Gerrard fires England to World Cup

Steven Gerrard was on target twice for England tonight as they crushed Croatia 5-1 at Wembley to seal their qualification for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Gerrard started the game alongside club teammate Glen Johnson, who had a solid game at right-back despite a slip to concede Croatia’s second half consolation goal.

The Liverpool skipper jumped to head home an Aaron Lennon cross from the right on 17 minutes after Frank Lampard had given the hosts the lead just 6 minutes in.

Lampard then got himself a second and England’s third shortly into the second half, before Gerrard’s thumping header from a Wayne Rooney cross after great work between the pair made it 4.

Rooney then scored his 25th goal for England when a goalkeeper error let him in late on.

The result ensures England will be at next year’s World Cup after missing out on Euro 2008. They still have two more qualifying games to play, however, away to Ukraine on 10th October and at home to Belarus four days later (yes, another international break).

Elsewhere, Dirk Kuyt started in Holland’s 1-0 victory over Scotland at Hamden Park, but was booked for diving in the second half.

Yossi Benayoun’s Israel thrashed sorry Luxembourg 7-0, Sotirios Kyrgiakos was in action as Greece drew 1-1 with Moldova and Martin Skrtel’s Slovakia beat Northern Ireland 2-0.

Andriy Voronin played the first half of Ukraine’s goalless draw with Belarus.

Javier Mascherano’s Argentina play away at Paraguay later tonight and Lucas’ Brazil are home to Chile.