Austria 0-1 England
GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times GMT)
2222: That's it for this evening - I leave you with Steve McClaren's reaction below. Thanks for all your texts and 606 messages - needless to say, you can follow all the action for Saturday's games here on BBC Sport. Take care, and please give generously to Children in Need!
"It was a useful exercise - it was important that we won, we could have scored more goals but their keeper made some good saves. We were disappointing in the second half, but there were plusses like Scott Carson's clean sheet, while Lescott, Campbell and Richards were formidable at the back. Losing Michael is a massive blow, but injuries are part of football. We need to win on Wednesday and we now go into the game without our two centre-halves and two centre-forwards - but I think there's enough in that dressing-room that we can still do it. We still have to hope that other results can go our way"
England manager Steve McClaren
2216: Elsewhere tonight, France drew 2-2 with Morocco in a friendly in Paris, while Huddersfield won 1-0 at Swansea and Arbroath drew 2-2 with Stranraer.
2212: The official line has come in - Michael Owen will definitely miss the Croatia game with injury. A nation sighs.
"Passion, pride, and perseverance are no substitutes for ball skills. Can't see this shower beating Croatia"
Susman on 606
"We created a few chances in the first half - we could have made it easier for ourselves in the second half by scoring a few more, but we didn't. Losing Michael is a huge blow - he's always produced for us in big games"
England midfielder Frank Lampard
"Owen out for a month! What a pointless match. Except it has drilled home that England won't qualify and don't deserve to"
Pete from Chesterfield, via text
2202: Spoony is now taking your calls about the game on 606 (the radio version that is) - text him on 85058, call in on 0500 909693 or e-mail email@example.com to get involved.
And if you're really keen to pick over the bones (or should I say "carcass") of that performance, there are highlights on Match of the Day on BBC Three tonight at 2230 GMT.
"If the Cruyff Holland team were total football, I guess you would say this England team is barely football"
Nogginthenogforever on 606
"I can answer your Villa question - Peter Taylor's sole match in charge (the match where he appointed Beckham captain) against Italy in 2000 featured three Villa players in the starting line-up - David James, Gareth Barry and Gareth Southgate"
John Hand, BBC News, via e-mail
2155: FULL-TIME: Austria 0-1 England
The hills are alive with the sound of... England supporters slapping their foreheads in frustration at Michael Owen's latest injury. But will it be Goodnight Vienna for their hopes of returning here for Euro 2008 next summer?
2152: The 90 minutes are up, we'll have three minutes of stoppage time for the substitutions.
2151: Ashley Young loses the ball on the England left, but his full-back Wayne Bridge rescues the situation. England may have won this game, but it's been a poor second half - surely the referee won't be sadistic enough to add too many minutes of stoppage time.
2148: Martin Hiden comes on as the latest Austria substitute. The news on the grapevine is that it's feared that Michael Owen could be out for a month with the thigh strain he picked up earlier in the game. More news as we get it.
"The FA should seriously consider paying the (male) England players £40 a day instead of the women"
Anonymous, via text
[Don't be shy - let us know your name! MM]
2146: David Bentley's corner is successfully cleared by Austria. There are just over five minutes of normal time left here.
"Bentley is definitely the new Beckham; same skill with the ball, same hairstyles, same attitude, same dream!"
Blackburn4top4 on 606
2145: Scott Carson pumps the ball forward but with no Peter Crouch on the field any more, it's asking too much of Jermain Defoe to win the ball in the air ahead of the six-footers in Austria's defence.
"When was the last time there were three Villa players in the same England team? Probably in the 1890s"
Jonathan R in Hove, via text
[I can remember David Platt and Gordon Cowans playing together under Graham Taylor - but not a third player - MM]
"Assuming Russia win tomorrow, how on earth are the FA going to sort Beckham out his 100th cap? Will they arrange a special 'friendly' just so they can arrange it. Are they banking on raising a wad from DB100 memorabilia?"
Andy Spurs on 606
2140: Austria make another change as local boy Veli Kavlak, from Rapid Vienna, comes on for Joachim Standfest. You're missing nothing on the pitch as the game is rather petering out after all the substitutions. Austria are happy to keep possession for long spells until they fire the odd shot very wide. Scott Carson has had little to do in goal.
