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Saturday, 24 November, 2001, 19:03 GMT
Walker rescues England
England striker Karen Walker scored a crucial equaliser
Walker grabs an equaliser and earns England a point
Portugal 1-1 England

England's long march to China took a number of twists and turns this afternoon as they drew with Portugal in their third Group Four World Cup qualifying match of the campaign.

After conceding with only six minutes on the clock England battled hard, dominating possession and camping in the Portuguese half.

Karen Walker got a deserved equaliser seven minutes before the break to give England a point.

Coach Hope Powell made three changes to the starting line-up that drew 0-0 with Holland.

Rachel Unitt returned from injury to replace the absent Danielle Murphy, while Sue Smith, also back from injury, took her customary place on the left wing.

England once again started badly and looked off the pace in the opening minutes.

The performance was unsatisfactory from start to finish
England coach Hope Powell

Their defence was exposed by some good work down the right flank.

And when Patricia was fouled by Katie Chapman just to the right of the area, winger Anabela made them pay as she headed home from the resulting free-kick.

The shock of going behind seemed to galvanise England and they began to take control, dominating possession and pushing forward looking for the equaliser.

Smith, celebrating her 22nd birthday, came close on 15 minutes but her corner kick hit the crossbar.

England continued to push forward down the left flank with Smith linking well with Rachel Yankey.

Portugal continued to threaten on the break and Anabela won a corner after beating Chapman down the right flank.

Patricia crossed the ball to the far post but Carla Couto could not convert and Unitt eventually cleared.

Rachel Yankey
Yankey lead the line with Walker

Then on 38 minutes England got a deserved equaliser.

Having spent much of the opening period camped in the Portuguese half, England forced the home side into conceding a corner.

Smith played it short then collected the return pass before crossing to the far post where Walker headed home past Cristina.

England came out much the brighter of the two sides after the break.

Sammy Britton forced Cristina into action just two minutes into the second half with a speculative flick-on which the goalkeeper gathered.

The home side gradually fought their way back into the game and, for a 10-minute spell just after the hour mark, pushed hard for a second goal.

I was pleased with the match but not with the result
Portugal coach Nuno Cristovao

Anabela was at the centre of much of their attacking play but their final touch let them down and the English defence were able to contain the danger.

Powell sent on Fara Williams for her senior debut on 69 minutes and the midfielder immediately made her presence felt shooting just wide.

England had their best chance of the half when Williams put Yankey through on goal with only the goalkeeper to beat.

But the Fulham striker skied it well over the crossbar.

And as the match drew to a close neither side came close to grabbing the winner as the game was played out in the centre of the park.

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