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Wednesday, September 8, 1999 Published at 21:52 GMT 22:52 UK

Sport: Football

England face Euro shut-out

David Beckham appeals in vain for a penalty

Poland 0-0 England

David Batty was sent off as England's Euro 2000 hopes were left hanging by a thread in Warsaw.

The BBC's Alan Green: "The second half performance was disjointed"
The performance was as disappointing as the result for Kevin Keegan's side, who must now hope that Sweden beat Poland in a month's time.

If the Poles get a draw or win from their trip to Scandinavia, England will fail to even make the qualifying play-offs for next summer's tournament.

[ image: Batty: Fourth England midfielder to see red in last 15 months]
Batty: Fourth England midfielder to see red in last 15 months
Two things have marked this campaign for England - creative failure and a series of sendings off.

Both were again in evidence in Warsaw as Batty followed Paul Ince and Paul Scholes in picking up red cards.

Meanwhile, as in the two draws against Bulgaria, the midfield and forwards were again too predictable and unable to seriously trouble a determined defence.

Neville returns - briefly

Keegan began the game with Fowler up front and Michael Owen on the bench.

[ image: Gary Neville: Stretchered off after 13 minutes]
Gary Neville: Stretchered off after 13 minutes
Gary Neville was preferred to Kieron Dyer at right back, while Paul Scholes also returned from suspension.

Poland began the stronger against a nervous England team, although it was an England man who nearly scored for them.

Batty's defensive header struck the post as he escaped the embarrassment of an own goal to add to his later dismissal.

The English were in some disarray at the time, after Neville had been stretchered off and replaced by brother Phil.

Martin Keown had also just been booked for a challenge as Poland, knowing that a win would secure them the play-off place, threw men forward.

England found it impossible to retain possession, and it was 25 minutes before a decent chance was created.

But substitute Neville's accurate cross was wasted by Fowler, who headed wide.

Fowler misses

The rest of the first half was more even, and on the stroke of half time Fowler again came close, having a fierce shot from a corner saved off the line.

Poland continued to provide problems, and they started the second half as they had the first, pushing forward in search of the opener.

Fowler also made the most glaring of his collection of misses after half time, when he failed to even control the ball after being found unmarked in the penalty area.

[ image: Steve McManaman tries to break free]
Steve McManaman tries to break free
The Austrian referee Gunther Benko then made what looked to be a mistake of his own, as Scholes appeared to be brought down in the box.

But the official waved English protests away after refusing to give a penalty.

The Poles began to threaten again with Radoslav Gilewicz going close on two occasions.

England needed a spark, and with 25 minutes left Owen was brought on for the misfiring Fowler.

But wheras the older Liverpool striker had at least created chances, the teenager did not manage to threaten - apart from one wild volley, and a run and cross which was comfortably cleared.

Another young star, Kieron Dyer, was called upon to try to retrieve the situation with 10 minutes to go.

Red card ends miserable night

But two minutes later the task was made even more difficult by Batty's reckless sliding tackle..

Radoslaw Michalski was not in a dangerous position when Batty charged in and crashed into his ankle, and the referee was euqlly quick in producing the red card.

Ten-men England now had the dilemma of desperately wanting to score, but also not being able to afford losing.

And despite Beckham's skied volley, it was Poland who came closest to winning it.

Andrzej Juskowiak would have ended England's involvement there and then had he headed either side of Martyn from four yards.

But his effort was straight at the England keeper to leave Keegan's side facing the agony of waiting.


Poland: Matysek, Klos, Waldoch, Siadaczka, Zielinski, Hajto, Michalski, Iwan, Trzeciak, Krzwzstof, Gilewicz. Subs: Dudek, Juskowiak, Bak, Rzasa, Brzeczek, Swierczewski, Majak.

England: Martyn, G. Neville, Pearce, Batty, Adams, Keown, Beckham, Scholes, Shearer, Fowler, McManaman. Subs: P. Neville, Walker, Southgate, Dyer, Parlour, Sheringham, Owen

Referee: G Benko (Austria)

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