2138: What can I tell you of Ernst Happel, after whom the stadium was named? He won 51 caps for Austria as a player, and also won their league title seven times with Rapid Vienna. As a coach, he won the Dutch league with Feyenoord, the Belgian league with Club Brugge, the Bundesliga with Hamburg and the Austrian league with FC Tirol. He also coached Holland to the 1978 World Cup final, and coached the Austrian national side shortly before his death in 1992.
"Midge Ure was right - It means nothing to me, Vienna"
Graham Yapp on 606
2135: England make the last of their permitted six substitutions, and it's a slightly strange one as Peter Crouch is replaced by Alan Smith up front. Slightly strange as Ashley Cole remains an unused sub - rather than having his fitness checked after injury.
"Quite frankly Mark, if Russia beat Israel then England might as well pick me and you up front"
Anonymous, via text
[You've clearly never seen me play - I once missed a penalty in a Comic Relief charity match. Against a girl. - MM]
"England's performance means that more people will tune into Children In Need... course that's what they meant to do... clever plot really!"
Delerium6345 on 606
"Beckham who travelled halfway around the world to play for his country is replaced by Bentley who refused to play for his country, a while ago"
Zznewyork on 606
2130: Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe combine again, but Ronald Gercaliu is strong at the back for Austria and clears the danger.
"I finally get it. This is a Children in Need thing right? England's performance level will increase if we donate more?"
Strip It Down on 606 [Why not give it a try? MM]
2127: Another change by Austria - Martin Harnik replaces Yuksel Sariyar. Frank Lampard nearly plays in Peter Crouch, but defender Franz Schiemer puts it behind for a corner.
2123: Micah Richards is enhancing his reputation with every game he plays - and I'm not just saying this because he's our BBC columnist this season - as he makes another timely interception.
David Beckham leaves the field ("he's nowhere near 100% fit" says Graham Taylor on 5 Live) and is replaced by David Bentley (or, as the Blackburn kit man knows him, "Betnley").
2120: That's better from Ashley Young - he attacks the full-back, crosses from the left but a flying header from Peter Crouch is straight at keeper Alex Manninger, who palms it away.
"Is it possible that Owen's 'thigh strain' is minor -- and McClaren is being somewhat intelligent and not letting him aggravate it before Croatia? Possible? Any hope whatsoever?"
Rebel Yell on 606
2118: Aston Villa's Ashley Young cuts in from the left, but his right-footed shot is hopelessly high and wide.
"This does not look like an England side desperate to inspire its fans to have hope, just a bunch of mismanaged crocks coming to pick up their payslips"
Anonymous on 606
2116: Austria defender Martin Stanzl collapses to the turf clutching his neck, but he's fine to carry on.
"Michael Owen gets injured - it happens. Worrying whether Owen will get injured is like worrying whether the sun is going to rise"
Super Mario on 606
2114: Austrian goalkeeper Alex Manninger seems fine at the moment. Remember, he came on as a sub for the injured Jurgen Macho in the first half, but has since suffered a hand injury himself. Micah Richards makes a great tackle on Andreas Ivanschitz after a misplaced Frank Lampard pass.
"Crouch is a bit of an enigma for me. He gets criticised for only being able to score against low quality teams, but the fact of the matters, unlike Rooney, he scores"
Tex on 606 [It was his 13th goal for England - MM]
"If we play like this on Wednesday then we will be thrashed by the Croatians"
Robs All Stars on 606
"I fancy Defoe to score...there's something about players who come in from the cold... it's a little like Paolo Rossi, except without the scandal, the funny hairstyle or the two-year ban"
Jpalongo on 606
2109: Captain Andreas Ivanschitz swings in a corner for Austria, and the referee awards England a free-kick for pushing.
2108: Austria have made a couple of changes at the break too - Roman Kiernast and Christoph Leitgeb are on for Markus Weissenberger and Sanel Kuljic.
2107: Right - stand by your beds for some substitutions. Frank Lampard takes the captain's armband, so Steven Gerrard is off. Wes Brown, Gareth Barry and Ashley Young are all on - and Sol Campbell, Gerrard and Joe Cole are off. Micah Richards moves to central defence. We're under way again.
