Wonder Wal is England hero

England hat-trick hero Theo Walcott emerged from Maksimir Stadium clutching the match ball after making history against Croatia.The 19-year-old's hat-trick raised England's hopes of reaching the 2010 World Cup.

England hat-trick hero Theo Walcott emerged from Maksimir Stadium clutching the match ball after making history against Croatia.

The 19-year-old's hat-trick raised England's hopes of reaching the 2010 World Cup.

Walcott, who is being hailed as a hero today, said: "I'm not going to get ahead of myself. I know what people will be saying, but I will just ignore it all.''

Wayne Rooney, who scored the other goal in the 4-1 win in Zagreb, led the tributes to Walcott, who was famously taken to the World Cup in 2006 but not used.

"He offers something a bit different. He is probably the quickest player I have seen,'' Rooney said.