Whilst England left Austria with a victory, albeit in a friendly, Michael Owen came away from the Ernst-Happel Stadion nursing yet another injury after straining his thigh in the first half of the match. Should England's game against Croatia on Wednesday have any relievance for the Three Lions (England need Israel to draw or win against Russia on Saturday to have any hope of qualification), Steve McClaren has a headache in regard who to start upfront after losing the Newcastle forward, and Wayne Rooney did not join up with the England squad, after making the selection, due to injury. England now have only three strikers available.
England's starting goalkeeper tonight was Aston Villa's (on loan from Liverpool) Scott Carson, who collected his first cap, as did Ashley Young. On a cold night in Vienna, David Beckham was a bright spark in the game and delivered a lovely ball for Peter Crouch early in the game, but Gercaliu cleared away for Austria. There was concern in the 22nd minute when Crouch and Macho collided and reports emerged that Austria's goalkeeper had swallowed his tongue. Fortunately Macho is fine but he was replaced by Manniger in the 25th minute.
Two minutes before Owen's departure from the game due to injury, the Newcastle United forward forced Manniger to tip the ball over the bar, following a lovely through ball from Peter Crouch. Defoe, replaced Owen in the 34th minute and the Tottenham Hotspur player could start the game on Wednesday with England's forward line-up looking depleted now. It is expected that Owen will miss another month of action.
Joe Cole almost opened up the game in the 42nd minute, but while Manniger came off his line to stop the shot, the ball was collected by Crouch, and only a great block by Aufhauser prevented England taking the lead.
The visitors went ahead in the 44th minute when Crouch rose to meet Beckham's corner and knocked the ball past Manniger. This is where Crouch's height is an advantage.
McClaren made three substitutions at the start of the second half, and Austria made two changes. England tried to extend their lead but their efforts went unrewarded in the second half. Ashley Young could have sealed his debut with a goal in the 54th minute but his shot went wide.
As in the first half, England were the more threatening of the two sides in the second half but as the game came to a close, attention turned to Tel Aviv and Israel's match against Russia tomorrow, which could seal England's fate in regard to Euro 2008 qualification. Hopefully Israel can help England by preventing a defeat at the hands of Hiddink's Russia team.
Macho #1 (Manniger 25 mins - #21), Garics #14, Gercaliu #5, Schiemer #4, Aufhauser #6, Ivanschitz #10, Sariyar #7 (Harnik 65 mins - #20), Standfest #2 (Kavlak 78 mins - #17), Stranzl #3 (Hiden 86 mins - #16), Kuljic #9 (Leitgeb 46 mins - #18), Weissenberger #8 (Kienast 46 mins - #11).
Subs Not Used: Ertl #13, Patocka #22, Fuchs #15, Saumel #19.
Carson #1, Bridge #3, Campbell #6 (Brown 46 mins - #15), Lescott #5, Richards #2, Beckham #7 (Bentley 62 mins - #18), J Cole #11 (A Young 46 mins - #20), Gerrard #4 - Captain (Barry 46 mins - #16), Lampard #8, Crouch #9 (A Smith 73 mins - #21), Owen #10 (Defoe 34 mins - #24).
Subs Not Used: James #13, Robinson #22, A Cole #12, P Neville #17, Shorey #14, Downing #19, Wright-Phillips #23. (Full Squad)
England Goal: Crouch (44 mins)
Austria Cautions: None
England Cautions: None
Referee: Micolai Vollquartz (Denmark)