MX23RW : Sunday, September 23 05:11:59

Match Analysis: Estonia 0-1 England

Sports Mole casts an analytical eye over England's slender victory in Estonia.

England maintained their 100% start to Euro 2016 qualifying by winning their third game of the campaign in Tallinn against Estonia.

It was a far from perfect performance by Roy Hodgson's side against an Estonia team that were down to 10 men from the 48th minute.

In the end, Wayne Rooney's curling free kick, his 43rd international goal, proved to be enough for England to eek out three points.

Here, Sports Mole digs a little deeper and runs the rule over the 90 minutes at the A. Le Coq Arena.

Match statistics

Estonia
Shots: 7
On target: 1
Possession: 23%
Corners: 1
Fouls: 15

England
Shots: 25
On target: 6
Possession: 77%
Corners: 5
Fouls: 9

Was the result fair?

England were dominant for basically the whole game, but they certainly didn't do enough to win this game handsomely. A 1-0 scoreline in the visitors' favour is about right after they struggled, especially in the second half, to break down their opponents with a numerical advantage.

Estonia's performance

The home side managed just one shot on target all game and that came very late on when a 40-yard free kick dribbled through to Joe Hart. Even though they were a man down in the second half, they actually defended better as England started to run out of ideas. In the first half they were outclassed by England's dynamic midfield and completely overrun.

Sergei Pareiko in goal would have expected to have been busier and might think that he should have done better with Rooney's free kick. He did make an excellent late save to deny the Manchester United man a second, though. As for captain Ragnar Klavan, he was so stupid to take out Delph and earn that second yellow card. His side might have played well without him, but his dismissal effectively took away any chance the Blueshirts had of winning.

England's performance

Another fairly drab display by the Three Lions. After stumbling to a 5-0 win over Group E's minnows, San Marino, on Thursday, today would have again been a struggle to watch for fans. As mentioned above, the midfield was especially bright in the first half and might have felt a bit let down by the poor finishing of the front three of Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Adam Lallana.

Jack Wilshere was the liveliest of the lot and set up a number of chances, especially for Rooney, but they weren't taken. The defence had few problems and if anything full-backs Calum Chambers and Leighton Baines should have done more going forward given the narrow diamond that Hodgson opted for. Plenty to work on, but another win.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Jack Wilshere: England's best spell of the match was in the first half when Wilshere, Fabian Delph and Jordan Henderson were working superbly together in midfield. They always knew where each other were and if two went forward, the other would drop back and hold position in front of the defence. Wilshere was the pick of the bunch and his driving runs and clever passing earns him man of the match.

Biggest gaffe

Klavan was certainly a clown for getting sent off, but we're going to pick on Rooney for his airshot in the first half when all he had to do was get something on Baines's low centre.

Referee performance

Croatia's Marijo Strahonja had an odd display as ref. He was inconsistent with his yellow cards, booking Baines for absolutely nothing while Cahill should have picked up a booking for a couple of dodgy tackles. He made the right call with the red card, though - Klavan gave him virtually no choice.

What next?

Estonia: The Blueshirts now have three points from three games and next play Norway in a friendly before a qualifier against San Marino next month.

England: Hodgson's side return to international action with a home qualifier against Slovenia on November 15 before taking on Scotland in what will no doubt be a heated friendly three days later.

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Wayne Rooney of England celebrates after scoring the opening goal from a free kick during the EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Estonia and England at A. Le Coq Arena on October 12, 2014
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Result: England earn narrow win over Estonia
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