Full-time - 90'
4 - 0
19:00 +00:00, September 3, 2010
Wembley Stadium, London, England
Referee: Viktor Kassai
Until then, it's goodbye from me. Thanks for following the action on ESPN Gamecast.
It's job well done for England, but they will face a stiffer challenge away to Switzerland on Tuesday.
But a bad night for Tottenham, with the injury to Defoe and the serious looking injury to Dawson.
But Gary Cahill did well when he came on, as did Adam Johnson, who scored his first England goal.
Rooney and Defoe were brilliant for England and the home side did well to weather the storm of the first 15 minutes of the second half, especially given the injury to Dawson.
That's the final whistle at Wembley. England beat Bulgaria 4-0 and start their qualification campaign for Euro 2012 in convincing style.
Cole, as ever, has been superb for England tonight.
As the game winds down at Wembley, Milner plays a ball over the top for Ashley Cole who is still running his heart out, but can't quite get to Milner's ball.
John Brewin at Wembley: "Defoe's selection paid off for England but will they have him for Basel? Injury problems mount for England and Tottenham."
Rooney chases back into his own half after losing the ball and makes what looks like a great tackle, but it was over exuberant for the referee's liking. Looked fine to me.
Great night for England, bad night for Tottenham.
GOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLL! 4-0 England! It's a hat-trick for Defoe! Great finish by Defoe with his left foot again! Another pass by Rooney set him up and Defoe finishes to the far post expertly, but he's picked up an injury there. Could it be that dodgy groin? Looks that way.
That's two assists for Rooney, by the way.
GOOOOAAAAAALLLLL! 3-0! It's a first international goal for Adam Johnson. Defoe breaks down the left, finds Rooney, who rolls it across to Johnson who beats the keeper at the near post from 15 yards. Keeper was wrong footed and probably should have saved it.
Jermain Defoe spanks one over the bar from 25 yards. Can be forgiven for eyeing the hat-trick there.
James Milner strides forward into Bulgaria territory to lead another England counter attack, waits for Adam Johnson to arrive and Johnson tries to bend in a shot from the edge of the box but can't get it inside the post.
Peev for Popov (Bulgaria)
Rooney, who is a growing influence on the game, finds Gerrard who smacks the ball goalbound from some 30 yards and it's a venomous shot that Mihailov spills and almost lets in Jermain Defoe for his third.
Adam Johnson on for Walcott (England)
John Brewin at Wembley: "Walcott has been as inconsistent as ever but poses a threat. Which is more than can be said for either Wright-Phillips or Lennon in South Africa."
But Joe Hart plucks the ball from the sky confidently.
Corner to Bulgaria. England look concerned...
Rangelov puts his head on a cross at the far post but the ball goes harmelessly wide for England.
But Bulgaria clear...
Milner is smacked in the face by the corner flag and he will get up to whip in the resulting free kick from the left.
Minev for Manolev (Bulgaria)
Rangelov for Bojinov (Bulgaria)
Great save by Joe Hart! Rangelov finds himself with the goal at his mercy but Hart makes a stunning reflex save to deny him.
Hard on Bulgaria who had been on top for the first 15 minutes of the second half.
GOOOOAAAALLLLLL!!! 2-0 England! It's a double for Defoe and excellent counter attacking play by England. Joe Hart makes a reflex save from Angelov and 10 seconds later Gerrard has led the counter attack, feeding Rooney, who finds Defoe with a perfectly weighted pass and he finishes left-footed under Mihailov. Great finish by Defoe.
Bulgaria playing with more urgency now. They are committing more men in attack now...
Gary Cahill is on for Michael Dawson (England)
John Brewin at Wembley: "I am afraid that looks a season-ender for Dawson. He is in absolute agony. Another victim of the Wembley pitch? It looks it."
Big problems for Michael Dawson here. He has jarred his knee rather innocuously but is in a great deal of pain. Ligaments perhaps? Whatever it is, Spurs fans should be worried.
John Brewin at Wembley: "Ivelin Popov with the second-best chance of the game and England's defending was sloppy. That raised the hackles of the Bulgarian fans who are now barking out 'Bul-gary'."
Popov toe-ends a shot from just inside the box to the far post but the ball goes just wide. That was very close, with Hart beaten.
But at the other end Rooney comes close with a great chip! With just Defoe ahead of him some 25 yards from goal he goes for a delicate chip from distance which Mihailov just about manages to tip over.
For a somewhat mysterious reason, a Bulgaria attack is brought back for an infringement by Rooney.
Bojinov shoots early from the left side of the penalty area after getting beyond Dawson, but the shot is wild and wide.
Second half is underway at Wembley...
Re-join me in 10 minutes or so for the second half...
I'm off for a half time cup of tea, but remember you can find me on Twitter at twitter.com/mjdasilva and ESPNsoccernet at twitter.com/espnsoccernet
John Brewin at Wembley: "Half-time and it's fair to say that England failed to build on their great start. Bulgaria have actually defended OK after that awful start but offered little up front. Better needed from England if Capello is not to face a post-match grilling from the likes of me."
No added time played by the referee and England lead Bulgaria 1-0 in a largely uneventful half at Wembley.
And that's half time.
