Defoe justifies selection as England goes 34 qualifying matches unbeaten
Reuters / Eddie Keogh Livepic

London - Jermain Defoe adorned his international comeback with a goal as England toiled to a 2-0 victory over Lithuania in a forgettable World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Sunday.

Defoe, 34, was making his first England appearance since November 2013, having been recalled by manager Gareth Southgate, and he marked his return with the opening goal midway through the second half.

Substitute Jamie Vardy added a second goal as England tightened its grip on first place in UEFA qualifying Group F in Southgate's first home game as permanent manager.

His side is now the last team in European qualifying yet to have conceded a goal.

Defoe's strike, the Sunderland veteran's 20th in 56 caps, was an obvious high point, and second-half substitute Marcus Rashford delivered an impressive cameo.

But the stubbornly unadventurous nature of Lithuania's approach to the game, which made for a soporific match, meant there was little to shout about from an England perspective.

The game was preceded by the laying of wreaths and a minute's silence in honour of the four people killed and over 50 injured in Wednesday's terror attack in London.

Having tested out a 3-4-2-1 system in the mid-week 1-0 friendly defeat in Germany, Southgate reverted to a back four and his side was quickly on the front foot, with Adam Lallana prominent.

The Liverpool midfielder saw a deflected shot caught by Ernestas Setkus, and then produced a clever pass down the inside-right channel for Defoe, whose shot was blocked by the Lithuania goalkeeper.

Defoe's penalty-box cunning was one of the reasons Southgate picked him over Vardy, and he vindicated his manager's call by putting England ahead in the 22nd minute.

Defoe justifies selection as England goes 34 qualifying matches unbeaten
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