England survive fright night - International - Football - The Independent

England survive fright night

Road to Euro 2004: Owen and Beckham deliver but lacklustre victory fails to worry Turks

England struggled to impose themselves on the part-timers of Liechtenstein yesterday, emerging from their evening out in the Alps with an unimpressive but none the less valuable 2-0 victory in their European Championship qualifying Group Seven match.

Michael Owen finally put England ahead after 28 minutes when he headed home a cross from Emile Heskey, who had been put clear by David Beckham. It was the England captain himself who added the second, to his and his team's great relief, eight minutes after the interval by firing a trademark free-kick into the net off an upright. The relief among the 900 England fans in the tiny stadium was almost tangible as Beckham's effort nestled in the back of the net, but they had to suffer several scares before the victory was secure.

Sven Goran Eriksson, England's coach, said: "At least there were three points we wanted and I think we did a professional job. Maybe there was a little bit of a lack of concentration at the end when they had chances to score. The last 10 to 15 minutes we lacked concentration. We gave them one or two chances to score, we shouldn't do that really."

The Liechtenstein striker Mario Frick, who plays in Italy for Ternana, was responsible for much of the home side's best work, at times tormenting the England defence with his trickery but he never produced a telling shot. However, Martin Stocklasa flashed a shot over the England bar shortly after Beckham's goal and the same player rattled the woodwork in injury time shortly after Rio Ferdinand headed a Thomas Beck attempt off the goal-line.

Now England must gather themselves to take on the group leaders Turkey at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland. The Turks, third in the World Cup finals last year, will not be quaking in their boots after this England showing, but perhaps their added quality will make England feel more comfortable with their own game.

Wales continued their impressive march towards the finals when they took their unbeaten run to 10 matches with a 4-0 demolition of Azerbaijan. They made the perfect start with Craig Bellamy harrying the Azeri defence into turning a Ryan Giggs cross into their own net after 13 seconds. Goals from Gary Speed, John Hartson and Giggs followed as Wales took a commanding lead in their qualifying group.

Despite their apparent shortcomings Scotland also lead their group after beating Iceland 2-1 as Germany, the favourites to win the section, slipped back after being held to a 1-1 draw at home by Lithuania. There were mixed fortunes for the Irish. The Republic rediscovered their winning touch in Georgia in their first competitive match under Brian Kerr, but Northern Ireland lost 1-0 in Armenia.

Life and Style
tech
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week