England through to second round after 2-0 win
15 June 2006, NUREMBERG - England booked their place in the second phase of the World Cup Thursday when late goals by beanpole striker Peter Crouch and midfielder Steven Gerrard broke a determined rearguard action by the battling team from Trinidad and Tobago. It was a harsh result for the Soca Warriors from the Caribbean, a team comprised of players who mostly ply their trade in the lower English league, but who on several occasions had threatened to take the lead against the team of English superstars.
15 June 2006
NUREMBERG - England booked their place in the second phase of the World Cup Thursday when late goals by beanpole striker Peter Crouch and midfielder Steven Gerrard broke a determined rearguard action by the battling team from Trinidad and Tobago.
It was a harsh result for the Soca Warriors from the Caribbean, a team comprised of players who mostly ply their trade in the lower English league, but who on several occasions had threatened to take the lead against the team of English superstars.
Crouch headed the breakthrough goal in the 83rd minute from a pinpoint far post cross by David Beckham to send England into the second round to face either Germany or Ecuador.
Gerrard added the second in the 90th minute with a rasping shot from 25 metres out from the right side of the penalty. Trinidad and Tobago thought they had pulled one back in injury time when Stern John flicked in a shot but he was fractionally offside.
England needed to bring on Wayne Rooney for his first appearance in this World Cup to crack the team from a country which is more famous for its cricketing exploits than its footballing prowess.
There had been doubts whether Rooney was ready to play only 47 days after breaking his metatarsal but as the stalemate continued England coach Sven-Goran Erikkson felt Rooney's dynamic style was needed. Though the Manchester United 20-year-old did not score, his appearance did seem to inspire the English team, and it appeared that he finished the game without aggravating the injury.
"We never gave up. They made it hard for us all the time, but we knew if we stuck to our game plan we would come through in the end," said England captain David Beckham.
"There's always slight tension when you're expected to win it so much, but we worked hard and finished the game very strong."
Asked whether he was surprised to see Rooney come on so early in the tournament, Beckham said: "He's ready now and needs to get matches. The manager made two good substitutions and we finished strongly. Now we need to press forward from that."
Trinidad and Tobago captain Dwight Yorke said the match was a "special game" for his unfancied team.
"For all of us playing against such players made it a special moment," he said. "We played well and it was a pity we conceded the two goals at the end. We could have drawn the game."
The game started with all the pressure on England after a poor performance in their 1-0 opener over Paraguay. Eriksson brought in Jamie Carragher at right back to replace the injured Gary Neville while Trinidad and Tobago coach Leo Beenhakker drafted in Aurtis Whitley and Kenwyne Jones with Avery John suspended and Collin Samuel dropped.
The first half saw England dominate possession but fail to turn it into any real threat on goal. Trinidad's tactics saw them soak up English pressure and force the heavily fancied favourites into a series of speculative long range shots.
The first close miss came from Trinidad striker Stern John who stole in on the far post from a well delivered corner by veteran captain Dwight Yorke only to power his header wide.
On the 40th minute Frank Lampard blasted over from 12 metres out after Michael Owen pulled back the ball from a Gerrard through pass.
A minute later Beckham turned away from two defenders on the edge of the box but his tame shot was no trouble for Shaka Hislop. But the best English chance came in the 43rd minute when Beckham picked out an unmarked Peter Crouch ten metres out only for the lanky striker to wastefully blast a volley wide.
A minute later it was Trinidad and Tobago who came closest to opening the scoring when England failed to clear another vicious corner and only a desperate clearance off the line by John Terry from a header by Stern John saved the English blushes.
Trinidad resumed their patient defence after the break and once again Terry had to intercede to prevent Trinidad getting through on goal. England's strikers continued to prove wasteful with Michael Owen blazing a close range header wide in the 55th minute.
Three minutes later Owen was replaced by English superstar Wayne Rooney, making his first appearance for England 47 days after breaking a bone in his foot. Speedy winger Aaron Lennon came on at the same time for Jamie Carragher to try and prise open the Trinidad defence.
But the England frustration continued as the superbly organized Trinidad defence kept England to half-chances which players like Crouch and Lampard repeatedly blasted over.
Lampard did get through for a clear shot in the 76th minute but succeeded only in placing a tame shot straight into the hands of keeper Shaka Hislop from eight metres out.
In the end however the breakthrough saw England progress to the second round but they will not be allowed to coast in their final opening group game against Sweden, where they will seek to win the group to avoid meeting German in the next round.
"We had so many good chances and should have scored earlier," Eriksson said. "Overall we deserved to win this game, now we also want to top the group. We have not won against Sweden for such a long time. Now it is the time."
"I am very happy that Wayne Rooney is fit again and can play but obviously is still not 100 per cent."
Subject: World Cup, German news