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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific