Darren Fletcher was on the wrong end of a more closely-fought contest in Cardiff, where he made his first appearance for Scotland since November 2011. He was on course to be the winning captain after a first-half strike from West Brom's James Morrison but then two goals in the last ten minutes from Tottenham's Gareth Bale - one a long-range screamer, the other a penalty - secured a 2-1 victory for Wales in qualifying Group A. Nani was on the losing side away from home too, as Portugal were defeated 1-0 by Group F rivals Russia.
Another United midfielder Shinji Kagawa had more joy on the road, playing a full 90 minutes as Japan beat France 1-0 in a friendly match. Old Trafford team-mate Patrice Evra looked on as an unused substitute. Robin van Persie also remained in the dug-out as Holland won 3-0 at home to Andorra in qualifying Group D.
Young Reds striker Joshua King came off the bench, however, to help Norway earn an away point in Switzerland. He entered the fray in the 71st minute, not long before Mario Gavranovic and Brede Hangeland traded goals in the 1-1 draw.
Javier Hernandez followed Rooney and Welbeck's lead and also notched a goal for his country in a 5-0 victory. Chicharito scored the fourth goal in Houston, USA, as Mexico finally wore down the 'hosts' Guyana. All of the Mexicans' strikes came in a devastating nine-minute burst between the 77th and 86th minutes.
Antonio Valencia and Angelo Henriquez's countries squared up in Quito - although neither United player was involved as Ecuador beat Chile 3-1 in the South American qualifying group.