Classy England brush aside lack-luster Finland
Goals from Phil Jones and Daniel Sturridge secured all three points for England as they defeated Finland 2-0.
After defeating Greece 4-2 in a thrilling match, Hodgson's men looked ahead to their next challenge, Finland, who has beat Slovenia 3-0 in Match Week 1, which sent them top of Group B after the first game.
A win for England would send them top and three points clear of 2nd place, which would really show their intent to qualify for Euro 2016 as soon as possible, however Finland will be no pushovers which left the tie very interesting to watch.
England XI vs Finland
(4-3-3) Hart; Walker, Cahill(c), Caulker, Baines; Jones, Wilshere, Henderson; Lallana, Sturridge, Welbeck.
Subs: Ruddy, Gibbs, Gerrard, Chamberlain, Jagielka, Carrick, Rodriguez.
Finland XI vs England
(4-4-1-1) Hradecky; Lampi, Kojola, Moisander(c), Raitala; Hetemaj, Sparv, Kauko, Aaritalo; Eremenko; Pukki.
Subs: Maenpaa, Kuqi, Ring, Pohjanpalo, Vayrynen, Hetemaj, Sumusalo.
Hodgson freshened up his team after the victory against Greece, most notably replacing free-scoring Wayne Rooney with his club team-mate Danny Welbeck.
Finland named the same side which impressed against Slovenia, with the in-form Pukki starting as a lone striker who impressively got 2 goals against Slovenia.
England kicked off and Wembley crowd roared, Jones passed the ball towards Wilshere, who passed it to Henderson. England were increasing the tempo with every pass, trying to stretch the Finland midfield and find an opening to attack, however a sloppy pass from Wilshere stopped all the pressure and gave Finland a throw.
England regained possession and Henderson immediately found Daniel Sturridge, who was situated on the left side of the England attack, Sturridge accelerated, and played a neat one-two with Danny Welbeck and drove the ball into the six yard box which was cleared away by Kojola but his clearance was only as far as Phil Jones, who chested the ball and struck it on the half volley, which flew into the bottom corner and gave England the lead within 3 minutes.
Finland tried to respond immediately, however their lone striker, Pukki, was isolated every time as he could not shrug off the man marking of Gary Cahill and lost the ball each time he gained possession, which left the young striker frustrated and calling for help from his midfield as he could not get any breathing space in England's final third.
England continued to dominate possession as Jordan Henderson played it towards Adam Lallana, who flicked the ball past his man and pulled the ball back to the end of the box where Daniel Sturridge had emerged and the Liverpool striker clinically finished the ball past Hradecky to give England a two goal lead.
Lethal: Daniel Sturridge(above) has scored 6 goals in 13 games for Liverpool already this season.
England carried on being the dominant force and were very solid in midfield as the Finish manager decided to push up his players more and instructed them to press the England midfield as it was successful for Greece when they played England in Match Week 1, however England weren't worried and kept the ball well in midfield.
England created one more final chance before half time as Jones teed off Lallana who struck a fierce, dipping shot which crashed against the top of Finland's crossbar and bounced out for a goal kick. The referee then blew his whistle to end the first half with England leading by two goals to nil with Phil Jones and Daniel Sturridge getting the goals for England.
Finland kicked off to begin the second half and played a few passes around the back to try and get a foot hold in the game, however sloppy play by Sparv gave England possession and they almost punished his mistake as Welbeck picked up the ball and struck a shot just beyond the far post, but warning signs were once again up for Finland.
Pukki then got away from Cahill after Eremenko feeded the ball through to the young striker, he then went on a neat run towards the right corner flag and drifted in a ball towards the incoming Kauko but the winger couldn't get his head to ball and it rolled out of play for an England throw in.
Finland then started to get more possession and tried to force an attack but each time they couldn't beat the England back four, however on one occasion, Kauko played in a lovely ball towards Pukki at the near post but Gary Cahill was there to cover and head the ball away and out of danger.
The stand-in England captain carried on dominating the Finish attack, and the Chelsea centre back put in a sensational block to deny Pukki from getting his third goal in the competition as he slid into the ball as Pukki neating flicked the ball towards Joe Hart's bottom corner and collided with the ball, forcing it to fly out of play for an England goal kick.
Lifeline: Gary Cahill(above) has put in the most blocks than any player in the tournament so far, 15.
England then regained possession and almost got a third when Henderson lifted a beautiful pass over the Finland back-line to set up Sturridge, but the Liverpool striker couldn't beat Hradecky for the second time today and the Finish goalkeeper kept his side in the game.
Finland then bombarded the England penalty box in the last few minutes of the game but Gary Cahill was outstanding as he cleared the ball countless times. The referee then blew his whistle to end the game meaning that England beat Finland 2-0 and were now 3 points clear of the team in second place.
Roy Hodgson's Post Match Comments:
"It was a very good performance by the whole team out there tonight, we created countless chances and kept it tight at the back which is the formula for success. We're now 3 points clear at the top and I really hope we can continue performing well right until the end of the qualification stage so we can be sure we have qualified and won the group."
England Goalscorer Daniel Sturridge:
"I'm always proud of every goal I score but it makes it much more special for me when I score for my country. I hope I can continue scoring for England and helping us qualify for the Euro's. I really want to become an England great and I believe that if I continue my goalscoring form I can really help contribute to the team."