WAYNE ROONEY'S double inspired England to a six-goal demolition of hapless Andorra - the perfect reward for the 58,000 fans who defied the Tube strike to be at Wembley.

Second-half substitute Jermain Defoe also scored twice as Fabio Capello's men all but guaranteed their place in the 2010 World Cup Finals in South Africa.

Click here for more great pictures from England 6, Andorra 0

It was England's biggest win in a competitive game - if you could call the Andorra side competitive - since 1999 but Capello refused to get carried away.

He said: "You have to win another game to be sure of going to South Africa. We have created a group. This is important, the spirit of the group. We always play to win."

Capello also praised the supporters who got to the stadium despite the tube strike.

He said: "I am very happy for the fans, very happy for the people that stayed here. I am happy today.".

Anything other than victory over an Andorra side ranked 196th in the world was never seriously considered.

Now though, after hitting their part-time opponents for six at Wembley, just as they did against Luxembourg a decade ago, the Three Lions know a win against Croatia on September 9 will seal a place at next year's World Cup with two games to spare.

HEAD BOY - Jermain Defoe (left) heads his first goal against Andorra
HEAD BOY - Jermain Defoe (left) heads his first goal against Andorra

And if England make it, Fabio Capello will want Rooney in the same form as he has showed this season, his latest brace enough for him to streak clear in the World Cup qualifying sharp-shooters table with eight goals.

Frank Lampard's effort was sandwiched in between and half-time substitute Defoe scored twice in as many minutes before Peter Crouch netted his 14th goal in 16 international starts to take England's overall tally to 26.

ROO ARE YOU - Wayne Rooney celebrates his goals for England
ROO ARE YOU - Wayne Rooney celebrates his goals for England

Defoe could be particularly pleased with his cameo, Rooney was the name on supporters lips as they began a journey home somewhat more testing than anything Andorra provided for their team.

In a bid to get the most out of Rooney, Capello came up with a rather simplistic hint for the Manchester United striker, get in front of the goal.

While it would be slightly silly to offer Sir Alex Ferguson any advice, given the wider role he was given at Old Trafford, Capello's way is better.

Certainly the statistics, eight goals in seven World Cup matches compared to 12 in an entire Premier League season, seem to bear that theory out.

And, with possibly both Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo heading out of the Red Devils camp this summer, Ferguson might have to rejig his forward line anyway.

It must have been particularly gratifying for the Italian to see Rooney drill home a couple of close-range efforts before the interval as England disposed of their part-time opponents with the minimum of fuss.

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Indeed, there seems to be a touch of genius about Capello's entire management strategy given England are now consistently delivering performances of such assured confidence - a bad 35 minutes in Kazakhstan apart - it is difficult to believe they failed to score in the first-half of their last meeting with Andorra in September.

There was never any chance of such a stalemate this time around. Rooney could have been celebrating his hat-trick when Glen Johnson picked him out with a deep cross to head home his first.

That came after just four minutes, which tells you all you need to know about whether this was a proper contest.

LAMP LIGHT - Frank Lampard celebrates his first-half goal
LAMP LIGHT - Frank Lampard celebrates his first-half goal

A smart turn on to Steven Gerrard's pass created Rooney's first opening, a deft chip that Koldo Alvarez did well to touch over the bar. The second was a more instinctive header that crashed back off the crossbar after Alvarez had denied Theo Walcott.

Peter Crouch and Gerrard might have scored in a little flurry around the 10 minute mark but England were made to wait almost until the half hour before finding the net again, Frank Lampard powerfully drilling home Walcott's cutback.

Lampard said: "It was not as easy as it looked that game - they just sat back We've found ourselves as a group. We always knew we had the individuals but were not working as a team. You can see the results on the pitch."

Lampard dedicated the result to the "incredible" supporters who made a potentially arduous journey to and from Wembley, and David Beckham added: "They deserved those goals because we all knew it wouldn't be easy to get to the game and those goals and the performance were for the fans."

Johnson was the provider for a momentous goal for Rooney, which allowed him to draw level with Sir Geoff Hurst as England's 12th highest scorer on 24.

FLY BY NIGHT - Peter Crouch goes close with a spectacular volley
FLY BY NIGHT - Peter Crouch goes close with a spectacular volley

For the record, Rooney also equalled Gary Lineker's record for the most goals in a single international season, 10.

As Rooney notoriously hates missing any football, he might not have taken his half-time substitution too well, particularly as the opposition suggested a first England hat-trick was on the cards.

However, in replacing both Rooney and Gerrard with Defoe and Ashley Young, Capello was able to have a decent look at a couple of the fringe players who hope to be on the flight to South Africa in 12 months' time.

Defoe took his chance well scoring twice, Johnson setting up the first to take his number of assists to three, in a similar manner to Rooney before Crouch tapped home after a woeful mistake from Alvarez.

Capello will realise his team must overcome far stiffer tests if they are to emulate the 1966 heroes who got long overdue medals to mark their achievement.

But the signs are undeniably positive. And, one senses, in his own understated way, the Italian knows it.

England are now all but guaranteed a place in the 2010 World Cup Finals in South Africa after their seventh straight win in Group Six.


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