain's 2-0 victory over Finland while France was held in a 0-0 draw at Georgia.