England won comfortably to top Group H but Danny Welbeck was suspended for the Ukraine game after being booked
• Tom Jenkins' images from tonight's match at Wembley
• Group H table, results and fixtures
What to say? Erm, England comfortably beat a team that they were expected to comfortably beat. This doesn't make them world beaters but neither is it to be sniffed at. Rickie Lambert will be feeling pretty good about himself and will no doubt lead England's attack in Ukraine with Welbeck suspended. Thanks for all your emails … most of which were about my byline photo and surname. There wasn't much else to talk about I suppose. See you next time …
Oh, and England go top thanks to a 1-1 draw between Poland and Montenegro.
And that, folks, is that.
90 min: Walker wins a free-kick on the right. Gerrard whips it in to Milner, unmarked and only six yards out at the back post, but the Man City shuffler sidefoots the ball into the turf and then over the bar despite having a couple of hours to control the ball and tap it home.
"My grandfather's name is Alan Partridge. You should count your blessings with Roughley," offers Dan Lucas.
Does you grandfather know what Alan Partridge is? If he doesn't I imagine he is often baffled by lines such as "He's got a foot like a traction engine" being recited at him.
89 min: The corner came to a) nothing b) nothing or c) nothing? You decide.
88 min: Moldova win a corner!
"Looks like Defoe starts against Ukraine then?"
Simon Pearce reminds us all that Jermain Defoe is, indeed, still a footballer. How he could have done with a move in the transfer window.
84 min: Walker lashes a half-volley this far over the bar after some neat interplay between Welbeck and Gerrard on the right. There was also a Moldovan substitute just then. I didn't see who came on or who went off and it doesn't really matter anyway.
"I was having a nice, quiet, untroubled night at home in Finland, and you had to go and mention the Manhattan … A point. Sir Richard of Lambert's ability seems to leave many perplexed, dumbfounded, gobsmacked even. Yes he doesn't fit the accepted or expected narrative, he isn't young, and doesn't play for one of the bigger clubs, but he's hardly the Steve Bull de nos jours or Kevin Phillps MkII. He can play.
Paul Ewart is a Lambert fan. Will he start against Ukraine? I'm guessing he will given that he has been substituted and Welbeck is suspended. He has certainly shown enough thus far to suggest that he has the intelligence to cause Ukraine problems, as well as the physicality.
80 min: Welbeck's sniffing for that hat-trick but he can't locate the goal. He glances a Gerrard cross a foot wide of the left post on this occasion.
79 min: Shooooooooot!!! Shout the Wembley crowd. Lampard does so and draws a lucky save out of Namasco, who dives to his right and somehow hooks Lampard's centrally-directed low shot over the bar with his left leg.
77 min: Cahill covers for Jagielka, who made a hash of clearing a hoofed Moldovan ball forwards. He mops up and finds Barkley, who is hacked down cynically by Onica. It's a dreadful challenge – hooking his leg arround Barkley who is lucky not to get his studs caught in the turf – and could have done a lot of damage to a young player who has already suffered a double-leg break.
74 min: Gerrard plays a wonderful pass from deep inside England's half to Ross Barkley, who is halfway inside the Moldova half. It's zipped across the greasy turf at 100mph (or something like that). Barkley, takes a sure touch inside his marker and works the angle for a shot … but drives the ball a foot wide of the post.
"Surely it is the norm for England strikers to exceed their normal level nowadays? None of them play for top teams anymore. (Counting Wellbeck in that!)" writes Nick in Barcelona, who perhaps stands on a bridge holding a club and demands a fee before people can pass.
70 min: Lambert is replaced by Milner. The Southampton striker gets a standing ovation as he departs – and rightly so. So Welbeck goes up top on his own and Milner to the right where he'll do a few shuttle-runs for 20 minutes.
68 min: Barkley finds Lambert, who has drifted into space betwixt the Moldova midfield and defence, he takes a touch before slipping Welbeck into the inside-right channel. He shift the ball to the right and pulls the trigger just inside the area … but his shot wins only a corner. I imagine a hat-trick would soften the blow somewhat of his suspension.
65 min: Dedov has obviously seen Joe Hart's recent performances. He has a pop from all of 45 yards. it's a dipper, but it's also about 20 feet wide. Meanwhile, here's an email about Me! Me!! Me!!! "I have married friends who each kept their own surnames and now struggle to know what to surname their nipper, and those who double-barrelled their surnames, which is annoying and can work for exactly one generation. I like your solution, because it will at least provide a means of weeding out surnames that have fallen foul of modern slang and become mockable. Believe it or not, my august surname 'Pickering' went down a treat on the highschool playground." That from Jordan Pickering. So are you saying my old name Roughley had comedy value? Surely not …
62 min: "On a serious note (a new one for me)," begins Phil Sawyer. "Below the line on one of the Guardian blogs a debate ensued about gifted strikers who just couldn't translate it to the international arena (hello, Ian Wright) versus players you wouldn't necessarily have expected to make the transition but did (Darius Vassell was mentioned several times). It's only two games in, but with the goals and assists so far Rickie Lambert is definitely looking like the latter."
