Published January 08, 2015
London, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Danny Welbeck scored a pair of second- half goals on Saturday as England came from a goal down to claim a 3-1 win over Slovenia in Group E European Championship qualifying at Wembley Stadium.
After earning a narrow 1-0 win over Estonia in their last Euro qualifier back in October, the Three Lions were much more in control of this match and the victory allowed Roy Hodgson's men to maintain their perfect record and stay atop the group with 12 points.
But things started poorly for England as Slovenia broke the deadlock following a scoreless first half in the 57th minute through an own goal by England midfielder Jordan Henderson.
Despite going down a goal on home soil, the Lions didn't panic and pulled back the equalizer just two minutes later when captain Wayne Rooney, who earned his 100th cap, fired home a penalty kick.
The equalizing goal seemed to settle England down and they took firm control over the next 30-plus minutes, grabbing the lead in the 65th minute.
Liverpool man Adam Lallana got the play started by beating his man on the right side of the pitch and letting a strike on target go. Slovenia goalkeeper Samir Handanovic made the initial save, but the ball came back into the box and Welbeck smashed it home.
The home side's third tally came in the 71st minute when Welbeck played an excellent one-two with Raheem Sterling on the edge of the penalty area to get in behind and the Arsenal man finished into the bottom right corner to seal all three points.
The Three Lions will take the pitch again in European qualification against Lithuania on March 27.
Also in Group E on Saturday. San Marino earned its first point of the qualifying campaign with a scoreless draw against Estonia, but San Marino remains on the bottom of the group standings.
Bayern Munich man Xherdan Shaqiri netted a pair of second-half goals as Switzerland rolled to a 4-0 drubbing of Lithuania.
In Group C, Isco, Sergio Busquets and Pedro all found the back of the net to hand Spain a 3-0 win over Belarus, while Juraj Kucka and Adam Nemec scored first-half goals to send Slovakia to a 2-0 result over Macedonia.
Andriy Yarmolenko scored a hat trick to power Ukraine to a 3-0 rout of Luxembourg.
In Group G action, Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned to international action with a goal after nine minutes, but it was canceled out by a 73rd minute tally from Stevan Jovetic as Sweden and Montenegro played to a 1-1 draw.
Rubin Okotie scored in the 73rd minute to lift Austria to a 1-0 win over Russia, while Franz Burgmeier's goal 16 minutes from time sent Liechtenstein to a 1-0 win over Moldova.