Sven-Goran Erikkson was greeted with a surprise for his first competitive match...Steven Gerrard was declared fit! The Liverpool midfielder has withdrawn from 11 of 14 internationals, and this trend looks set to continue when Gerrard withdrew from the squad after the game due to injury. In front of a full house at Anfield, Andy Cole tried to win over the crowd by striking a shot in the first minute, but the ambitious kick was just wide of Finland's goal.
England made an encouraging start with Beckham controlling the game. After the pace settled down the fans appealed for a penalty when Owen was brought down in the area, but the referee waved play on.
Beckham twice tried to put England spectacularly ahead but it was a Gary Neville own goal which gave the visitors a surprise lead. A Finnish corner was met by Riihilahti who headed the ball towards the net and unfortunately, when it looked that Seaman had it covered, it struck Neville's knee and went it the goal.
The goal unsettled England and provided Finland with confidence. Then the home side brought the game to level terms with two minutes of the first half remaining through Anfield favourite, Owen. Neville crossed the ball, where via Andy Cole it reach Owen who put the ball into the far corner, striking the ball from the edge of the area.
There was a sensational start to the second half from England, when captain David Beckham put his country ahead. Steve McManaman started the play, then connected with Paul Scholes and the ball was played on to Beckham whose shot hit the back of the net. England had a comfortable lead.
Owen almost made it 3-0 when Cole mis-directed a header, the ball ended at Owen's feet but his shot hit the post.
With twenty minutes remaining Scholes played the ball through for Andy Cole, but the Manchester United striker missed, putting the ball wide, to the disappointment of the fans.
Finland desperately tried to leave Anfield with a point but they could not break England's defence. The full-time whistle brought England three valuable points as they try to qualify for World Cup 2002.
Seaman, Powell, Ferdinand, Campbell, G Neville, McManaman (Heskey 72 mins), Gerrard, Scholes, Beckham, Andy Cole (Fowler 82 mins), Owen (Butt 90 mins).
Subs Not Used: P Neville, Martyn, Brown, Sheringham. (Full Squad)
Niemi, Pasanen, Hyypia, Tihinen, Ylonen (Helin (89 mins), Nurmela (Forssell 63 mins), Wiss, Riihilahti, Kolkka (Kuqi 63 mins), Litmanen, Johansson.
Subs Not Used: Moilanen, Nyland, Kuivasto, Gronlund.
England Goals: Owen (43 mins), Beckham (50 mins)
Finland Goal: og Neville (26 mins)
England Cautions: Scholes, McManaman
Finland Caution: Nurmela, Hyypia, Ylonen, Pasanen
Referee: V Ivanov (Russia)