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England brush aside Kazakhstan in Almaty

  • Story Highlights
  • England thrash Kazakhstan 4-0 in Almaty in World Cup Group Six qualifier
  • Gareth Barry, Emile Heskey, Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard score goals
  • England top the group with six wins from six games and heading for South Africa
  • Netherlands first European team to qualify for World Cup finals
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(CNN) -- England recovered from a nervy opening to thrash Kazakhstan 4-0 in Almaty and strengthen their grip on World Cup qualifying Group Six with a perfect record after six games.

Batty wheels away after scoring England's opener in Almaty.

Batty wheels away after scoring England's opener in Almaty.

Manchester City's big money signing Gareth Barry put Fabio Capello's men ahead before former Aston Villa teammate Emile Heskey netted his first goal for England in a competitive match since the 2002 World Cup.

Second half goals from Wayne Rooney, his eighth in his last six internationals, and a Frank Lampard penalty put England out of sight.

But the Kazakhs gave them a fright in the opening skirmishes as straight from the kick off, England defender Glen Johnson gave the ball away.

Zhambyl Kukeyev cut down the wing and his cross was intercepted by John Terry as Sergey Ostapenko looked certain to score.

England survived an even bigger scare as Kukeyev's free kick was headed home by Ostapenkom only to see it ruled out for a marginal offside.

Capello admitted on Setanta Sports that his side had been caught out at the start.

"They started very strong and they were pressing a lot. For us it was not easy to play the ball.

"We tried to play and move the ball quickly but on this pitch it was not easy to find our passes. They were always too long."

But England slowly worked their way into the match and took firm command after Batty broke the deadlock on 40 minutes as he converted Steven Gerrard's deep cross.

Liverpool star Gerrard was again involved in the second goal on the stroke of halftime as his deflected cross left Heskey with a tap-in.

England stuttered through the second half until Rooney added a third with 18 minutes remaining as he scissor kicked home after his first effort had been blocked.

Lampard added the fourth from the after Heskey had been brought down by Renat Abdulin.

England host minnows Andorra on Wednesday at Wembley knowing that victory will take them to 21 points and all but assured a place in the finals in South Africa next year.

They are seven points clear of Croatia who were held 2-2 by Ukraine in a later Group 6 match. Tottenham's Luka Modric scored the final equalizer for Croatia.

The Netherlands became the first European team to qualify after beating Iceland to seal top spot in Group 9.

Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong scored in the ninth minute and Mark van Bommel doubled the lead seven minutes for the Dutch.

Kristjan Orn Sigurdsson scored a consolation for Iceland in the 88th.

Serbia strengthened their position in Group 7 as Nenad Milijas scored a seventh-minute penalty to see them beat Austria 1-0.

They have 15 points after six games, five more than second-place France, who have played a game less. France, who play the Faroe Islands on Wednesday, beat Turkey 1-0 in a friendly on Friday night.

Thomas Kahlenberg scored an early goal as Denmark beat Sweden in the Scandinavian derby in Group 1.

Thomas Sorensen saved a penalty for the Danes who are top of the group with 16 points from six games with Sweden back in fourth.

The Republic of Ireland boosted their hopes of qualification with a 1-1 draw against Bulgaria in Sofia in Group 8.

Ireland took the lead in the 24th minute as man of the match Richard Dunne scored with a header.

Dimitar Telkiyski equalized in the 29th with a curling shot but Ireland are just one point behind group leaders Italy having played a game more.

Italy beat a youthful Northern Ireland side 3-0 in a friendly as Giuseppe Rossi scored one goal and set up another in a comfortable win.

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