So the adjusted team is: Carson; Brown, Richards, Lescott, Bridge; Beckham, Lampard, Barry, Young; Crouch, Defoe.
2101: I know those of you in the Caroline Cheese fan club will be disappointed that she's not on live text duty tonight, but I hope you're enjoying the coverage - with the second half on its way, I do encourage you to get involved via text and 606. In the event that Michael Owen does have to return to the "disabled list" (as baseball-speak would have it), who would you have up front against Croatia? Crouch'n'Defoe? Or might it not matter anyway if Russia beat Israel?
"What a ridiculous comment by Novelo - David Beckham has been England's best player for years and still has the ability to be a matchwinner. I hope Carson in goal is a permanent move by McClaren"
Will, via text
2058: While the players take a break, the lovely Fearne Cotton nibbles what looks like a fairy cake on Children in Need.
"Why do we think we have a God-given right to go to these tournaments? Our players mirror our society - everyone thinks they are owed something - nobody wants to work for it!"
AFC Andy B on 606
"If Owen gets injured for any length of time from this fixture then the FA need to look at their reasoning for future friendlies. Quite ridiculous"
Panacynic on 606
2051: HALF-TIME - Austria 0-1 England
I won't lie to you - it's not been a classic. But although England are ahead, they will be more concerned about losing Michael Owen to a thigh strain.
Austria will be more concerned about replacement goalkeeper Alex Manninger's hand injury. Vienna may have been the setting for Graham Greene's classic novel (and film) "The Third Man", but they have no third goalkeeper. Will they persevere with Manninger, even though it's a friendly? When was the last time an international team had to put an outfield player in goal?
2049: Steven Gerrard makes a rare foray forward into the area, but Ronald Gercaliu makes the clearance. Alex Manninger is still holding his wrist after that earlier collision with Joe Cole - remember, he's a substitute himself, and Austria don't have a third keeper on the bench, so he'll probably struggle on.
2045: GOAL - Austria 0-1 England
David Beckham's corner flies towards the centre of the goal, where the lanky Peter Crouch nods it down and in (just evading Jermain Defoe on the goal-line) with a minute to go before half-time. But we'll have plenty of stoppage time.
2044: Peter Crouch chests the ball down for Joe Cole, but keeper Alex Manninger dives bravely at his feet. The ball rolls to Crouch, who must score surely... but skews his shot and it is deflected wide for a corner.
2043: Ronald Gercaliu plays in captain Andreas Ivanschitz, but Micah Richards's tackle hands Austria their first corner of the game, but it comes to nothing.
2039: The reason for Michael Owen's untimely departure is revealed as... a thigh strain. And as Plymjock on 606 said at the start of the evening, "What happens if one of the major players gets injured? You'll not be laughing then".
"The only way we'll ever get past the qualifying stages of any tournament is if McClaren realises that he should pick players for their talents (SWP, Walcott, Agbonlahor) and not because of their names (Beckham, Owen). Beckham belongs back in the MLS with the other League One standard players, not in the England team!"
Arsenal Number One on 606
2037: Joe Cole's cross is palmed away by Alex Manninger ahead of Peter Crouch. While Newcastle fans around the world kick their proverbial cats, we still don't know why Owen is off. We'll let you know as soon as we do!
2035: Michael Owen leaves the field (we can't see why), and goes straight to the dressing-room. Jermain Defoe replaces him.
2034: A flowing move involving Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and a backheel from Peter Crouch sets up Michael Owen, but his shot is palmed over by Alex Manninger.
2031: England's midfield quartet have won 265 caps between them, Mike Ingham reveals on 5 Live. David Beckham wins his 98th tonight, but is playing under Steven Gerrard's captaincy for the first time. Gerrard has been hanging back in more of a holding role tonight, allowing Frank Lampard to get forward.
2029: David Beckham is fouled around 30 yards out and takes the free-kick himself. It's straight into the two-man wall, Wayne Bridge pumps the ball back in and Joleon Lescott is caught offside.
"How bad has England football side got when they have players from MLS in their first XI?"
Novelo on 606
2028: David Beckham's corner is headed away, and Austria regain possession.
