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Sunday, October 10, 1999 Published at 19:34 GMT 20:34 UK


Sport: Football

Spectacular goals boost England

Shearer opens the scoring after just six minutes

England 2-1 Belgium

A spectacular first international goal from Jamie Redknapp and a smart overhead kick from Alan Shearer ensured a further increase in England's feelgood factor this weekend.


The BBC's Alan Green: "This was a disjointed display"
But after Euro 2000 play-off qualification was ensured thanks to the Swedes, this friendly win over next summer's co-hosts suggested that coach Kevin Keegan has a lot of work still to do.

Shearer wasted no time in transferring his recent excellent club form back into the international arena as he gave the hosts a six-minute lead.

But Belgium dominated the rest of the first half and levelled within eight minutes of Shearer's goal thanks to poor defending.

And it took the introduction of Shearer's likely play-off strike partner Michael Owen for England to dominate possession and chances towards the end of the game.


[ image: Lampard enjoyed an impressive debut]
Lampard enjoyed an impressive debut
England had Steve Guppy and Frank Lampard making their debuts, and both were involved in the opening goal.

Guppy's inswinging corner found Tony Adams on the far side of the penalty area.

The Arsenal defender's header reached Lampard, who mishit his shot into the ground.

The ball bounced up invitingly, and Shearer hit his overhead kick perfectly.

It might have been two just minutes later when the recalled Paul Ince flashed a 25-yard effort wide.

But in the 14th minute the visitors drew level with a well worked goal.


[ image: Peeters denies Phillips the ball in front of the Sunderland crowd]
Peeters denies Phillips the ball in front of the Sunderland crowd
Overlapping full-back David Oyen latched on to a penetrating pass from Gilles De Bilde, and his low centre was turned into an unguarded net by Branko Strupar.

Belgium began to knock the ball around with increasing confidence, and Oyen almost scored a second.

For the middle third of the half England seldom ventured out of their half, although they began to threaten towards the interval.

The best opportunity came when Lampard was denied by Belgian keeper Geert de Vlieger who raced out to block his attempted lob.

Keepers changed

Keegan admitted after the game he "went ballistic at half time" but it still took time for the words to have their effect.

The teams returned having each changed their goalkeeper, with Nigel Martyn replacing David Seaman.

Strupar came close to a second with a looping header which went just wide.

Too often the home side's passing went astray, and it took a double substitution to provide the necessary improvement.

Owen replaced Phillips, while Phil Neville came on for Kieron Dyer.

The new players immediately gave England a sharper edge, and within a few minutes of their arrival Redknapp fired England ahead.

The Liverpool midfielder's typically crisp and powerful strike from 30 yards struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced down over the line.

But it was his club colleague Owen who provided the Belgians with far greater problems.

He twisted and turned the visitors' defence, creating a number of half chances, although he did get booked for diving in the penalty area.

More substitutions followed later, with Dennis Wise coming on, but there were to be no further goals as substitute Emile Heskey hit the post after intercepting a back pass.

Keegan not happy

Keegan admitted his experiment in returning to three central defenders had seen mixed results.


[ image: Goalscorer Jamie Redknapp is surrounded by England players]
Goalscorer Jamie Redknapp is surrounded by England players
"Okay, we changed the system but basic things like passing the ball, getting round people, weren't being done," he said of the first half.

"We got at them in the second half, made chances, but I'm never going to be pleased with a performance like that."

Keegan paid tribute to debutant Guppy for his work on the left side and believed Lampard had improved throughout the game.

Teams:

England: Seaman, Dyer, Southgate, Adams, Keown, Guppy, Lampard, Ince, Redknapp, Shearer, Phillips. Subs: Neville, Martyn, Le Saux, Wise, Scholes, Heskey, Owen.

Belgium: De Vlieger, Deflandre, Peeters, Van Meir, Van Kerckhoven, Oyen, Van De Haeghe, Wilmots, Tanghe, De Bilde, Strupar. Subs: Gaspercic, Pierre, Walem, Brocken, Goor, Brogno, Clement.

Referee: Anders Frisk (Sweden)



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