The convincing defeat of Luxembourg in this game was not to be unexpected given England's talents against an opposition who have only one full-time professional, who was missing from the match. This is not meant to undermine England's performance, only to put the result into perspective. The real test will come against Poland on Wednesday, another game where anything less than maximum points will not suffice if England do not want to rely on results from other teams as they now aim for the playoffs in November.
Captain, Alan Shearer, almost succeeded in giving England the lead when after a minute of play when he found himself free in the penalty area, but his shot was stopped by Luxembourg goalkeeper, Phillipee Felgen. It was several minutes later when Luxembourg tried their first assault on England's goal through Christophe and Schnieder, but Keown stopped the visitors in their tracks.
After twelve minutes of play newcomer Kieron Dyer was brought down in the penalty area by Birsens. Referee,
Scmolik, pointed to the spot whereupon Shearer hit the ball into the bottom right of the net giving England the lead.
Only a minute later Fowler put the ball in the net but it was disallowed as Shearer was offside. This brought England's goalscoring opportunities to nine in the opening period.
It was just before the 30 minute mark when Nigel Martyn, standing in for the injured David Seaman, was called to participate in the game, saving a shot from Schnieder. Then normal service resumed with England attacking.
Shearer got his second goal of the day after nice work with Fowler, then less than two minutes later Steve McManaman got his first international goal after Ray Parlour crossed the ball low to the left for the waiting Real Madrid player to put the ball in the net from close range.
Luxembourg again tried to test Martyn through Vanek but nothing came of this attempt. England then, again, carried on with their pressure in Luxembourg's half resulting in another two goals before the half-time whistle. Shearer netted his hat-trick after Dyer broke through the defence, leaving his Newcastle team-mate with nothing to do except tap the ball in the net. With one minute of the half remaining England extended their lead further with McManaman getting his second goal of the afternoon - Batty creating the chance on the right, McManaman heading in England's fifth goal at the far post.
During the break Kieron Dyer was replaced by Gary Neville as a precaution for a calf injury, indicating that Keegan is wanting to play the youngster on Wednesday. Luxembourg also made a change, Alverdi taking over from Schnieder.
England had many attempts during the second half to improve their goal tally but it was all to no avail until the 90th minute when Owen, who had replaced Beckham in the 65th minute, curled the ball into the top corner from 25 yards. This goal came after England came close through other sources to improve their lead - Gary Neville hit the ball with a brilliant volley but the ball hit the side netting, Birsens almost scored an own-goal, and Pearce put the ball in the net but it was disallowed as Fowler was ruled offside.
This was a fine display by England and all fans will be hoping they can repeat the score, or at least the result, on Wednesday against Poland.
Martyn, Dyer (G Neville 46 mins), Keown, Adams (P Neville 65 mins), Pearce, McManaman, Beckham (Owen 65 mins), Batty, Parlour, Shearer, Fowler.
Subs Not Used: Walker, Southgate, Sherwood, Sheringham. (Full Squad)
Felgen, Feron, Schauls, Birsens, Funck, Saibene, Theis, Vanek, Christophe (Zaritski 63 mins), Schnieder (Alverdi 46 mins), Posing (F Deville 83 mins).
Subs Not Used: Besic, L Deville, Schaack, Thill.
England Caution: Pearce
Sweden Caution: Funck
Referee: S Scmolik (Belarus)