As the massed bands marched off the parade ground, after
Trooping The Colour in London, the massed ranks of English football fans entered the
Niigata Big Swan Stadium to parade the colour again.... and hope that their football team
were up to the battle ahead.
By coming second in Group F, England had the advantage of
playing in the evening against European opposition rather than in the heat of the day
Emile Heskey stumbled on his first gallop onto a long-ball
forward, as England looked to get an early goal.
-- GOAL -- 0-1
David Beckham's 5th minute corner, from the left, was headed down by Rio Ferdinand.
Thomas Sorensen couldn't hold it properly, as Michael Owen was on hand to put him under
pressure, and the Sunderland goalkeeper fumbled the ball into his own net.... and then
tried to flap in back out. The ball had already crossed the line but Emile Heskey slammed
it back over, just to make sure.
Denmark received a double whammy when Kasper Bogelund had to replace the injured Thomas
Helveg, with only seven minutes gone.
England weren't ready to sit back just yet and, in the 15th
minute, Emile Heskey was clear through again..... but pulled-up short as Thomas Sorensen
got down to the ball first.
The cool Scandinavians weren't put out of their stride,
trying instead to regroup and play their own game...... but England were still goal hungry.
-- GOAL -- 0-2
With only twenty two minutes gone England were two goals in front, with Michael
Owen opening his World cup account. Trevor Sinclair squared the ball through to
Nicky Butt in the Denmark area, who flicked the ball with the edge of his foot for the
Liverpool star to pounce on.
England dropped back a little after Emile Heskey failed to
connect to a Beckham right-wing cross, on the half-hour, and the rain started to fall
Jon Dahl Tomasson was left in plenty of space, on the
Danish right, with a free run at the English area.... and a rare mistake by Rio Ferdinand
allowed Denmark to get in around the back on the other side, shortly later.
England were fortunate not to be punished by these lapses
of concentration as they sought to push up again.
From Danny Mills' throw, England received a lucky bounce
and David Beckham quickly anticipated the space for Heskey to run into.
-- GOAL -- 0-3
David Beckham was the first to congratulate Emile Heskey after he put
away England's third goal, a minute before the break.
England's worries weren't quite over as David Seaman had to
tip over a Thomas Gravesen drive, just before the half-time whistle.
Half-time: Denmark 0 -- England 3
Robbie Fowler, who replaced Michael Owen at half-time, almost connected with a low cross
from Emile Heskey..... whose confidence level had just received a tremendous boost.
As the game went on. Thomas Sorensen did well to tip a
Beckham curler over the bar for a corner; three minutes before the hour...... then a
Niclas Jensen drive bounced out of Seaman's grasp at the other end.... but Sol Campbell
was on hand to hook the loose ball away.
England might have been three goals ahead, with a little
over twenty minutes to go, but Denmark were still looking dangerous..... Kasper Bogelund's
shot cannoning off Jon Dahl Tomasson's head.
Having already brought on Kieron Dyer for Paul Scholes, four minutes after the restart,
Svengali's third substitution -- with twenty minutes left -- was to replace Emile Heskey
with Teddy Sheringham and give the Tottenham striker his 50th cap.