World Cup 2010
Match Reports

Greece 0-2 England
World Cup Qualifier
Olympic Stadium, Athens, Greece - Wednesday 6 June 2001


Sven Goran Erikkson made only one change to the starting line up from the friendly against Mexico 12 days earlier - David Seaman was brought back into the team.

England were desperate to get a win in Greece, before the summer break, to help the prospect of qualifying for next year's World Cup. The first real goal scoring opportunity of the evening went to Robbie Fowler, but Nikopolidis produced an excellent save from the Liverpool striker's header, from just ten yards out.

England would have been happy to have got through the opening period of the game without conceding a goal as it took them a while to settle. Greece were forced to make an early substitution in the 25 minute when Karagounis was injured, he was replaced by Liberoupoulos.

Twice in five minutes England hit the side netting and failed to get the final touch right. Greece had very little opportunity to score which forced Basinas to make a long range shot which did not pay off for the home side, as Seaman was awarded a goal kick. Vryzas tried a 25-yard shot on the stroke of half-time but Seaman was able to stop the ball to prevent Greece taking an undeserved lead.

Greece made the more lively start to the second half, but they could not break England's defence. Sixty-one minutes into the game, Beckham launched a shot, which was deflected and went inches over the crossbar. Then a moment later, Scholes, Gerrard and Fowler linked up to create some entertaining play but Fowler's shot went high and wide.

With England taking charge of the game Paul Scholes put the visitors ahead. Phil Neville made ground in midfield and played the ball to Heskey, who mis-hit the ball, but only for it to fall to Scholes for him to strike from six-yards. Trailing by a goal, Greece immediately made a substitution.

Eriksson made a forced substitution on 75 minutes taking off Heskey for McManaman, which looked to be injury related. Greece applied pressure and forced Seaman to make a save, but England still looked dangerous.

David Beckham secured the win with three minutes of the match remaining. From 27-yards out, the captain curled in a shot passed Nikolpolidis to the delight of the English contingent. After a good display and result, England now have a well earned break before their final three World Cup qualifying games, which start in September.


Teams

GREECE:
Nikopolidis, Mavrogenidis (Yiannakopoulos 71 mins), Fissas, Dabizas, Ouzoundis, Gourmas, Basinas, Zagorakis, Machlas (Alexandris 65 mins), Karagounis (Liberopoulos (25 mins), Vrizas.
Subs Not Used: Lakis, Konstantinidis, Vokolos, Kateryiannakis.

ENGLAND:
Seaman, P Neville, Keown, Ferdinand, Ashley Cole, Beckham, Scholes (Butt 88 mins), Gerrard, Heskey (McManaman 75 mins), Owen, Fowler (Smith 80 mins).
Subs Not Used: Carragher, Martyn, Southgate, Sheringham. (Full Squad)


Match Details

England Goals: Scholes (64 mins), Beckham (87 mins)

Greece Cautions: Vrizas, Fissas
England Caution: Ashley Cole

Referee: Rune Pederson (Norway)

Attendance: 45,000