What a difference four days makes between games, and the knowledge that you have qualified for the World Cup Finals. England played so much better in this, their last World Cup qualifier,
than they had in their other games this season. The change in mood and play gives the nation hope that the team can rally round and can improve before the big tournament next June. Wayne Rooney
was back in action for this match after serving a suspension, but England were without captain, David Beckham, who was given a red card during England's last game.
While both England and Poland had qualified for the World Cup Finals, top spot in UEFA Qualifying Group 6 was still up for grabs between these two sides. Finishing in first place in the group
could help England in the seeding when the draw is made for the Finals. England looked calm and composed on the ball tonight as they knocked it around with ease. Wayne Rooney pleased the
Old Trafford crowd with some nifty football and vision. In the nineth minute he beat two defenders and saw Owen was open but Poland were then able to avert danger.
Poland's first shot of the game came in the thirteenth minute but Rasiak's effort went wide of Robinson's goal. Then on 28 minutes Rooney turned on the magic and neatly turned and fired a shot,
but the ball went just over the crossbar. Four mintues later, Joe Cole took on Poland's defence and his shot too went just high over the crossbar. With possession and a series of near-misses,
it looked as though England were about to get the go-ahead goal they deserved. England did indeed take the lead with one minute of the first half remaining. Lampard took a corner and the ball
ended up at Joe Cole's feet at the edge of the box, the Chelsea played fired shot through Poland's defence and Michael Owen was in the right place to direct the ball into the net.
Into stoppage time in the first half and Poland pulled level with England. Poland charged down the right side of the field and Kosowski crossed the ball to Frankowski, who had replaced Zurawski
in the 39th minute, for him to volley the ball passed Robinson and England's defenders. The teams went into the dressing rooms at half-time with the score at 1-1.
Into the second half and in the 52nd minute England won a corner, which was taken by Lampard. The ball went to Ferdinand who headed on the ball to Rooney who was on the edge of the 6 yard area, the
youngster tried to flick the ball into Poland's net but the ball blazed over the goal. Had the ball gone in the net it would have been a great goal. Joe Cole thought he had put his team ahead
in the 65th minute but he was ruled offside. A minute later, England came close to taking the lead again but Owen's header from 8 yards out is cleared about by Boruc.
England made their first substitution in the 67th minute and it seemed a strange one with Peter Crouch replacing Shaun Wright-Phillips, who had had a wonderful game and had cause a lot of
trouble for Poland's defence. Finally in the 80th minute England took the lead again and with it took 1st place in Group 6. Joe Cole turned the ball on the edge of the box to Owen who
played a neat cross over to the right to Lampard who volleyed the ball home into the top right corner of Poland's net. The goal takes Lampard's tally up to 10. Despite pressure from Poland in the
dying minutes of the game, England were able to thwart and chances by the visitors.
England end their World Cup Qualifying campaign on a high after a rough spell over the last few weeks. Argentina are England's next opponents as the 2 sides meet in a friendly in South America
next month. It should make for a great game, even if it is a friendly.
Robinson #1, Carragher #3, Ferdinand #5, King #4, Terry #6, Young #2, J Cole #11 (A Smith 87 mins - #15), Lampard #8, Wright-Phillips #7 (Crouch 67 mins - #16),
Owen #10 (Jenas 84 mins - #14), Rooney #9.
Subs Not Used: Kirkland #13, P Neville #12, Bent #17, Defoe #18. (Full Squad)
Boruc #1, Bak #6, Baszcyznski #4, Jop #2, Zewlakow #14, Kosowski #5, Lewandowski #10, Smolarek #8 (Krzynowek 46 mins - #18), Sobolewski #7 (Radomski 79 mins - #16), Rasiak #11, Zurawski #9
(Frankowski 39 mins - #17).
Subs Not Used: Kovalweski #12, Klas #15, Rzasa #3, Mila #13.
England Goals: Owen (44 mins), Lampard (80 mins)
Poland Goal: Frankowski (45 mins).
Poland Cautions: Baszcyznski (61 mins), Sobolewski (73 mins)
Referee: K Milton Nielsen (Denmark)