After a dismal display against Paraguay five days earlier, England looked brighter in this match against Trinidad & Tobago, an opposition they had not played against before. It was an exciting match with opportunities for both teams. In the end it took England 83 minutes to breakdown the number 47 FIFA ranked team in the world.
Eriksson made a change to his line-up from his opening World Cup game, with Gary Neville out due to injury. His replacement was Liverpool's Jamie Carragher. England created many chances during the game but failed in their final delivery on many occasions which was increasingly worrying as the game wore on. Owen missed a chance in front of the goal and Crouch almost scored a couple of times, but failed.
Through Stern John, a former Columbus Crew player in the US' MLS, Trinidad and Tobago almost took the lead when Robinson failed to hold on to the ball after a corner. John's header thankfully went wide of England's goal. A great ball from Beckham, in the latter stages of the first half, saw the England captain find Crouch in the penalty area. Only a few yards out from goal Liverpool's forward hit the ball with his leg, putting the ball wide of Trinidad and Tobago's goal when he had a lot of time on the ball to make the most of the opportunity.
Crouch's miss proved almost disasterous when moments later, Edwards got to the ball before Robinson, and only John Terry back on the goal line stopped the ball from crossing the line.
The second half saw end to end play. England were unable to finish in front of the goal but things seemed to improve when England made a double subsitution in the 58th minute. The country had been awaiting the introduction to the World Cup of Wayne Rooney, who had been injured, and their wishes were answers when he replaced Owen. Aaron Lennon replaced Carragher and did well, becoming England's second youngest player in the World Cup Finals, Owen being the youngest in 1998.
Showing why Eriksson has selected him recently, Crouch rose above a Trindad and Tobago defender in the 83rd minute to meet a Beckham cross to head past Hisplop. Depsite putting up a good fight Trindad and Tobago then faded and their fate was sealed in time added on, when Gerrard scored a spectaluar goal from the edge of the area.
The win secured England a place in the second round of the competition, and for a change the Three Lions did not leave qualification for the next round until the last group game, or were relying on other results. It's a nice feeling, despite thinking that England need to improve to go much further in the competition. It would seem that England need to have Crouch playing as they have now won all nine matches in which he has featured!
Robinson #1, Carragher #15 (Lennon 58 mins - #19), A Cole #3, Ferdinand #5, Terry #6, Beckham #7 - captain, J Cole #11 (Downing 75 mins - #20), Gerrard #4, Lampard #8, Crouch #21, Owen #10 (Rooney 58 mins - #9).
Subs Not Used: James #13, Carson #22, Bridge #14, Campbell #12, G Neville #2 (injured), Carrick #18, Hargreaves #16, Jenas #17, Walcott #23. (Full Squad)
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO:
Hislop #1, Gray #8, Lawrence #6, Sancho #5, Birchall #7, Edwards #11, Theobald #18 (Wise 85 mins - #16), Whitley #9, S John #14, Jones #15 (Glen 70 mins - #13), Yorke #19 - captain.
Subs Not Used: Ince #22, Jack #21, Andrews #4, Charles #17, Cox #2, A John #3, Wolfe #23, Latapy #10, Samuel #12, Scotland #20.
England Goals: Crouch (83 mins), Gerrard (91+ mins)
England Caution: Lampard (64 mins)
Trinidad & Tobago Cautions: Theobald (18 mins), Whitley (19 mins), Jones (45+ mins), Hislop (47 mins), Gray (56 mins)
Referee: Toru Kamikawa (Japan)