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Wednesday, 28 February, 2001, 21:54 GMT
Sven's England off to winning start
England 3-0 Spain
Sven Goran Eriksson's England reign got off to the perfect start with an impressive victory over Spain at Villa Park.
Liverpool's Nick Barmby - who scored the first goal of Glenn Hoddle's term as England boss - performed the feat again for the Swede to put the skids under Jose Antonio Camacho's side.
And his Anfield team-mate Emile Heskey, one of six half-time substitutions by Eriksson, scored the second just after the break to establish the platform for a morale-boosting victory.
Middlesbrough's Ugo Ehiogu also emerged from the substitutes' bench to hit the target with a header on his return to Villa Park.
And on a night when almost everything went England's way, substitute goalkeeper Nigel Martyn saved a second-half penalty from Spain debutant Javi Moreno.
Eriksson will have been delighted as England mixed a patient start with increased ambition to see off the challenge of the highly-rated Spaniards.
Eriksson will have taken many plus points from his first 90 minutes as England coach.
Sol Campbell and Rio Ferdinand formed an impressive central defensive partnership for 45 minutes while the home side also showed a range of options in attack.
Eriksson was also able to see many of his new charges in action - but most of all he will have been lifted by the simple but vitally important act of winning his first game.
Spain have a reputation for cruising through friendlies, but nothing should detract from an impressive and heartening England show after recent disappointments.
Barmby had an opportunity to give Eriksson's reign a dream opening with a chance inside the first minute, but he shot wide.
Spain took advantage of a tentative England start to dominate territory and possession, but goalkeeper David James was only threatened by a long range drive from Ivan Helguera.
England gained in confidence as the half progressed, injecting tempo and cohesion into their game after adopting holding tactics for the opening half hour.
And after Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas plunged at the feet of Paul Scholes, Barmby scored the opening goal of the Eriksson era.
Liverpool's midfield man was on the end of link between Andy Cole and Michael Owen to bravely beat Casillas to the ball and score with a close range lob.
And as England ended the half on a high, the hard working Owen tested Casillas again after he was set up by strike partner Cole.
Charlton's Chris Powell was a surprise selection for his debut but gave an impressive performance before sustaining a calf injury.
Eriksson, as expected, made six substitutions during the interval as he experimented with his first squad.
He removed James, Scholes, Powell, David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Rio Ferdinand.
It gave first England caps to Everton's Michael Ball and Sunderland midfield man Gavin McCann, as well as appearances for Martyn, Ehiogu, Heskey and Frank Lampard.
And Lampard almost marked his arrival with a goal inside 30 seconds of the restart, firing narrowly wide from 20 yards after good work by Owen.
England were in buoyant mood, despite the mass change in personnel, and extended their lead after 54 minutes.
Ehiogu caused confusion from Lampard's corner, and Heskey scored from close range with goalkeeper Casillas stranded.
Spain were given an opportunity to snatch at some respectability when a penalty was harshly awarded against Ehiogu as he challenged Moreno ater 78 minutes.
But Martyn will have increased Eriksson's delight as he dived to his left to save Moreno's spot-kick.
It all added up to the ideal start for Eriksson - but the shrewd Swede will now tougher tests lie ahead as he attempts to breathe fresh life into England's ailing World Cup 2002 campaign.
England: James, Phil Neville, Powell, Butt, Ferdinand, Campbell, Beckham, Scholes, Andy Cole, Owen, Barmby. Subs: Gary Neville, Martyn, Brown, Ehiogu, Phillips, Sheringham, Fowler, Heskey, Lampard, Carragher, Wright, Ball, McCann.
Spain: Casillas, Manuel Pablo, Romero, Guardiola, Abelardo, Mendieta, Raul, Enrique, Urzaiz Aranda, Helguera, Unai. Subs: Sergi, Canizares, Victor, J. Etxeberria, Javi Moreno, Baraja, Paco.
Referee: Kyros Vassaras (Greece)
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