Sven to make changes

24 June 2006 01:21
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson is running out of striker options as he prepares for Sunday's game against Ecuador. Michael Owen has returned home after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in the first minute of the 2-2 draw with Sweden to leave Eriksson with only Wayne Rooney, Peter Crouch and Theo Walcott to choose from. There are also defensive worries for England as Gary Neville is still struggling with the calf injury that forced him to miss the group games against Trinidad & Tobago and Sweden, while Rio Ferdinand is a doubt after limping out of Tuesday's draw because of a groin injury. Owen Hargreaves looks set to deputise for Neville while Steven Gerrard, who came off the substitute's bench to score against the Swedes, should return to the starting line-up. Michael Carrick is expected to be used in the holding midfielder role. Eriksson was stunned by his side's poor defending against set-pieces in the Sweden match and is looking for a big improvement against Ecuador. He said: "Normally we concede very little on set-pieces but against Sweden we were very poor. Of course we have to do better because we cannot concede goals like that. It's a little bit annoying to concede from a corner and a long throw-in." Ecuador coach Luis Fernando Suarez rested five players for the 3-0 defeat to Germany but they are all expected to return for the first knockout stage. Captain Ivan Hurtado, fellow defender Neicer Reasco and midfielder Segundo Castillo should start while Carlos Tenorio is set to resume his strike partnership with Agustin Delgado, who was also left out against Germany. Aston Villa defender Ulises de la Cruz is looking forward to the game, saying: "I've played many times with Rooney and everybody in the England team. I understand the tactics, the system and the players. "England have good players playing all over the pitch. But everybody is focused, this is a good time for Ecuador."

Source: ESA

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