Frank Lampard scored a brace to lead England to a comfortable victory to begin their qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup. The Chelsea man opened the scoring inside four minutes from the penalty spot and doubled the visitors' lead with a headed simple header. Jermain Defoe added a third before the break, before James Milner and Leighton Baines added an emphatic nature to the score line in the second half.
After being thrust into the job shortly before Euro 2012, in many respects the match in Chisinau saw the true beginning of Roy Hodgson's reign on the England bench. Despite a difficult pitch, Hodgson couldn't have wished for much better opposition for which to kick-start England's qualification campaign with three points.
That's how things panned out too, as England took control right from the off.
England were perhaps a tad fortunate with the manner of the opening goal, however. James Milner crossed low from the right and Tom Cleverley aimed a shot at goal that was blocked intentionally at close range by the arm of Moldovan defender Semion Bulgaru. It was a little harsh, but the referee pointed to the spot and Lampard duly converted with a low effort to the goalkeeper's right.
Just shy of the half-hour mark, Lampard made it 2-0. Glen Johnson angled a ball into the box and the 34-year-old, on a characteristic run from deep, easily got in between two defenders to place his header past Stanislav Namasco from six yards. The effort brought up Lampard's half-century of goals for his country.
Three minutes later the result was put beyond doubt. Jermain Defoe marked his 50th cap for England with a typically clinical finish as he struck low first time after a neat pass by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
England took their foot firmly off the pedal in a second half that was finally livened up by a goal in the 74th minute. Milner produced a fine low drive from the edge of the area from substitute Theo Walcott's low pass from the right.
The scoring was wrapped-up seven minutes from time as Leighton Baines' free-kick took a dramatic deflection to fly past Namasco into the far side of the net..
England should face a far sterner examination at home to Ukraine on Tuesday as they seek to finish top of a group also containing Poland, Montenegro and San Marino.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.