Upson plays as England shine

Matthew Upson played the full 90 minutes as England made their best start to World Cup qualifying in more than 30 years with a 3-1 win in Belarus.

Fabio Capello's men have won all four of their opening games to hold a commanding lead at the top of Group 6. Steven Gerrard's eleventh-minute shot from range was cancelled out just before the half-hour mark by Pavel Sitko but Wayne Rooney took over after the interval. He struck first from Emile Heskey's left-wing cross before wrapping up the win with a deft finish from Gerrard's pass with 15 minutes to play.

Upson was winning his eleventh cap and had a relatively comfortable night alongside stand-in skipper Rio Ferdinand, in the absence of usual captain John Terry. He could even have added a fourth, going close with a free header in the closing stages. The No6 was the only West Ham United player in the party that travelled to Minsk after Robert Green's withdrawal with a sore knee. The goalkeeper should be fit to play away to Hull City on Sunday.

In the European qualifying zone, the winners of each group will progress to the 2010 World Cup. The eight best runners-up will then be drawn into four play-off matches with the winners of each two-legged tie joining the pool winners in South Africa.