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Last Updated:  Saturday, 29 March, 2003, 19:19 GMT
England ease past Liechtenstein
Owen heads England's opener
Liechtenstein 0-2 England

England secured the expected comfortable win against Liechtenstein - but it was a far from convincing display by Sven-Goran Eriksson's side.

Liechtenstein gave England some anxious moments before Michael Owen broke the deadlock in the first half of the Euro 2004 qualifier in Vaduz.

And England captain David Beckham's free-kick after the break ended the brave resistance from Liechtenstein, who occasionally belied their lowly ranking of 151st in the world.

England's first-half performance hardly made Liechtenstein look like a team with only Luxembourg and San Marino below them in the European rankings.

And Eriksson's side will need to demonstrate more quality and a greater sense of urgency when they play the second half of the European Championship double date against Turkey in Sunderland on Wednesday.

The minnows gave England a huge scare in the third minute when Thomas Beck's cross was headed narrrowly wide by Fabio D'Elia.

Beck was the danger man again when he was involved in an exchange with Mario Frick before shooting narrowly wide.

Frick posed the next threat with a long-range drive which England keeper David James was grateful to hold on to.

England finally broke the shackles after 27 minutes to settle their nerves as the reliable Owen put them in front.


Owen's Liverpool team-mate Emile Heskey was the creator with a right-wing cross which was skilfully headed past Peter Jehle by his strike partner.

Beckham had a great chance to double the advantage when he beat the Liechtenstein offside trap, but his control was dismal.

Owen was denied by Jehle two minutes after the break, the Liechtenstein keeper blocking with his legs after good work by the hard-working Kieron Dyer.

But the second breakthrough was not far away - and it was captain Beckham who did the trick with a trademark free-kick after 52 minutes.

Frick was looking a lively customer - and he was narrowly off target on the hour after a brilliant run left three England players trailing in his wake.

Eriksson introduced Everton teenager Wayne Rooney with 12 minutes left as England played out time to victory.

But England were never convincing, and Liechtenstein almost got the goal their endeavour deserved when Martin Stocklasa struck the post in injury time.

Liechtenstein: Jehle, Telser, D'Elia, Hasler, Michael Stocklasa, Martin Stocklasa, Zech, Buchel, Thomas Beck, Frick, Gerster. Subs: Heeb, Ospelt, Gigon, Ritter, Matthias Beck, Burgmeier, Nigg.

England: James, G Neville, Bridge, Ferdinand, Southgate, Beckham, Scholes, Gerrard, Dyer, Heskey, Owen. Subs: Robinson, Mills, Woodgate, Butt, Murphy, Vassell, Rooney.

Referee: George Kasnaferis (Greece).

England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson
"Maybe we lacked a bit of concentration"

England captain David Beckham
"They created more chances than we would have liked"

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