The start of a new season and as so often happens in friendlies these days, England had almost completely changed their starting line-up by the end of the match. Acknowledging that there is a long season ahead of the players, and in wanting to test more players and try new combinations, Eriksson made ten substitutions during the game.
Croatia made a mistake early in the first half which cost them dearly. Beckham, now a Real Madrid player, played a great ball to Owen but Simunic decided to handle the ball and England were given a penalty. England's captain took the spot-kick and put his country a goal up with only ten minutes on the clock. The home side were cruising, or so it seemed, but Croatia were mounting attacks of their own on England's goal, and David James had to come up with saves to stop Maric and Olic equalising during the first half.
There was an entertaining look to England tonight and the fans at Portman Road were rewarded for a long wait for another goal when Beckham crossed the ball to Owen who headed home. More was to come 10 minutes from time when Lampard received the ball from Beattie and struck the ball from 20 yards into Croatia's net. It was a job well done by England who look forward now to their next match against Macedonia. Let's hope that England's season continues in such a bright way and that this performance is a sign of things to come.
James (Robinson 46 mins), Phil Neville (Mills 81 mins), A Cole (Upson 60 mins), Gerrard (Murphy 82 mins), R Ferdinand
(Bridge 61 mins), Terry, Beckham (J Cole 61 mins), Butt (Lampard 27 mins), Scholes (Dyer 64 mins), Heskey (Beattie 76 mins), Owen (Sinclair 61 mins).
Subs Not Used: Kirkland. (Full Squad)
Pletikosa (Butina 70 mins), Simunic (Seric 73 mins), Robert Kovac, Tomas, Zivkovic (Agic 72 mins), Simic (Srna 46 mins), Marijo Maric (Babic 46 mins), Rapaic (Mornar 46 mins), Leko (Rosso 59 mins), Olic, Niko Kovac.
Subs Not Used: Butina, Seric, Babic, Srna, Agic, Rosso, Mornar.
England Goals: Beckham (10 mins (pen)), Owen (51 mins), Lampard (80 mins)
Croatia Goal: Mornar (78 mins)
England Caution: Gerrard
Croatia Cautions: Niko Kovac, Robert Kovac
Referee: Claus Bo-Larsen (Denmark)