England survived a second half Swedish onslaught to finish with a
point from the group F match. Swede
Solace - Images from the match
England's campaign is assuming the proportions of an epic saga.
Indifferent form almost cost them a berth in the finals. Then
Swede Sven Goran Eriksson took over and inspired Beckam and
company to qualify.
But it has been a roller coaster thereafter. England are pitted
against talented Nigeria, Sweden and favourites Argentina in what
is being known as the 'Group of Death'. As if such competition
wasn't stiff enough, they are also hamstrung with injuries.
Bruised knees and ankles mean this squad is far from match fit.
The gifted Gerrard will be sorely missed in midfield. Then again,
England's leading lights are struggling. Beckam is recuperating
from a broken foot and Owen has his share of niggling injuries.
Sol Campbell and Keown stand out in defence, Fowler and Heskey can
be dangerous in the box, but Beckam and Owen hold the key to
England's fortunes at the Cup. The bench seems raw and sparse, which may prompt Ericksson to blood a new face or two.
In the ultimate analysis, Beckam will have to come up with
something special, even if he has to stand on one foot.
Goalkeepers: David Seaman, Nigel Martin, David James.
Defenders: Rio Ferdinand, Sol Campbell, Gareth Southgate, Ashley Cole, Wayne Bridge, Danny Mills, Wes Brown, Martin Keown.
Midfielders: David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Danny Murphy, Kieron Dyer, Nicky Butt, Owen Hargreaves, Joe Cole.
Forwards: Michael Owen, Emile Heskey, Darius Vassell, Robbie Fowler, Teddy Sheringham.
L 0-1 Germany
D 0-0 Finland (a)
W 2-1 Finland
W 3-1 Albania
W 2-0 Greece
W 5-1 Germany
W 2-0 Albania (h)
D 2-2 Greece (h)