With no injuries reported in the week before the game, Kevin Keegan was able to field his strongest side from the squad he selected, against the Group 5 leaders. A win was imperitive for England to close the 5 point gap, but this tie after 90 minutes against Sweden means that it's highly unlikely that England will automatically qualify for next summer's Euro 2000 Finals, and it's also going to be tough for them to reach the Championships through the playoffs.
Sweden got the game under way but neither team got a good, clear shot on goal in the opening period of play, with efforts either being cleared away by defenders or shots going awry. The first piece of excitement (although not favourable for England) came when Paul Scholes was booked after 27 minutes, meaning he would miss the game against Bulgaria, in four days, due to an accumulation of yellow cards. Seven minutes later Martin Keown had to be replaced by Rio Ferdinand due to injury. The home side were under pressure a moment later when Campbell failed to clear a cross by Sweden but Kennet Andersson's header put the ball over the bar.
Into injury time at the end of the first half came England's best attempt of scoring in the game. Beckham played
the ball to Shearer but on his 50th appearance for his country, England's captain blasted his shot over the crossbar.
England made a change during the break, replacing Le Saux with youngster Michael Gray.
On 51 minutes England had to re-group after Scholes was dismissed for his second caution of the game. Despite being
on home turf it was now going to be difficult for England to beat Sweden. It had been 31 years since England had last won against Sweden.
Neither goalkeeper was tested in the second half with attempts to break the deadlock by Sherwood and Kennet Andersson.
With fifteen minutes remaining on the clock Beckham limped from the pitch and could now miss the next European
Championship qualifying game. Ray Parlour took over from Beckham. This substitution forced Keegan to change his plan as he was just about to include Robbie Fowler in the England attack.
The remainder of the game passed without incident leaving England having to win their final three games of the qualifying stage, and having to rely on the results of others in the group, in order to qualify for the Finals next year.
Seaman, P Neville, Le Saux (Gray 46 mins), Sherwood, Keown (Ferdinand 34 mins), Campbell, Beckham (Parlour 76 mins), Batty, Shearer, Andy Cole, Scholes.
Subs Not Used: Redknapp, Sheringham, Fowler, Walker. (Full Squad)
Hedman, Nilsson, P Andersson, Bjorklund, Kaamark, Schwarz, Mild (Alexandersson 7 mins), Mjallby (D Andersson 82 mins), Ljungberg, Larsson (Svensson 69 mins), K Andersson.
Subs Not Used: Lucic, Sundgren, Osamanovski, Kihlstedt.
England Dismissal: Scholes (51 mins)
England Cautions: Scholes, Cole, Batty, Shearer
Sweden Cautions: Hedman, Schwarz, K Andersson
Referee: Jose Garcia-Aranda (Spain)