World Cup 2010
Match Reports

England 0 Saudi Arabia 0
Wembley Stadium, London, England - Saturday 23 May 1998

This was hardly the send-off that England were looking for before departing for Spain for their get-together for the World Cup, and the King Hussain II tournament in Morocco later this week. The home side were missing the influential Paul Ince, and Graeme Le Saux through injury, both are expected to be back to full strength in time for the Tunisia game on 15 June. David Beckham made his first appearance in an England shirt in a central midfield role, and Anderton made his international come-back.

Two minutes into the game and it looked as though England could head off on their travels with a win under their belts. Anderton crossed the ball to Hinchcliffe, but the Sheffield Wednesday player headed the ball over the bar. Then moments later Beckham put the ball over too, with a shot from outside the area after Scholes headed the ball to his club mate.

England tried to take the initiative in the game but their final touch prevented them from doing so. Shearer crossed to Southgate but Al-Daye saved from the Villa player. Before the interval Saudi Arabia built some good runs and were unlucky not to take the lead. First Al-Jaber and Al-Owairan teamed up but their good work resulted in a shot going straight to Seaman from 12-yards out. Then Solaimani crossed to Al-Owairan but the ball went into the side netting. Prior to these two attempts by the visitors, Al-Owairan almost showed what he is capable of and nearly scored from 20 yards out, but Seaman was able to get his fingertips to the ball.

England unsuccessfully tried to score before the half-time whistle but the Saudi Arabian goalkeeper saved a shot from Sheringham, who received the ball after work from Beckham and Shearer.

The second half started with no changes being made to either team. England fans were soon chanting for Paul Gascoigne to take to the pitch. England made a bright start to the second period, and moments into the half Scholes went down in the penalty box after being felled by Zebramami, no spot kick was given. Shearer then had a chance to head the ball into the net after receiving the ball from a chip from Beckham but Al-Daye was there to save.

After an hour of play the Wembley crowd's plea was answered when Gascoigne came on to replace Beckham, and Ian Wright came on for Sheringham. Unfortunately neither change to the England team had a real effect on the outcome of the game. Soon after the substitutions Hinchcliffe was forced to stop Al-Shahrani at the far post after nice work by Al-Jaber.

The next moment of interest came when England made a further two substitutions with Les Ferdinand and Phil Neville coming on for Shearer and Hinchcliffe respectively on 74 minutes.

In the last period of the game it seemed as though the visitors may take victory through their substitute Nawaf but his long shot went wide. Gascoigne then hit a storming shot from 25 yards but it missed by inches, and Wright headed over the bar after good play by England. In the last minute of play Saudi Arabia will be unhappy that they didn't capitalise on a shot by Al-Shahrani.


Seaman, G Neville, Hinchcliffe (P Neville 74 mins), Batty, Adams, Southgate, Beckham (Gascoigne 60 mins), Anderton, Shearer (L Ferdinand 74 mins), Sheringham (Wright 60 mins), Scholes.
Subs Not Used: Campbell, Flowers, Merson.

Al-Daye, Al-Jahni, Al-Khlaiwi, Zebramawi, Amin (Al-Dosary 78 mins), Al-Shahrani, Al-Jaber, S Al-Owairan (Al-Temiyat 75 mins), Solaimani, Al-Muwalid, K Al-Owairan.
Subs Not Used: Madani, Al-Thyniyan, Saleh, Al-Sadiq, Al-Dossary

Match Details

Saudi Arabia Cautions: S Al-Owairan, Al-Jahni

Referee: D Z G Jol (Netherlands)

Attendance: 63,733