Revenge is sweet, or it certainly is for England football fans who have waited since 1986 for England to beat Argentina for the hurt caused by Maradona's handball which knocked England out of that World Cup, and for the pain in 1998 in France when they were eliminated from another World Cup by the South American's that time on penalties (and Beckham's famous sending-off - no arguments there). Sven Goran Eriksson started five players in this game who represented England the same fixture in 1998, Seaman, Campbell, Beckham, Owen and Scholes, the rest were experiencing their first competitive game with powerhouse Argentina.
There were ten minutes on the clock before the first real shot of the game, which fell the Argentina. Batistuta beat Campbell in the air for the ball which landed at Sorin's feet. His back heel was met by Gonzalez who's shot was just wide of England's post.
An intense game resulted in three free-kicks in successive minutes for England, but unfortunately England's captain, Beckham, could not work his magic to beat the Argentinians. England were forced to make an early substitution due to a knee injury to Hargreaves which seemed to have occured in the first five minutes of the game. Eriksson sent on Trevor Sinclair to take over from the Bayern Munich player.
Argentina narrowly missed taking the lead in the 33rd minute but Gonzalez volleyed the ball over the net. A few minutes later Owen was tripped by Pochettino on the edge of the box and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot. David Beckham struck a fierce shot down the middle of the goal, beating Cavallero and putting England in the lead as the half-time whistle was blown two minutes later. England were in a good position at the half-way mark.
Into the second half, and England came out energised and looking to extend their lead. Emile Heskey was replaced in the 57th minute by Teddy Sheringham, who had an excellent chance to score stopped by the Argentinian goalkeeper. Scholes chipped the ball to the Spurs forward who was at the edge of the box, but his volley was punched over the crossbar by Cavallero.
Aimar for Argentina looked dangerous with a shot which just went over the bar in the 68th minute. Then Sheringham had another near miss when a Beckham free-kick to the near-post was headed just wide. Argentina's attacks all seem to be coming from Aimar but nothing was getting by England's defence.
Aimar was involved in almost every play when Argentina were pushing forward in the closing minutes of play as they fought to pull the game back to level pegging, but for once it was not to be and England came away with the much needed three points and a faboulous win against an Argentinian side which was a delight to fans around the country.
Cavallero, Sorin, Samuel, Pocchettino, Placente, Zanetti, Simeone, Veron (Aimar 45 mins), Gonzalez (Claudio Lopez 64 mins), Ortega,
Batistuta (Crespo 60 mins).
Subs Not Used: Almedya, Ayala, Bonano, Burgos, Caniggia, Chamot, Gallardo, Husain, Gustavo Lopez.
Seaman #1, Mills #2, A Cole #3, Ferdinand #5, Campbell #6, Beckham #7, Butt #21, Scholes #8, Hargreaves #18 (Sinclair 19 mins - #4), Heskey #11 (Sheringham 56 mins - #17), Owen #10 (Bridge 80 mins - #14).
Subs Not Used: Brown #12, J Cole #19, Dyer #23, Fowler #9, James #22, Keown #15, Martyn #13, Southgate #16, Vassell #20. (Full Squad)
England Goal: Beckham (44 mins - penalty)
Argentina Caution: Batistuta
England Cautions: A Cole, Heskey
Referee: Pierluigi Collina (Italy)