A tougher game than expected against Greece, with much of the nation still on a high after England's trouncing of Germany last month. Erikkson was forced to make a goalkeeper change due to an injury with the number 1 choice, David Seaman. Luckily for England, they have a good back-up in Nigel Martyn.
A disasterous first half for England with Greece dominating the game, and England looking as though they might have undone the good they had accomplished in Munich. Scholes was booked early in the match for a bad tackle. Ten minutes before half-time Greece broke the deadlock with a fine goal by Charisteas. Ferdinand had cleared the initial threat to England's goal but the ball only fell back to the Greek forwards, who did not waste their chance.
England made a change for the start of the second half, with Andy Cole replacing Nick Barmby. The homeside looked a little better and Beckham pressured the Greek goal with a free kick. England were surging forward in the hope to get back into this vital game. Nigel Martyn was put to the test in a one-on-one situation and came out the victor against Karagounis.
Fowler was replaced by Teddy Sheringham on 67 minutes and immediately made an impact on the game. He earned the nickname "Ten Seconds Teddy" as that's how long it took him to score! England were back on level terms, and with Germany drawing with Finland, Erikkson's team were still in prime position to automatically qualify for next summer's World Cup if the scores stayed the same. Then, almost instantly, Greece were ahead again
when Nickolaidis scored from close range.
With not long remaining in the game, England's position as Group 9 leaders was looking vulnerable. Beckham was running the show for his country, running all over the field. Then in the final minute, Beckham took yet another free kick, and this time did not miss. His strike from 25-yards out went into the back of Nikopolidis' goal and England automatically qualified for the 2002 World Cup Finals. In the end the poor performance by most of the England team did not matter - the tie was enough to see England through to Japan and South Korea next year.
Martyn, G Neville, Ferdinand, Keown, Ashley Cole (McManaman 78 mins), Beckham, Gerrard, Scholes, Barmby (Andy Cole 45 mins), Fowler
(Sheringham 67 mins), Heskey.
Subs Not Used: Southgate, Wright, Carragher, Murphy. (Full Squad)
Nikopolidis, Patsotzoglou, Dabizas, Vokolos, Costas Konstantinidis, Fissas, Zagorakis (Basinas 56 mins), Kassapos, Karagounis,
Charisteas (Lakis 73 mins), Nikolaidis (Machlas 86 mins).
Subs Not Used: Venetidis, Georgiadis, Chalkias, Vrizas.
England Goals: Sheringham (67 mins), Beckham (90 mins)
Greece Goals: Charisteas (36 mins), Nikolaidis (69 mins)
England Caution: Scholes
Albania Caution: Zagorakis
Referee: Dick Jol (Holland)