It is very early days but, yes, he does. His awareness of those around him, like Emile Heskey on a good day too, has been very good. Would Crouch count too?
61 min: Moldova string one, two, three passes together before Georghiev's cross into the box is cleared. That was almost ambitious.
59 min: Ross Barkley has come on in place of Jack Wilshere, who is not injured. I repeat not injured.
"Evening, Gregg. Tut n Shive? You talking about The White House pub opposite secrets (home of many a furtive fumble and/or a kicking by bouncers)? I'm from the sunny Seaforth side of L21, one of the worst postcodes in the country for any form of insurance.(I was too young for Secrets, but old enough for that also-demolished haven of The Paradox in Aintree).
I used to go to the Paradox. And the Manhattan. Classy joints.
56 min: Bulgaru off and Suvorov on for Moldova. I don't know what that means. I expect nothing because this game is a series of England passes followed by a Moldovan hoof into the right or left corner of England's half. Hmmm.
54 min: "What have you done to get this beaut of a game? Were you the last person left in the office? Not laugh at a jimbo pun in the pod? I've just had a major operation on my eye which was sh@t and I would rather go through that again than watch this game!" Keith Tucker is not enjoying the Friday night 'fun' at Wembley.
52 min: Welbeck is very good at the little scoop over the keeper. His finish at Swansea was an expertly-taken scoop. He won't be scooping anything in Ukraine, mind. I'll just repeat it in case you missed it. He's suspended for Tuesday night.
Well, this is a delicious little finish by Welbeck. Gerrard swooshed a ball out from right to left to Lambert, whose movement has been fluid tonight. He drifts inside and waits for Welbeck to spring, before releasing the perfect short pass to the Man Utd striker who dinks the ball ever so cutely over Namasco.
46 min: Some housekeeping. Leighton Baines, the naughtiest left back in the world, has replaced Ashley Cole. I believe Cole is just being rested.
Peep! But first some news from Paul Doyle's clockwatch. Northern Ireland are leading Portugal 2-1. Blimey!
"Don't you think Gerrard is looking more and more composed as a holding midfielder, especially positionally?" offers Mark Yoxon. "There's the odd wayward pass, sure, but for the most part I think he's looking really quite an important player for England. If he and Wilshere can click against the more competitive sides, it could be a complimentary partnership."
Gerrard has always been capable of doing the simple things. Whether he chooses to do them, though, has been the biggest issue. I think age may now help him to stick to being more conservative.
How the effin jeff did Moldova draw 1-1 with Poland in Warsaw?
A stroll for England so far. And they are on for a 6-0 win, the scoreline that would keep the perfect increasing-run of results against Moldova (3-0, 4-0, 5-0) up.
Well, he's turned his frustration into a goal in double quick time. Perhaps more England players should be booked and suspended. Lambert drops deep and picks up a low fizzed-in pass to his feet. He turns, and shows that he has great vision as well as the nose for a goal, lofting a perfectly-weighted pass into Welbeck's path, which the forward gets to before Namasco in goal, rounding him and rolling the ball home.
44 min: The United forward, who was incorrectly booked for diving in Montenegro, is booked for a shot after being flagged offside. That could be very costly for England.
43 min: It's all about me tonight, Me! Me!! Me!!! The Guardian's Sport picture editor writes: "Let's get you a new byline photo ... yeah?!" Yeah, Jonny. I'm bringing make-up, a comb and some Fudge, yeah?
40 min: England win another free-kick on the left touchline. Gerrard swings it in towards England's goalscoring legend, Lambert, but Moldova's keeper Namasco somehow punches the ball away despite having about as much belief in his own ability as an atheist has in the existence of The Big Man.
38 min: England win a free-kick 25 yards out on the left of the penalty area. Steven Gerrard rolls the ball a foot to the right – in what is perhaps a snide little attempt to get an assist – but Lampard whacks the ball into the wall.
36 min: Hang on, England think they're Spain. Pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass … and then Welbeck thinks he's Brazil and gives the ball away with an errant flick.
"I bet you sign your name with a ‘u’ where the ‘a’ should be. I would," writes Reid Finlayson, a fan of Ham on Rye I imagine.
I don't Reid. I would only ever disappoint if I did that.
