On this day: England see off Wales in World Cup qualifier

On this day: England see off Wales
© Getty Images
Nine years ago today, England and Wales met for the first time since 1984, with the Three Lions running out 2-0 winners.

Ever since their first meeting way back in 1879, England and Wales had met on a regular basis, primarily in the British Championships.

However, when that tournament was abolished in 1984, encounters between the two nations became few and far between.

As a result, when England were drawn in the same 2006 World Cup qualifying group as both Northern Ireland and Wales, it was met with much anticipation.

The Three Lions collected four points from their first two group clashes, which meant that they went into their clash against Mark Hughes's Wales at Old Trafford nine years ago today unbeaten.

Incidentally, the last fixture between these British rivals, played 20 years previously, was won 1-0 by the Dragons thanks to a goal from Hughes.

On this occasion, though, Sven-Goran Eriksson's England were too strong. He was able to welcome back Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand following his eight-month suspension for a missed drugs test, while his club teammate Wayne Rooney also featured for the first time since breaking his foot at the European Championships in Portugal earlier that year.

The home team started the brighter and with just four minutes on the clock they took the lead, albeit with a touch of fortune. Michael Owen played the ball into the path of Frank Lampard, who instantly shot for goal. Although his effort was well struck, it would have been collected by Paul Jones, but the ball clipped Owen's heel and flew past the helpless Wales goalkeeper.

With Paul Robinson virtually redundant in the home goal, England set about putting the contest beyond the reach of their visitors.

It took them until 14 minutes from time to seal the outcome, though, as David Beckham gained possession in an unusual wide left position. Nevertheless, he cut inside and unleashed a curling right-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area that left Jones grasping at thin air.

Despite that goal, the England skipper would make the headlines for controversial reasons when he was later booked for a challenge on Ben Thatcher. The former United midfielder admitted after the game that having sustained a broken rib earlier in the match, he deliberately went about to be cautioned so he could serve a suspension against Azerbaijan.

"It was deliberate. I knew I will be out for a few weeks, so I thought 'Let's get the yellow card out of the way'. I'm sure some people think that I have not got the brains to be that clever, but I do have the brains. I could feel the injury, so I fouled Thatcher," he was quoted as saying.

England went on to qualify for the World Cup as group winners, one point ahead of Poland, while Wales were only kept off the bottom by minnows Azerbaijan.

ENGLAND: Robinson; G Neville, Campbell, Ferdinand, Ashley Cole; Beckham (Hargreaves 85), Lampard, Butt; Rooney (King 86), Defoe (Smith 70), Owen

WALES: Jones; Delaney, Gabbidon, Thatcher; Davies, Koumas (Earnshaw 73), Speed, Pembridge (Robinson 59), Giggs; Bellamy, Hartson

England manager Roy Hodgson prior to kick-off in the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine on September 10, 2013
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