England leave it late
15 Jun 2006 - 19:14:22
England secured their passage through to the knockout stages of the World Cup finals with two late goals in a 2-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago in Nuremberg.
England were on top for much of the first half and had some good early chances to open the scoring.
The first fell to Jamie Carragher in the fourth minute, but his shot was easily gathered by Shaka Hislop.
Two minutes later, Frank Lampard rasped in a trademark dipping shot that Hislop could only parry back out to the onrushing Michael Owen. Unfortunately, the Newcastle striker lost his footing and the ball bounced off his chest and out for a goal-kick.
England's next opportunity came after some good interplay down the left between Ashley Cole and Joe Cole. The Chelsea midfield man whipped in a cross to the far post, where it was met by the outstretched leg of Peter Crouch but Hislop got down well to push the ball out for a corner.
For all of England's possession, they could not carve out too many clear openings and it was Trinidad & Tobago who forced, arguably, the first real chance of the half on 35 minutes.
The Soca Warriors won a corner off the head off Rio Ferdinand and Paul Robinson could only flap at Dwight Yorke's wicked delivery.
The cross flashed across the box where Stern John planted a header just wide while under pressure at the far post.
England then had a great chance on 41 minutes when Michael Owen did well to keep a long ball in play and laid it off to Lampard in the area. But Lampard took his eye off the ball and volleyed his shot well over the bar.
The best chance of the half then fell to Peter Crouch just minutes later. The Liverpool hitman found himself unmarked in the area as Beckham crossed, but he elected to volley it first time when more composure was needed and a chance was wasted.
England were nearly made to pay for their profligacy in front of goal as Trinidad almost took the lead a minute before half-time.
Carlos Edwards looped in a hopeful ball which Robinson, again, flapped at and Stern John was on hand to head the ball goalwards.
Fortunately for England, John Terry had spotted the danger and made an acrobatic clearance off the line to keep the score level at the interval.
Soon after the restart, England won a free-kick just inside the Trinidad half and Beckham hit a wonderful delivery into the unmarked Owen.
Unfortunately, Owen, who looked well off the pace all game, flashed his header wide and that was to be his last involvement in the match.
He made way for Wayne Rooney and Carragher came off for Aaron Lennon as England looked to shake things up just before the hour.
The double substitution worked as England began to get a grip on the game once more and began to show some urgency.
Lampard spurned a great chance after good interplay from Crouch and Rooney set him up on the penalty spot. But the England number eight snatched at his shot and hit it straight into the arms of Hislop.
England were turning the screw. but Trinidad & Tobago were beginning to look dangerous on the counter-attack, sensing that their opponents were feeling the pressure.
The pressure was relieved with seven minutes left on the clock as Crouch rose above Dennis Lawrence to head home a superb cross from Beckham from the right.
The win was then sealed in stoppage time as Steven Gerrard hit a rocket of a long-range left-shot past Hislop, who was left rooted to the spot.