32 min: Moldova are getting cocky here. They attack again with Georghiev, who races into the England penalty area on the right but is marshalled expertly by Phil Jagielka. I like Jagielka. Good player. Once played in goal for Sheffield United too, and kept a clean sheet.
31 min: A shot? From Moldova? It may have been a clearance to be fair. I wouldn't know the difference.
28 min: I should add that Hart almost got caught in possession at the back a minute before England's goal. "That dribble out is that of a man who is thinking about things as opposed to just doing what comes naturally," reckons Paul Ruffley.
Arise, Sir Richard of Lambert. Two goals in two games. Look out Bobby Charlton! This one was a simple header at the backpost after Namasco made a hash of saving Walcott's shot from the right corner of the penalty area. Moldova's defending before the goal should have been accompanied with circus theme music, mind. Woeful stuff. England are going to win the World Cup, no?
24 min: Wilshere brings Wembley back to life briefly. The little Arsenal midfielder picks the ball up halfway inside the Moldova half and accelerates away towards the Moldova defence, shifting the ball from his left foot to right foot in one beautifully natural swoosh before taking another touch and driving a shot straight at Namasco.
22 min: Moldova: hoof! Moldova: hoof! Moldova: hoof! seems to be the preferred style of play from the visitors.
20 min: The corner comes to nothing. Gerrard's strike was a beauty. Seen from behind it just had a dash of left to right swerve on it to take it inside the post. If you like pictures, this gallery of images from tonight's match will be right up your street.
19 min: Poor Ionita has had a knock and will need to be subbed. He's replaced by Onica, who gives away a corner cheaply with his first touch.
18 min: Seeing as very little is happening here's an email …
I’ve always wanted to ask - why did you take your wife’s surname?" asks phil West. "As a Brit married to a Turk I was all in favour of us using double-barrelled surnames but at the time (1990) this was not acceptable to the authorities here. You, in contrast, went the whole hog - so to speak."
She liked her name a lot. And so did I. Didn't double-barrel because where does it end?
15 min: England are popping the ball around at ridiculous ease here. Moldova are giving away possession like a Metro vendor.
13 min: Lampard then tries to get on the scoresheet himself with a deflection after Walker whips a cross in from the right. Good news for England. It's now Poland 1-1 Montenegro in Warsaw.
Steven Gerrard rolls back the clock to around 2005-06 by driving a shot home into the bottom-left hand corner from 25 yards. Can you guess who set him up? Frank Lampard. Yes, him. It followed a burst down the right from Welbeck, who has started sharply.
8 min: Eight minutes! That is how long it takes a 21st century football crowd to do a Mexican wave. Oh modern football! Welbeck and Lampard combine well as England string together some incisive passes on the right but Bulgaru snuffs out the danger and Moldova jog up into England's half before collectively deciding that being so forward-thinking is going to get them nowhere.
7 min: Gerrard tries to thread a pass through to Lampard just inside the Moldova half. I probably don't need to tell you that it was unsuccessful do I?
5 min: Kyle Walker whips an inviting cross in from the right as England continue to pile forwards. Moldova finally get hold of the ball after winning a free-kick just inside the England half. It comes to nothing, mind. I like to imagine that this music is dancing around the heads of the Moldova players out there … or at least one of their wingers. Maybe Alexandru Ionita …
3 min: The big striker lashes a volley over from 15 yards after Ashley Cole's cross from the left is deflected into his path. Moldova are putting up very little resistance thus far. "Perhaps Phil is right about languorous scratching," writes Todd Landaburu. "A condition of epidemic proportions in London? The place is bleedin’ empty! Looks of a U-21 qualifier at best."
2 min: Steven Gerrard swings the ball in towards Lambert … who leaps above his marker and heads … over. So he doesn't get the chance to beat his 166-second goal against Scotland.
1 min: Rickie Lambert gets involved early, picking the ball up off Walcott and playing a lofted ball down the inside right channel for the Arsenal scurrier to chase. He does that very well and wins a corner.
And we're off. Moldova, in red, are kicking from right to left on my telly. England, in white, the other way. So if you don't have a telly, draw that picture in your head.
Wembley is a bit patchy. It is a Friday night I suppose and the pubs are calling. Anyway, Moldova's national anthem is a bit of a solemn number. The England fans don't embarrass themselves by booing it, though, which is as it should be. God Save The Queen next … and now for some football.
Roy Hodgson speaks: "I'm happy with the team I've got out. The preparation has gone well and now it's all about playing football … more words in here … more words in here … Ricky Lambert's a very good target player …… dangerous in the opposing penalty box … more words in here … more words in here."
Thanks Roy. Or "The Hodge," as Paul Bartlett likes to call him.
