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Olympics2000



BBC Five Live's Alan Green
"Maybe the French should have won"
 real 14k

Kevin Keegan
"We can play better"
 real 14k

Michael Owen
"I'm always itching to get on"
 real 14k

Gareth Barry
"I'm delighted with the way it's gone"
 real 14k

Saturday, 2 September, 2000, 20:48 GMT 21:48 UK
Owen's England magic

England's Nick Barmby challenges Lilian Thuram
France 1-1 England

Michael Owen restored England's pride after the shame of Euro 2000 with a goal that stunned France in Paris.

Owen emerged as a late substitute after Emmanuel Petit gave France a second half lead in front of their adoring fans.

And he capped an excellent England performance with a brilliant equaliser five minutes from time, to give coach Kevin Keegan a morale-boosting result.

Owen struck as time was running out, sweeping home substitute Kieron Dyer's cross to put England in good heart for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers.

It was meant to be a night of celebration for the homecoming French heroes in Paris after their Euro 2000 triumph, but England emerged with massive credit from the prestige friendly.

It also lifted some of the pressure on Keegan after the disappointments of the summer, with many performances to savour.

David Beckham was the equal of his illustrious French counterparts for long periods, while the variety in England's attack showed good signs for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers.

But France's quality came to the fore in an impressive second half, which England had to fight hard to survive.


England's Andy Cole tests the French defence
England - desperate to restore a reputation badly damaged by the manner of their exit in the summer showpiece - opened in promising fashion.

And Keegan's decision to hand Beckham the pivotal central midfield role was justified by the early exchanges.

He formed a contrasting partnership with the abrasive Dennis Wise, who announced his intentions inside the first two minutes by leaving Zinedine Zidane clutching his head after a challenge.

England's revamped system was fluid, with Barmby and Paul Scholes providing the movement to lend support to lone striker Andy Cole.

Gareth Barry, on his full international debut, almost surprised France goalkeeper Bernard Lama with a long range shot before the deputy for injured Fabien Barthez produced a moment of inspiration to deny England after 16 minutes.

Barmby looked certain to score from inside the six-yard box, but his header was brilliantly saved in acrobatic fashion.

England suffered a scare after 20 minutes when captain Tony Adams fell clutching his ankle on a rare foray forward under challenge from Marcel Desailly, but he resumed after lengthy treatment.

And England were fortunate to survive strong penalty claims seven minutes later when Martin Keown clearly upended Nicolas Anelka, but Spanish referee Juan Luis Ansuategui Roca waved away French appeals.

England had appeals of their own rejected when Scholes fell under challenge from Laurent Blanc, but it could not overshadow a first half rich in promise for coach Keegan.

Adams, who took a second heavy knock from Deschamps, was substituted at half time by Aston Villa's Gareth Southgate.

And he almost scored with his first touch, heading narrowly wide from a corner.

Brilliant

But France, who had hinted at a greater threat towards the end of the first half, were starting to exert greater authority on proceedings.

It took a brilliant saving tackle from Sol Campbell to deny Youri Djorkaeff - but England were still posing questions of their own for the French.

Cole had a shot saved, before Barmby was left cursing the eccentric Lama after 55 minutes.

Liverpool's 6m summer buy from Everton timed his run brilliantly to beat the France offiside trap, but Lama raced out to save as England looked poised to go ahead.

The mood of celebration inside the Stade de France in honour of the world and European champions was personified when Deschamps and Blanc were substituted by coach Roger Lemerre after 57 minutes.


Petit (left) celebrates France's goal with Lebouef
The two French greats were leaving the international stage, and they were given a fitting reception from both crowd and team mates.

England may have been disturbed by the lengthy break, and France took the lead when their guard slipped fatally after 64 minutes.

Zidane, in what turned out to be his final contribution to the game, slipped in Petit, and he dragged a right foot finish into the corner of the net past the diving Seaman.

France then turned up the heat, with Seaman saving well from Wiltord,Thuram and Trezeguet as they finally turned on the style.

Then came Owen's moment of inspiration - and suddenly life got a lot easier for Kevin Keegan.


France: Lama, Thuram, Blanc, Desailly, Lizarazu, Petit, Deschamps, Zidane, Djorkaeff, Anelka, Henry. Substitutes: Wiltord, Vieira, Lebouef, Trezeguet, Candela, Pires.

England: Seaman, Campbell, Adams, Keown, Anderton, Beckham, Wise, Barry, Barmby, Scholes, Cole. Substitutes: Southgate, Dyer, Owen, McManaman.

Referee: Juan Luis Ansuategui Roca (Spain)

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