Anton and Nigel make Wembley history

Nigel Reo-Coker and Anton Ferdinand both made history on Saturday by taking part in the first match at the new Wembley stadium.

The Hammers pair both played the full 90 minutes as England's Under-21s fought out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Italy, more than six years after the last international match at the famous venue.

Reo-Coker became the first captain to lead the country out at the magnificent new arena - a moment he described as 'priceless' - and, although Italy striker Gianpaolo Pazzini earned the honour of scoring the first goal with a shot that deflected off Ferdinand after just 29 seconds and stole the show with a hat-trick, the Hammers pair certainly played their part in a memorable encounter.

"I can't really put it into words," said Nigel after the game. "I feel so proud and privileged to be given the opportunity to lead England out at the first game here at the new Wembley. It was a priceless moment, a moment I will cherish.

"It was a great game of football and we used it for preparation for the Championship. Two great nations with a great football history. "We will take a lot from the game. Going behind so early in the game and to come back in the way we did and take the lead, it's all a learning process for us."

Meanwhile, West Ham United's senior international representatives experienced mixed fortunes in the weekend's Euro 2008 qualifying matches.

Midfielder Yossi Benayoun was satisfied after captaining Israel to a battling 0-0 draw against England in Tel Aviv, a result that heaped more pressure on under-fire England coach Steve McClaren.

However, Welsh defender James Collins ended up on the losing side in a 'local derby' against the Republic of Ireland, who marked a first appearance at their new Croke Park home with a 1-0 victory thanks to a goal from their aptly-named midfielder Stephen Ireland.

Christian Dailly was an unused substitute as Scotland celebrated Alex McCleish's first game in charge with a 2-1 win over Georgia.

Elsewhere, defender Lucas Neill continued his return from injury with an appearance for Australia in their 2-0 friendly win over China.