"Evening Gregg." pipes up Phil Sawyer. "You're looking very dapper in your byline photo. I'd like to think you're sat in Guardian Towers right now suited and booted for your Friday night MBM. Which would make a stark contrast with the MBM readership, most of whom I suspect may well sit there sending in emails clad only in their strides and scratching themselves langourously. Not me, of course. Ahem. Oh, excuse me a moment, I've got an itch …"
It is the most misleading byline photo ever, Phil. I got accused of looking like a ne'er do well in my last byline pic and the one from my wedding above was the only one I could dig up to replace it. I can't be bothered changing it again as I'd get too much grief in Guardian Towers.
No quite sure who to root for tonight as our family is half-English / half-Moldovian," offers a torn Sebastian Kinsman.
"Don't underestimate the Moldovians, their king Stefan Chel Mare held the Ottoman invaders of Christendom at bay for a fair while, so a second string England football team should be a piece of keks (cake). I can confirm Gary Naylor's comments about Cricova Winery. You don't walk around its wine cellars, you drive around them. I believe they are the largest in the world."
So are scenes like this one common in Moldova?
"Is it ok to still ask if Gerrard and Lampard can play together in the same midfield?" asks Mike Yeye.
Only if it's 2007 and Arctic Monkeys' difficult second album is hotly anticipated.
Roy Keane and Lee Dixon are gamely trying to say some things that haven't already been said about a match in which England are expected to win with a canter. "Don't need any injuries" ... "Lambert's good enough to play at this level" … "focused". Keane makes that last word sound particularly aggressive.
Roy Hodgson doesn't seem to me like the kind of man who has ever had a nickname.
Gary Naylor, like Mr R Lambert, remembers when the KFC in Liverpool 21 was a pub called the Tut n' Shive:
"Great to see The Litherland Lionel, Rickie Lambert, getting a start tonight. He reminds me a lot of Teddy Sheringham - maybe he's a tad quicker. Mind you, Teddy's 47. Oh, and another thing about Moldova - Chisinau's Cricova Winery tour makes you feel like you're in Total Recall's mines of Mars. And the wine makes up for not seeing Kuato."
I'll take your word for it Gary.
Hart; Walker, Jagielka, Cahill, Cole; Gerrard, Wilshere, Lampard; Walcott, Welbeck; Lambert
Subs: Forster, Ruddy, Baines, Smalling, Caulker, Cleverley, Barkley, Carrick, Milner, Townsend, Sterling, Defoe
Namasco; Armas, Golovatenco, Epureanu, Ionita, Antoniuc, Dedov, Georghiev, Bulgaru, Bordian, Sidorenco
Subs: Pascenco, Cebanu, Onica, Racu, Cebotaru, Doros, Suvorov, Boestean, Erhan, Pascenco, Grossu, Andronic
Referee: Ivan Kruzliak (slovakia)
So the England team that Hodgson named yesterday is indeed the same as the one that I've just copied and pasted off the wires and passed off as 'news'.
Oh, and Lampard and Gerrard are playing together in midfield with Jack Wilshere. Poor old Michael Carrick. He was very good against Liverpool.
Six things I've learned from the internet about Moldova:
• Their best player, Alexandru Epureanu, is a central defender
• Their second-best player, Igor Armas, is a central defender (and also looks like an elongated Daniel Agger)
• There was probably no fuss made about them seeing their wives and girlfriends last night because they're adults and nobody really cares
• They are ranked 123 in the world, level with Cyprus but one place above Turkmenistan. Take that Turkmenistan
• They drew 1-1 with Poland in Warsaw in June and Eugen Sidorenco scored the goal
• Eugen Sidorenco is faster then Kenny Miller (this point is really only intended for Gary Cahill)
Evening. So England are going to win the World Cup in 2022, which is fine and all that. But of more pressing concern is churning out a routine win over Moldova at Wembley. And they should win this easily despite their injury concerns. They've played Moldova three times – all in World Cup qualifiers – and the results read: 3-0, 4-0, 5-0. So, if you like to make predictions on the back of numerical trends, this will be a 6-0 victory.
But it probably won't be. I expect that with Roy Hodgson having an eye on Tuesday's match in Ukraine this will be comfortable but largely soporific stuff. That's fine for England and their World Cup hopes – particularly so if Poland beat Montenegro in Warsaw, which will put England on top of the group – but probably a little disappointing if your name's Dr Fun and you're looking for Friday night entertainment that doesn't involve 14 pints of mood-enhancer and an indie disco.
But hey, Rickie Lambert's starting in attack and we remember what happened 166 seconds after he stepped on to the pitch against Scotland don't we?
It almost made watching England feel fun again.
Oh, and it's been lashing down in London today. So there may be some more entertainment if Moldova get close enough to England's goal to see how slippery Joe Hart's gloves are …