England's women consolidate position


England 5 Croatia 0

England's women stormed through their second Group Three European Championship qualifying match yesterday, beating a poor Croatian side 5-0 at The Valley.

Croatia employed a back five to blunt the attacking football it feared from the home side, but a superb curving cross from Hope Powell after 22 minutes fell to Karen Farley at the far post, who headed into the net. Five minutes later, Debbie Bampton's 20-yard shot on goal was fumbled by Anica Ganz, the Croatian goalkeeper, and left Karen Walker with an easy finish.

Walker then leapt to meet Powell's corner 10 minutes later to make it 3-0. Farley scored her second of the match with another accurate header just before the break, pushing past Croatia's bunching defence into goal. After five minutes of injury time, Kelly Smith was brought down in the box, and her penalty left England a comfortable second in Group Three.

ENGLAND (3-5-2): Cope (Millwall); Harwood (Wembley), Davis (Croydon), Burke (Everton); Easton (Liverpool), Coultard (Doncaster), Walker (Doncaster), Bampton (Croydon), Farley (Hammarby IS); Powell (Croydon), Smith (Wembley). Substitutes: Borman (Doncaster) for Farley, 81; Marley (Everton) for Harwood, 84; Proctor (Croydon) for Powell, 84.

CROATIA (5-4-1): Ganz (Elektra); Gurdon (Susedgrad), Milas (Elektra), Pirsa (Maksimir), Rogar (Maksimir), Logarusic (Elektra); Damjanovic (Lotto), Matuzic (Lotto), Drljaca (Tuswortstadt), Besker (Elektra); Iljic (Elektra). Substitutes: Koyenik (Elektra) for Pirsa, 46; Sola (Victoria) for Iljic, 55; Kovac (Elektra) for Damjanovic, 81.

Referee: V Karlsen (Norway).