This match was arranged for Sven Goran Eriksson to look at his fringe players for the upcoming World Cup. It was also an opportunity to see how well Michael Owen is recovering from his recent injury which has seen him out of action for several months, and for the Newcastle player to get in some much needed match practice.
England thought they were 1-0 up in the nineth minute of the game but Crouch was ruled offside. The home side did take the lead in the 35th minute thanks to Jermaine Jenas. Stewart Downing took a free-kick, which was headed onto the crossbar by Michael Owen. The ball came down from the bar where Jenas was able to head the ball into Belarus' net. Owen was offside prior to heading the ball but this was missed by the officials. Belarus almost scored towards half-time but the ball hit the bar, luckily for England.
There is concern now whether Robert Green, England's back-up goalkeeper to Paul Robinson and David James will be fit for the World Cup after a bizarre incident early in the second half. During the break, Green had replaced James and was only on the field 5 minutes before getting injured. Apparently Green injured his groin during a save minutes earlier, and when taking a goal kick, the injury was too much for the Norwich City player, who fell to the floor after putting the ball into play. While the sporting thing to do in such an instance would be to kick the ball out so the player can receive treatment, Kutuzov kicked the ball into England's open net. The goal, or the nature in which it was scored, was irrelivant in this 'B' international for England, the concern was the injury to Green. England does not currently have many top quality goalkeepers to chose from, however Eriksson was able to call into action, Scott Carson, who is on England's stand-by list for the World Cup. So in one game, England had used 3 goalkeepers.
England were denied a penalty in the second half when Shtanyuk handled the ball, an offence seemingly missed by the referee. Belarus played the last 17 minutes of the game with only 10 men after Omelyachuk was sent off after receiving a second yellow card. Whilst down to 10 men, Belarus scored the game winning goal through Kornilenko.
The result of this 'B' international for England will not concern Eriksson, however the injury to Green will be worrying. There were some bright moments, Owen came through his spell in the game without problems, and Aaron Lennon and Walcott both got to see some action on the international stage.
Post match note: Green withdrew from the squad due to his injury.
James #13 (Green 46 mins (Carson 50 mins - #22)), Hargreaves #16, Campbell #12, Carragher #15, Ashley Cole #3, Lennon #19, Jenas #17 (Walcott 62 mins - #23), Carrick #18, Downing #20 (Defoe 79 mins), Owen #10 - Captain (J Cole 62 mins - #11), Crouch #21 (Dawson 79 mins).
Subs Not Used: Bridge, G Neville #2, Johnson.
Zhevnov (Khomutovsky 46 mins), Kulchy, Lentsevich, Omelianchuk, Shtanuk, Korytsko, Yurevich (Shagoiko 61 mins), Bulyga (Kornilenko 46 mins), Romaschenko (Kashevsky 74 mins), Kalachev (Pankovets 80 mins), Kutuzov (Kontsevoy 64 mins).
Subs Not Used: Sulima.
England Scorer: Jenas (34 mins)
Belarus Scorers: Kutuzov (50 mins), Kornilenko 81 (mins).
England Cautions: None
Belarus Cautions: Romaschenko, Omelianchuk.
Belaurs Red Card: Omelianchuk.
Referee: D McKeown (Ireland)