Frank Lampard scored the two England goals that took him to 25 in his international career last night, surpassing Geoff Hurst in the all-time goalscorers' list, as England cruised to a 5-0 victory over Moldova in their first 2014 World Cup qualifier.
In England's biggest away win since a 7-1 victory over San Marino 19 years ago, Lampard scored two – the first a penalty – with Jermain Defoe, James Milner and Leighton Baines giving the side the win over Moldova, ranked 141st in the world by Fifa.
Lampard said: "At my age, you cherish and appreciate wins like this more. [As for playing alongside Gerrard] Steve is a great player, we all know that. I suppose at times we have to come up with answers and we've done that tonight. It was a proud moment. It was an achievement I can look back on with pride.
"We are trying to improve. We took out foot off the pedal in the second half, which is perhaps understandable with a game to come in a few days, but we will need to keep at a higher level for 90 minutes against Ukraine, who are a better team."
Of Lampard, Hodgson said: "He was excellent. Frank, like Steven [Gerrard], is a quality player. Quality is permanent, and that's proved itself time and time again. They might not always play to the top of their game, because football is football, but you're better off going into games having that quality on the field. I'm happy to have the pair of them, and Michael Carrick as well."
The only concern was John Terry's ankle injury that forced the defender to come off before the end of the game. Hodgson said that the defender would be assessed today to see determine whether he would be fit to play against Ukraine in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier. "John's a warrior, so he pooh-poohed the suggestion he should come off with 20 minutes to go. He took a kick on the ankle in the first half and then twisted it slightly when he landed in front of the bench."
Gerrard was also substituted at half-time but Hodgson said that was purely a precaution with the team already 3-0 up. The England manager said that Ashley Cole trained yesterday at Chelsea's Cobham base and his ankle will be assessed tomorrow for the Ukraine game. Baines' assured performance gives Hodgson a very good option should he be without his first-choice 98-cap left-back again.
"I'm very pleased. It's the first match in a qualifying group for a World Cup, which is always a nervous occasion. You're always concerned you'll not produce the performance you want, or the result, but we got off to the best possible start, controlled the game throughout and I don't think the scoreline flattered us," he said.
"Sometimes 5-0 victories do, but not this one. We're pleased, but now we have a couple of days to prepare for the next one. Tuesday is against one of the teams who could be one of the favourites to win the group."
The goal for Baines came on the occasion of his first start in a competitive game for England, taking a deflection off a Moldova defender on its way in. Baines said: "I'll try to claim it, although I'm not sure they'll give it to me or not. It was definitely going on target.
"The early goals helped, made it more comfortable by half-time. We just needed to see the game out. We could have played better second half but the game was won. The main thing was to not concede a goal. It gets us off to a good start and the goal difference could play a part later on, so it's nice to get them on the board.
"The goal was not one of my more memorable ones. It took a pretty big deflection but if they give it to me then I'll be happy. I don't know if you'd describe it as a Brazilian free-kick – it was more like one you'd see in the park."Reuse content