England has made a solid start in their European cup qualifier away game against Bulgaria.

The visitors looked uncomfortable at first, perhaps due to their wearing an unusual blue away kit in place of the traditional red.

Both Scott Parker and Stuart Downing attempted to assemble the beginnings of an England attack, yet the Bulgarians proved adept at thwarting their manoeuvres and holding possession.

It was the Bulgarians too who had first shot at goal, with Martin Petrov smashing the ball over the English goal.

Downing, teaming up with Chris Smalling, again attempted an attack, only to be denied the chance to shoot again. The failed attempt was followed by a more successful one, with Ashley Cole getting a shot off a pass from Ashley Young. No goal, however.

A more settled England finally took the lead after Gareth Barry took a corner kick which Gary Cahill put into the Bulgarian net by chesting and kicking the ball. 1-0 to England.

With the Bulgarian defence shaken by its failure, England started press harder. However the Bulgarian attack refused to be cowed, with Petrov threatening to equalise, but to no avail.

His defiance did nothing however to prevent England going 2-0 up, again thanks to a corner, which Wayne Rooney converted into a goal. A third corner threatened the Bulgarians, but the home keeper Nikolay Mihaylov scooped up the ball.

Again however, Bulgaria attacked with Smalling clearing a muffed save by Joe Hart, who struggled to contain a shot from Blagoy Georgiev. Cole also had to make his presence felt, making a diving header to clear a Bulgarian cross.

The first setback for England came with less than 10 minutes remaining of the first half, with Scott Parker getting himself a yellow card for a sloppy tackle.

With just a few minutes to go of the first half, Petrov seemed determined to salvage Bulgiarian honour, with two shots within minutes of each other being saved and sent across the goal face.

While his efforts where fruitless, England continued their forward march with Rooney knocking in a cross from Young.

At half time England lead 3-0.