England duo on WHUTV

West Ham United duo Robert Green and Matthew Upson helped England to secure qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa with a 5-1 victory over Croatia on Wednesday.

Green and Upson were both named in Fabio Capello's starting eleven as England laid the ghosts of their ill-fated 2008 UEFA European Championship qualifying campaign to rest at Wembley.


Goalkeeping errors saw the Three Lions fail to reach last summer's tournament in Austria and Switzerland, but Hammers No1 Green helped to ensure their was no repeat as England won for the eighth time in eight qualifying matches.

Croatia, managed by former West Ham defender Slaven Bilic, who scored three goals in 54 games for the Hammers between February 1996 and May 1997, were unable to secure the win they needed to have any chance of delaying England's qualification.

Another ex-Hammer, Frank Lampard, and Steven Gerrard both scored twice, while Wayne Rooney was also target as England bettered the 4-1 victory they scored in Zagreb a year ago.

Lampard opened the scoring from the penalty spot on eight minutes before Gerrard nodded home Aaron Lennon's deep right-wing cross ten minutes later.

Croatia tried in vain to make a game of it after half-time, but Lampard's second - his 20th international goal - settled matters on 59 minutes, heading home Glen Johnson's cross, before Gerrard nodded Rooney's lob past the stranded Vedran Runje.

With England four goals up, Green was finally called into action, saving well from Niko Kranjcar and Mario Mandzukic, only for Eduardo Da Silva to slam the ball into the roof of the net to deny the 29-year-old a clean sheet 18 minutes from time.

At the other end, Runje's misery was complete on 77 minutes when his mis-kick allowed Rooney to score England's fifth.

Elsewhere, Danny Gabbidon played for 74 minutes as Wales were beaten 3-1 by Russia at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. Defeat left John Toshack's side fourth in Group 4, with nine points from eight games. Russia remain second, a point behind leaders Germany.

Radoslav Kovac was an unused substitute as the Czech Republic thrashed minnows San Marino 7-0 in Uherske Hradiste.

The Czechs' victory enhanced their chances of qualifying from Group 3. With two games remaining, they trail second-placed Northern Ireland, who only have one match left to play, by two points. Kovac and his international colleagues host fourth-placed Poland and Northern Ireland in their final two group fixtures on 10 and 14 October respectively.

Jonathan Spector was the final Hammer in international action on Wednesday, with the US winning 1-0 in Trinidad and Tobago to take a stranglehold in their qualifying zone. In his familiar right-back role, Spector played the whole 90 minutes for the second international in a week and, at only 23, has moved on to 20 caps.

The Americans have moved to the top of the six-team CONCACAF group, with 16 points from eight matches, ahead of Mexico and Honduras. The top three finishers qualify automatically, with the fourth-placed side facing the fifth-placed South American finisher in a two-legged play-off.