2027: It's curtains for keeper Jurgen Macho, who's carted off on a stretcher by the red-clad Austrian medical team, and the fair-haired Alex Manninger - now with AEK Athens - comes on. Eventually. His first job will be to defend the aforementioned corner.
2026: A slight delay while keeper Jurgen Macho is treated. He looks a bit woozy. Former Arsenal keeper Alex Manninger is on the bench for them, and he's warming up while wearing a royal blue woolly hat.
2024: David Beckham drills the ball forward for Peter Crouch, who collides with keeper Jurgen Macho as defender Franz Schiemer heads the ball behind. Macho collapses in a heap after the accidental clash with the Liverpool beanpole, and the result is a corner. Alan Green and Graham Taylor on 5 Live ponder whether if it had been a qualifier, would England have been calling for a penalty?
2023: David Beckham crosses from the right, keeper Jurgen Macho spills an easy gather but his defenders get the ball away.
2021: Joe Cole combines with Peter Crouch but Cole rather snatches at his shot and it doesn't trouble keeper Jurgen "He's Gotta Be So" Macho.
2019: Austria's Franz Schiemer has treatment after he's injured in a very painful area which literally brings tears to his eyes. And Children in Need brings back some youthful memories for thirtysomethings like me as Peter Davison is back at the controls of the Tardis.
2016: A good diagonal ball from David Beckham plays in Michael Owen who's fouled on the edge of the box, but Danish referee Nicolai Vollquartz plays the advantage to allow Frank Lampard to have a shot from the edge of the area, which is blocked.
2015: My BBC colleague and European football expert John Sinnott informs me that "Austria matched an all-time national record of nine matches without a win before finally recording their first victory of 2007 with a 3-2 defeat of Ivory Coast last month. The team's performances even prompted a group of fans to launch a petition urging Austria to pull out of Euro 2008 and give their automatic spot to the best team that missed out in the qualifying competition".
2012: England win the first corner of the game. David Beckham takes it... and it's frankly very poor. It doesn't even beat the first man. He gets another chance a minute later and the flag-kick is a little better, but Austria clear their lines.
2010: A dangerous moment as captain Andreas Ivanschitz bursts into the area but a timely interception by Joleon Lescott clears the danger.
2006: Frank Lampard bursts down the right, his cross is palmed away by the goalkeeper - former Sunderland and Chelsea custodian Jurgen Macho, no less - and cleared.
2005: BBC Sport columnist Micah Richards is wearing gloves, as is one of the Austrians. Scott Carson gets his first touch, coming out to comfortably claim a cross.
2001: We're under way - by the way, the Austria team is Macho, Standfest, Schiemer, Gercaliu, Stranzl, Sariyar, Aufhauser, Ivanschitz, Garics, Weissenberger, and Kuljic.
England have no fewer than THIRTEEN players on the bench (including two goalies) - basically the rest of the squad. James, Ashley Cole, Shorey, Brown, Barry, Phil Neville, Bentley, Downing, Young, Smith, Robinson, Wright-Phillips and Defoe. At least the latter two won't take up much room on the bench.
1959: As a newly-bearded Ronan Keating joins Terry Wogan and Fearne Cotton on the Children in Need stage, we've had the anthems in Austria (who are ranked 88th in the world by Fifa).
"What makes Austria 'such inferior opposition'. Just because they're not paid £100k a week each?"
Dave in Edinburgh, via text
1953: It's under 10 minutes to kick-off in Austria, but England Under-21s have beaten Bulgaria 2-0. Theo Walcott was named as man of the match.
