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Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 21:00 GMT 22:00 UK
Macedonia hold ragged England
David Beckham celebrates England's first equaliser
David Beckham celebrates England's first equaliser
England 2-2 Macedonia

David Seaman's international career hangs by a thread after his latest expensive error on a night of embarrassment for England against Macedonia.

Arsenal's veteran goalkeeper set the tone for a ragged England display by allowing Artim Sakiri to score direct from a corner.

It handed Macedonia an early lead and gave them the perfect incentive as they hung on for a draw at The St Mary's Stadium.

England's shame was complete when Alan Smith was sent off in injury-time for his second bookable offence.

David Beckham swiftly made amends for Seaman's mistake, but it needed a spectacular Steven Gerrard strike to rescue England a second time before the interval after Vanco Trajanov restored Macedonia's lead.

Dejected Seaman after his error
Dejected David Seaman after his error

Coach Sven-Goran Eriksson replaced Nicky Butt with Southampton's Wayne Bridge, who played on the left flank on his home ground with Paul Scholes moved to a central role.

The first half was a farcical affair - with a remarkable chain of events set off by the moment that could end Seaman's international career.

Sakiri's inswinging corner was a routine effort, but Seaman revived memories of the blunder that sent England crashing out of the World Cup against Brazil by allowing the ball to drop behind him into the net.

Macedonia's lead lasted only two minutes, but Seaman's embarrassment will last a lot longer.

Beckham spared England's blushes by racing on to Scholes' through ball and lobbing over Petar Milosevski.

England should have settled, but more shoddy defending saw Macedonia regain their lead after 24 minutes.

Sakiri's shot was half cleared by Sol Campbell and Trajanov steered a precise right-foot finish past Seaman.

Delight for Smith and Beckham
Delight for Smith and Beckham

England needed a moment of inspiration - and Gerrard provided it with a brilliant volley from the edge of the area after 35 minutes.

It was Gerrard's last meaningful moment, as he was stretchered off in the 53rd minute, collapsing with a pulled muscle in an innocuous incident.

England's second half show was desperately lacking in imagination, but they almost grabbed a lifeline after 69 minutes when Woodgate's shot was smuggled off the line by Robert Popov.

It was a night of total embarrassment for Seaman, who suffered ironic jeers from the home crowd and was tested from the most outrageous distances by optimistic Macedonian shooting.

And just when Eriksson thought it could not get any worse, Smith recklessly tackled Aleksandar Vasoski and received his second yellow card.

England: Seaman, Neville, Campbell, Woodgate, Cole, Beckham, Gerrard, Scholes, Bridge, Owen, Smith. Subs: Mills, James, Southgate, Hargreaves, Butt, Lampard, Vassell.

Macedonia: Petar Milosevski, Popov, Petrov, Sedloski, Vasoski, Sumulikoski, Trajanov, Aleksander Mitrevski, Toleski, Sakiri, Grozdanovski. Subs: Nikoloski, Grncarov, Vajs, Pandev, Stojanovski, Ignatov, Nacevski.

Referee: Arturo Dauden Ibanez (Spain)

BBC Five Live's Alan Green
"England were shocking"
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson
"We deserved to win"
England captain David Beckham
"We have to pick ourselves up from this"
England and West Ham keeper David James
"Hopefully I can sway opinion"
Should England drop David Seaman?



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16 Oct 02 | Football
16 Oct 02 | Wales
16 Oct 02 | England
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