Six goals, six debutants, three points and no sign of a sea change. England could not have wished for a more comfortable start to their attempt to qualify for a fourth successive European Under-21 Championship as they disposed of Azerbaijan with ease, but there was nothing here to suggest that they will fare any better in the 2013 finals in Israel, if they get there, than they did during June’s dispiriting performance in the 2011 tournament.
A journey of 2,250 miles begins with a single step, and although England were scarcely bothered by their Caucasian visitors in their opening European Championship qualifier, it was an encouragingly cohesive display from the side that Stuart Pearce hopes will lead him to Israel in 2013.
Hornblogger: I remember fondly the last Under 21 international at Vicarage Road which took place 23 years ago. My mate Laurence and I refer to it regularly because it was at the time, and probably remains, one of the most boring games we’d ever witnessed. For years afterwards we ceased using words like boring, dull and grim and instead would use ‘Denmark Under 21’s’ to describe anything bad that happened.