"So few players apart from Micah Richards and Gareth Barry have come through under McClaren, I can't understand why Barry isn't playing"
BBC chief football correspondent Mike Ingham on BBC Radio 5 Live
"I think people just want this game out of the way. Even before England were in the position of possible non-qualification, I was surprised this game was in place. I can only think it was for monetary reasons"
Ex-England manager Graham Taylor on BBC Radio 5 Live
"The problem is that if we don't qualify for the finals, we will be in the second pot for the World Cup draw"
Nigusa on 606
"This whole friendly is an excuse to get Lampard and Gerrard back into the starting XI. Easy to make them look good together with such inferior opposition. McClaren has shown time after time when it comes to changing the starting XI, he doesn't have the bottle. Paul Robinson for example, nerves completely shattered, no matter what kind of performance is put in by Carson today, Robinson will always start no matter what form he is on. The same can be said from the rest of the side. Don't except Barry to be there against Croatia. It will be Gerrard and Lampard, and this will be his excuse to play them"
Tex on 606 [That's fighting talk! MM]
"This is a revenue team. Its only job is to make money for the FA"
Wardy257 on 606
1944: England Under-21s double their lead - James Milner makes it 2-0 from the spot after Theo Walcott is brought down by the Bulgarian goalie (who unlike his predecessor Borislav Mikhailov from USA 94 is not wearing a wig).
1942: From McClaren to McLaren - the McLaren Formula 1 racing team's appeal has been rejected, so Lewis Hamilton still isn't world champion.
"Looking at the way these groups came out, I still don't think this is a tough group. The crucial result for me was England drawing 0-0 with Macedonia at Old Trafford - that may be the result that stops them going to Euro 2008"
BBC chief football correspondent Mike Ingham on BBC Radio 5 Live
"I don't see why everyone's getting so worked up. I think this friendly's a good thing. We get to see how Carson plays in goal to see if he should play in Croatia, we can see the Gerrard - Lampard midfield to see if it works, David Beckham will get some more match time which he desperately needs and the team will get used to working with each other"
Dangermouse852 on 606 [But Gerrard and Lampard have surely played together enough times for McClaren to form an opinion one way or the other? MM]
"Surely we EITHER use this game as preparation for Wednesday, in which case our first choice team (Robinson, Barry etc) should play OR we use it as a chance to give others a bit of international experience, in which case we don't risk Gerrard, Cole, Owen etc"
James Manning on 606 [Good call - MM]
1934: A result from earlier tonight - the Republic of Ireland's Under-21s lost 1-0 in Montenegro. Northern Ireland's U21s have just kicked off against Luxembourg.
"England will not only qualify but will win Euro 08, c'mon England 3-0 tonight!"
The gloriously optimistic Matt in Crewe, via text
1924: If you haven't yet worn out your pocket calculators working out what England, Scotland and Northern Ireland have to do to qualify, then you can read a full and detailed explanation, to several decimal places, on the BBC Sport website.
But broadly speaking, England need Russia not to win in Israel on Saturday (seeing as it is virtually inconceivable for Russia not to beat Andorra) to give them any hope going into their last game. Scotland's task is a little simpler - beat Italy on Saturday and they're through, lose and they're out, draw and they have to rely on Ukraine beating France. And Northern Ireland have to win both their remaining games, and hope other results go their way.
TEAM NEWS: Well, we knew the team anyway - and there have been no late changes, so Scott Carson makes his debut in goal, while Joleon Lescott moves to central defence with Wayne Bridge slotting in at left-back. Some bloke from LA Galaxy is on the right of midfield, while the Lampard-Gerrard axis is back in the centre.
England: Carson; Richards, Campbell, Lescott, Bridge; Beckham, Gerrard, Lampard, Joe Cole; Crouch, Owen.
"Why why why are you playing a pointless friendly against Austria when you've got a massive game to prepare for on Wednesday? What happens if one of the major players gets injured? You'll not be laughing then"
Plymjock84 on 606
[I'm a bit of a cynic on international friendlies these days, and I'm inclined to agree with your sentiments - MM]
1913: While the senior team are warming up, Stuart Pearce's Under-21 side are already into the second half of their Uefa Under-21 qualifier against Bulgaria - where they're leading 1-0 thanks to Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor.
1905: A very good evening - it may be Children in Need night here at BBC TV Centre, but on Saturday it's very much "England In Need" night in Tel Aviv as Steve McClaren's side need Israel to do them a favour against Russia.
Before that, though, for your delectation tonight we have a friendly match, with England having travelled to Austria - the scene of next summer's Euro 2008 finals.
Whether you want to have your say on tonight's game or discuss the home countries' prospect of qualifying for Euro 2008, do get involved tonight - text us on 81111 (with "FOOTBALL" as the first word), or use 606.