Popov has the chance to get Bulgaria moving again down the right but his cross is Poor. With a capital 'P'. Bulgaria need to improve their final ball if they are to have a chance of getting into this game.
That England corner was straight off the training ground.
The well worked short corner finds Walcott whose low cross was looking for Defoe, but Bulgaria clear - amid a scramble in the 6 yard box.
James Milner cuts inside from the left and shoots with his right from just inside the box. The ball took a deflection and it's a corner...
Bulgaria are looking pretty toothless in attack, partly due to their failure to get Martin Petrov into the game so far.
John Brewin at Wembley: "That the Mexican wave has started rather says it all. This game has gone stale - even despite that switch of passing between Rooney and Defoe. They look like a partnership."
Rooney again drops so deep to pick up the ball. Why he's doing that while England have the likes of Gerrard on the field, I don't know! But he lofts it into Defoe, who can't make an impression under pressure in the box.
Rooney bursts into the box with real purpose, attempts a 1-2 with Cole, but the Chelsea full-back overhits his pass to Rooney and Mihailov gathers.
Angelov looks for Bojinov with a crisp pass but Dawson steps in to intercept for England. Bulgaria enjoying more possession now than at any other stage of the game but failing to do anything decisive with it.
A mazy run by Walcott on the right ends with a cross that is deflected and tipped over for an England corner.
Another sustained spell of possession for England ends with a shot by Milner from 25 yards or so from goal which is saved. But why is Rooney dropping so deep for the ball? He was BEHIND Milner when he let fly there, surely he should be on the shoulder of the last defender?
England enjoy a good spell of possession but it's Gareth Barry who gives the ball away. England win it back and find Milner, who puts in a right-footed cross from the left but Mihailov punches away under pressure from Rooney.
England have lost some of that early momentum and now Bulgaria have the initiative.
After 24 minutes, Bulgaria have finally settled.
Bojinov is clean through for a milisecond but takes an awful touch, and Jagielka manages to put in a timely tackle.
What is Glen Johnson doing?? A deep cross from Bulgaria's right this time evades everyone but catches Johnson by surprise who strokes the ball back to Joe Hart. Close to an own goal by Johnson and even closer to a backpass. Bulgaria have a case.
Milanov puts a deep cross in from the left, which is headed clear. But England under more pressure now.
Walcott motors forward on the right and hurries his cross under pressure from Stoyanov and the ball doesn't find the waiting Defoe.
John Brewin at Wembley: "The Bulgarian fans, some of whom I saw arriving in stretch limos, are in full voice here. Wembley's toppermost reaches are empty of England fans."
Excellent cross by Milner from the right towards Milner, but Rooney is beaten to the header in the box.
Gareth Barry appeared to shove Popv in the back as the Bulgarian tried to chest the ball down on the edge of the box but no foul is given. That looked like a clear foul by Barry.
Milner has settled well for England in the first 13 minutes or so, looks very comfortable on the ball.
Walcott tries an impossible low cross but Bulgaria's keeper Mihailov gathers easily. That was a weird one from Walcott.
Defoe is looking sprightly, as is Rooney, and the pair are scurrying around like hounds, giving Bulgaria no time to compose themselves in defence
Ivanov hits the ball long for Bojinov but the ball is too far ahead of the former Manchester City striker and, still, Bulgaria wait to string their first meaningful set of passes together.
Bulgaria just not doing the basics right at the moment: They leave Glen Johnson in acres of space on the right, but his cross is cut out.
It's all England in the opening stages as Gerrard finds Walcott on the right, the Arsenal man cuts inside his man and fires a left footed shot wide of the near post from the edge of the box.
John Brewin, Soccernet Editor, from Wembley Stadium: "Absolute pandemonium in the Bulgarian box, and Defoe's dodgy groin held up enough for him to raise the Wembley roof. England could get another quickly too."
GOOOOAAAAAALLLLLL!!!! 1-0 England! Perfect start for England and it's Jermain Defoe with the goal. Good work by Ashley Cole down the left saw him find Defoe with a cross at the second attempt and the Spurs striker finished well from close range.
England are playing in their new kit (yes, another one) which features mid-blue shorts. Bulgaria are in red shirts and green shorts.
We are underway...
The national anthems have been sung, the pleasantries are done, and we are ready to go at Wembley...
The players have emerged from the tunnel to a disappointingly half empty Wembley. I would guess that there's only 50,000 here...
Bulgaria's line-up: Mihailov, Ivanov, Milanov, Manolev, Iliyan Stoyanov, Yankov, Angelov, Stiliyan Petrov, Martin Petrov, Bojinov, Popov.
But there is no place in the starting line up for Manchester City's Adam Johnson, with Theo Walcott rewarded for his superb early season Arsenal form with a place on the right side of England's midfield.
Bit of an injury crisis up front as Jermain Defoe delays groin surgery to play. England will hope Wayne Rooney is back to his best.
Interesting one as Dawson and Jagielka are paired together. Very inexperienced at the back without the injured Terry and Ferdinand.
England team to face Bulgaria tonight: Hart; G Johnson, Dawson, Jagielka, A
Cole; Walcott, Milner, Barry, Gerrard; Defoe, Rooney.
Jermain Defoe and Wayne Rooney are set to start for England
Join us at 2000 BST for a live commentary from England's game with Bulgaria at Wembley.