Injuries & Suspensions
-- Sin Bin
-- Leading Goalscorers
| It's The End Result That Counts
Wednesday June 12th,
Osaka -- (0-0)
Nigeria already had their bags packed but England couldn't
afford to be complacent.
England started the game cautiously until they sensed that
Nigeria were looking dangerous, then David Beckham's long passes signaled a change of
approach and the 10,000 English fans upped the volume to match it.
On England's second corner, Vincent Enyeama fumbled the
ball and felt a sense of relief when he wasn't punished. The Nigerian goalkeeper made up
for his mistake and gained a little confidence when he beat Michael Owen to England's next
Nigeria's first corner came after quarter of an hour and
David Beckham was at the front post to head the ball away.
Emile Heskey's first shot, low to the goalkeeper's left
signaled another England period of pressure. Enyeama was down well to save but still
looked uncomfortable going up for corners so England tried to win some more.
Half an hour gone and Nigeria really tested England's
alertness. David Seaman failed to hold Jay-Jay Okocha's curling free-kick and Julius
Agahowa was quick to the rebound. Luckily for England, Seaman stayed cool, closed the
angle and the shot went wide.
Nigeria had everybody back working overtime as England
attacked a little more just before the end of the half.
Nicky Butt had a couple of attempts blocked, Michael Owen
should have earned a corner and everybody in England must have choked on their cornflakes
or spurted coffee on the cat.... when Vincent Enyeama slapped a Paul Scholes shot against
Half-time: Nigeria 0 -- England 0
England were playing with fire by taking things so easy in
the Osaka heat, unless the plan was to tire Nigeria and hit them on the ropes. At least
no-one was getting booked for being too physical.
Without the pressure to concentrate his mind, David
Beckham's free-kicks continued to fly high of the target.
Both Group F games were still without a goal, with just
over half an hour to go, leaving the any two from three permutation far from being
resolved..... unless the scores remained the same.
Then a goal in the Sweden vs Argentina game meant that
England would finish runners-up and face Denmark in the Second
Even when Teddy Sheringham came on for Emile Heskey, with
twenty minutes to go, England still didn't show any urgency and David Seaman had to be
alert to Nigeria's threat at any moment.
Michael Owen soon made way for Darius Vassell. Maybe the Aston
Villa striker could snatch the goal to bring a win for the nation.
Argentina equalised against Sweden with two minutes to go
but England's point meant that Svengali's boys had done enough to enter the knockout
Not the most exciting of matches in the tournament but it's
the end result that counts.
England face Denmark,
in Niigata, on Saturday, June 15th.
Nigeria 0 -- England 0
Sweden vs Argentina
-- Add Your Comments
Player of the Match:
Brian Hall -- The American referee didn't produce a single yellow card, which says a lot
after the ridiculous refereeing in two of yesterday's matches.
22 Vincent Enyeama; 15 Justice Christopher, 5 Isaac Okoronkwo, 16 Efe Sodje, 14 Ifeanyi
Udeze, 2 Joseph Yobo; 18 Benedict Akwuegbu, 20 James Obiorah, 10 Jay-Jay Okocha, 23 Femi
Opabumni (7 Pius Ikedia -- 86 mins); 17 Julius Agahowa.
1 David Seaman; 6 Sol Campbell, 3 Ashley Cole (14 Wayne Bridge -- 85 mins), 5 Rio
Ferdinand, 2 Danny Mills; 7 David Beckham, 21 Nicky Butt, 8 Paul Scholes, 4 Trevor
Sinclair; 11 Emile Heskey (17 Teddy Sheringham -- 69 mins), 10 Michael Owen (20 Darius
Vassell -- 77 mins).
Referee: Brian Hall (USA)
The last 16 continue on the road to
Yokohama, with four games in South Korea and
four games in Japan.