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   June 13, 2002 | 1350 IST


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England survive group of death

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Trevor Huggins

England booked their place in the second round of the World Cup on Wednesday after an indifferent display earned them a 0-0 draw with already eliminated Nigeria in their final match in the "group of death".

Unrecognisable from the team who beat pre-tournament favourites Argentina 1-0 on Friday, England lacked any urgency moving forward, aside from a 10-minute spell at the end of the first half, and were sloppy at the back.

England, who have never lost to an African side in 13 encounters, finished second in group F with five points behind Sweden who drew 1-1 with Argentina in the other match to top the group with five points but more goals scored.

David BeckhamEngland, who now play group A winners Denmark on Saturday in Niigata, came closest to scoring when Paul Scholes' long shot was tipped onto the post and bounced out.

Nigeria, playing an experimental side with five changes from the team beaten 2-1 by Sweden, could even have snatched a departing win with better finishing.

England treated most the first half like their pre-World Cup friendly with Cameroon.

They finally roused themselves for the closing minutes of the half, when Owen had a shot on the run deflected away and another charged down by a packed defence, while Danny Mills smacked a free shot hopelessly wide.

Their best chance fell to Scholes, whose 25-metre drive was tipped onto the post and out by Nigeria's teenage goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.

England made an even worse start to the second half with Sol Campbell's wayward pass intercepted by Julius Aghahowa, the danger being averted only by the returning defenders.

Owen nearly broke the deadlock before the hour but his outstretched boot just failed to connect with an Emile Heskey daisy-cutter from the right flank.

An even better chance fell to substitute Teddy Sheringham, who ballooned his shot over from 10 metres in the 75th minute, as England ground out their draw and place in the next round.

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