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Alan Green
"This was the best England display for quite a while"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 31 May, 2000, 19:02 GMT 20:02 UK
Victorious farewell for England

Fowler is congratulated by fellow goalscorer Adams
England 2-0 Ukraine

England kept their Euro 2000 bandwagon on track with victory over a dangerous Ukraine side in their last home game before the finals.

Robbie Fowler put the seal on his place in the squad by firing England ahead just before half-time.

And Tony Adams doubled the advantage after the break as the Wembley crowd were treated to a second-half exhibition of flowing football.



It was an emotional day. This is a fabulous stadium and I've had great times here - but hopefully the best is yet to come

Alan Shearer
But there was to be no fairytale send-off for skipper Alan Shearer, who failed to find the net in his last ever home international.

Liverpool striker Fowler struck with half-time approaching, after England had struggled to break down the determined Ukrainians.

Shearer - who will retire after the finals - sent a header goalwards from David Beckham's corner and, when Ukranian keeper Viatcheslav Kernozenko failed to hold the ball, Fowler was on hand to slam it into the roof of the net.

Ukraine's brave effort was virtually extinguished midway through the second half when Adams scored - again from a corner.



Paul Scholes fires the ball against the woodwork
The Arsenal defender found himself in a rare attacking position and, after pressure from Shearer, smacked a shot into the ground which bounced over Kernozenko's despairing dive and into the back of the net.

After a stuttering start, England's performance gained in authority as the game progressed.

And by the closing stages, with a number of fringe players looking to catch the eye of manager Kevin Keegan, confidence was high and chances were carved out at regular intervals.

Emile Heskey should have made it 3-0 15 minutes from time but, after a neat through-ball from fellow substitute Nick Barmby had sent him clear on goal, his shot was blocked by the Ukraine keeper.

There were further chances for Heskey and the livewire Barmby, but Keegan will have been happy with the 2-0 scoreline.

Fowler off to finals

Fowler was arguably England's most impressive player in a first half in which they made inroads going forward but sometimes struggled to cope with an unfamiliar 3-5-2 formation.



I'm delighted to be part of the England set-up - and I was really pleased to cap it off with a goal

Robbie Fowler
They were disjointed in the early stages, but Paul Scholes struck the post with a low shot, with Fowler again at the centre of the attack.

Keegan showed how secure Fowler's place was in his squad when he replaced the goalscorer with his Anfield team-mate Heskey at half-time.

Despite England's regular forays forward, they did not always look quite so secure at the back.


Phil Neville and Shevchenko
Phil Neville holds off the dangerous Shevchenko
Ukraine, who are rated by many experts as the best team not to reach the European Championships, were a constant threat on the break.

And they would have equalised after the interval, had England keeper Nigel Martyn not won a personal duel with the visitors' star striker Andrei Shevchenko.

First, a minute after the break, the AC Milan forward sprinted past Sol Campbell and fired in a fierce shot, which Martyn was forced to parry.

Shevchenko, the top scorer in Serie A last season, was again denied by an athletic Martyn save when he powered a header towards the corner of the net.

England's second-choice keeper then made it three fine saves in a row when he tipped Shevchenko's fizzing free-kick over the bar.


Teams:

England: Martyn, Southgate, Adams, Campbell, Beckham, Gerrard, Scholes, McManaman, P. Neville, Shearer, Fowler.

Subs: Dyer, Keown, Ferdinand, Barry, Barmby, Phillips, Heskey, Wright.

Ukraine: Kernozenko, Luzhny, Dimitrulin, Vaschuk, Timoshchyuk, Popov, Kandaurov, Holokov, Husin, Shevchenko, Rebrov.

Subs: Virt, Levytsky, Zubov, Morov, Mizin, Starostyak, Kovalov, Vorebey.

Referee: L Michel (Slovakia)

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See also:

31 May 00 | England
Cole axed by Keegan
31 May 00 | England
Macca: Don't judge me on one game
30 May 00 | England
Euro heartache for midfield duo
31 May 00 | England
England v Ukraine: Clockwatch
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