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Last Updated: Monday, 21 June, 2004, 20:37 GMT 21:37 UK
Croatia 2-4 England

David Beckham and Wayne Rooney
A Wayne Rooney brace and goals from Paul Scholes and Frank Lampard ensured England will meet Portugal in the quarter-finals of Euro 2004.

England went behind in the sixth minute after Niko Kovac poked the ball home.

But Scholes' close-range header drew England level and Rooney then arrowed a shot past keeper Tomislav Butina.

In the second half Rooney beat Butina with a cool finish and although Igor Tudor scored for Croatia, Lampard added a fourth with a run and a shot.

England's defence had struggled with a series of free-kicks in the previous game against Switzerland and Croatia were quick to exploit that nervousness.

I don't remember anyone making such an impact on a tournament since Pele in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson on Rooney

David Beckham fouled Milan Rapaic and the Croatian midfielder's free-kick to the far post saw Ashley Cole mis-kick towards his own goal as he tried to clear.

David James got a hand to Cole's panicky clearance but Niko Kovac was quickest to react and he flicked the ball home.

England began to lay siege to the Croatian goal and Butina made a superb save to deny Scholes after the Manchester United midfielder had been sent clear by Rooney.

KEY MOMENTS
6 mins: Niko Kovac gives Croatia an early lead
40 mins: Scholes pulls England level
45 mins: Rooney's shot brings him his third goal of the tournament
68 mins: Rooney adds a third for England
74 mins: Tudor's header revives Croatia's hopes
79 mins: Lampard scores his second goal of the tournament

Butina looked less assured midway through the first-half when he nervously punched away a Sol Campbell header and then a Gary Neville cross.

Croatia were quick to break whenever an England attack broke down and James had to get down to smother Tomislav Sokota's shot.

The England keeper made an even better stop after Dado Prso unleashed a shot from just outside the box.

Six minutes before the interval England put their best move of the half together and the result was Scholes' goal.

Steven Gerrard fed the ball to Lampard and the Chelsea midfielder's pass sent Michael Owen clear.

Butina came out bravely to deny Owen, but the ball broke to Rooney whose header across goal was nodded into the net by the stooping Scholes.

In first-half stoppage time, Scholes turned creator, flicking the ball into the path of Rooney, who unleashed an unstoppable shot past Butina.

Emboldened by the change in their fortunes, England were quickly back on the attack after the interval.

Butina saved well again from Scholes, while Owen's chip over the Croatian goalkeeper landed on the roof of the net.

England took control of the game in the 68th minute when Rooney latched on to Owen's pass and the Everton striker stroked the ball past Butina to claim his fourth goal of the tournament.

Tudor pulled a goal back for Croatia with a header, but Lampard restored England's two-goal advantage after he broke into the box with a surging run and then drilled the ball past Butina.

The win means England have qualified for the knockout stages of the European Championship for the first time on foreign soil.

And there can be no doubt Rooney has been the catalyst, with another top-class performance that is sure to draw yet more lavish praise, and spark yet more transfer gossip, both in England and across Europe.


Croatia: Butina, Simic (Srna 67), Robert Kovac (Mornar 45), Simunic, Zivkovic, Rosso, Tudor, Nico Kovac, Rapaic (Olic 55), Prso, Sokota.
Subs not used: Babic, Bjelica, Didulica, Klasnic, Leko, Neretljak, Tokic, Tomas, Vasilj.

Booked: Simic.

England: James, Gary Neville, Terry, Campbell, Ashley Cole, Beckham, Gerrard, Lampard (Phil Neville 84), Scholes (King 70), Owen, Rooney (Vassell 72).
Subs not used: Bridge, Butt, Carragher, Joe Cole, Dyer, Hargreaves, Heskey, Robinson, Walker.

Attendance: 63,000.

Referee: Pierluigi Collina (Italy).


OFFICIAL STATS BY UEFA
Category Croatia England
Total shots 13 19
Shots on target 8 14
Possession 50% 50%
Corners won 4 6
Fouls committed 17 15
Offsides 3 1
Bookings 1 0
Sent Off 0 0



TRIVIA

  • This victory marks only the second time England have won successive European Championship matches. The only other occasion was Euro 96 when they edged Scotland (2-0) and Netherlands (4-1).
  • This is the first time England progress beyond the group phase when the European Championship is staged outside of England.
  • By scoring the opening goal against England, Croatia's Nico Kovac became the eighth oldest player to score a goal in a European Championship match.
  • At 32 years, eight months and six days, Kovac is the oldest player to score a European Championship goal on behalf of his country.





    Links to more Euro 2004 stories


     

  • WATCH AND LISTEN
    Highlights: Croatia 2-4 England



    Interview: Sven-Goran Eriksson



    Interview: Wayne Rooney and David Beckham




    SEE ALSO
    Rooney goals cheer England fans
    21 Jun 04  |  UK News


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