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Saturday, June 5, 1999 Published at 17:22 GMT 18:22 UK

Sport: Football

Scholes off as English hopes crumble

Tim Sherwood and Henrik Larsson clash during a fiery match

England 0-0 Sweden

Paul Scholes became the first England player to be sent off at Wembley as England's realistic chance of automatic qualification for Euro 2000 crumbled away.

Alan Green: "England are in trouble"
The Manchester United midfielder was given his marching orders early in the second half for a second bookable offence.

But in truth it was the third bad challenge he had made after getting away with a horror tackle in the first minute of the game.

The three tackles followed his three goals in England's last qualifier in coach Kevin Keegan's first game in charge against Poland.

The score itself gives Sweden a massive lead in the group and leaves England to battle with Poland for second place and a probable play-off for the right to play in next year's tournament.


A minute's silence was held before the start following the recent death of 1966 World Cup winner Sir Alf Ramsey although it was less than immaculately observed.

[ image: Kennet Andersson causes Sol Campbell problems]
Kennet Andersson causes Sol Campbell problems
The game began in fiery circumstances with Swede Hakan Mild's match ended by a violent challenge from Scholes.

He was fortunate not to be booked at this early stage, for a tackle which left Mild nursing a nasty-looking gash on his thigh.

The first real chance came in the 26th minute, when Sweden's Henrik Larsson headed wide after Fredrik Ljungberg's left wing cross found the Celtic striker unmarked.

Two minutes later Scholes received the booking he had deserved to get earlier in the half, a card which already meant he would miss the next qualifier in Bulgaria on Wednesday.

After half an hour Sweden started to turn up the pressure, with a succession of dangerous set pieces, but they could not break through despite some nervous England defending.

Martin Keown was replaced by Rio Ferdinand during the half after the Arsenal defender pulled up with a hamstring injury.

And Alan Shearer wasted England's best chance of the half three minutes into injury time, when he blasted over after Scholes' neat lay off from a David Beckham cross.

Gray replaces Le Saux

The home side would have been pleased to have reached the break level after seeing the visitors dominate the game.

Keegan brought on Sunderland's Michael Gray for his second cap at half-time in place of Le Saux.

[ image: Scholes with Johan Mjallby before his dismissal]
Scholes with Johan Mjallby before his dismissal
But after 51 minutes Scholes was dismissed for a knee-high challenge on Stefan Schwarz, and the home side's plans were in disarray.

Schwarz himself had been yellow carded two minutes before the Scholes dismissal for a foul on Beckham.

David Batty did not take long to join him in the book as he stood on Schwarz's ankle long after the ball had gone.

Despite their numerical advantage Sweden were clearly happy to soak up what little pressure England could manage, knowing that a draw would leave them in command of the group.

With 20 minutes to go Keegan told Robbie Fowler to strip off, but just as he was about to come on, Beckham pulled up injured and Ray Parlour became England's third substitution.

And despite England's greater need it was the visitors rather than the hosts who threatened to win the match in the closing stages.

David Seaman reacted superbly to turn a free kick from Arsenal clubmate Fredrik Ljungberg on to the woodwork.

A Sweden goal would not have been unfair to Keegan's side, who looked a beaten team well before they were booed off the Wembley pitch.

England: Seaman, Neville, Le Saux, Sherwood, Keown, Campbell, Beckham, Batty, Shearer, Cole, Scholes. Subs: Gray, Ferdinand, Redknapp, Parlour, Sheringham, Fowler, Walker.

Sweden: Hedman, Nilsson, P. Andersson, Bjorklund, Kaamark, Schwarz, Mild, Mjallby, Ljungberg, Larsson, K. Andersson. Subs: Lucic, Sundgren, Alexandersson, D. Andersson, Svensson, Osmanovski, Kihlstedt.

Referee: Jose Garcia-Aranda (Spain)

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