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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 June, 2003, 06:24 GMT 07:24 UK
England seal late win
Southgate and Gerrard celebrate
England 2-1 Serbia & Montenegro

Joe Cole crowned an impressive appearance as a substitute with England's winner against Serbia & Montenegro at Leicester.

Cole - who had been demoted to under-21 duty by Sven-Goran Eriksson in recent months - sent a message to the England coach ahead of the Euro 2004 qualifier against Slovakia next Wednesday.

Steven Gerrard gave England the lead on a night of more experimentation by Eriksson, but Nenad Jestrovic equalised on the stroke of half-time.

And as the game looked to be heading for a draw, Cole fired home a powerful 20-yard free-kick that carried the trademark of absent captain David Beckham.

It made for a satisfactory night for England, with the crowd inside the Walkers Stadium also behaving impeccably.

KEY MOMENTS
35 mins: Steven Gerrard puts England in front.
45 mins: Nenad Jestrovic heads Serbia & Montenegro level.
82 mins: Joe Cole fires home England's winner from a free-kick.
England coach Eriksson gave Emile Heskey the nod in attack, with Everton's teenager Rooney kept on the bench.

And it was a low-key first 45 minutes, with England in control without imposing full authority on Serbia & Montenegro.

Liverpool's Gerrard was England's best performer in the early exchanges, and he was rewarded with the opening goal 10 minutes before the interval.

Gerrard was instrumental in creating and finishing the goal, driving forward to exchange passes with Michael Owen before sliding home a good finish from ten yards.

But just as England looked set to take an advantage into the half-time interval, a moment of defensive carelessness gave the visitors an equaliser.

Zvonomir Vukic's corner found Jestrovic unmarked and he headed home via Ashley Cole's boot to restore equality.

Eriksson made five changes before the start of the second half, with Ashley Cole, Gerrard, Owen, Gareth Southgate and Paul Scholes all coming off.

They were replaced by Rooney, debutant John Terry, Jermaine Jenas, Wayne Bridge, Owen Hargreaves and Joe Cole.

HAVE YOUR SAY
Serbia & Montenegro also made a host of changes and it made for a disjointed and colourless second half.

Rooney was involved in a couple of hefty challenges, and Cole brought the best out of substitute goalkeeper Dragan Zilic with a powerful run.

And Cole made his mark even more when he put England ahead with eight minutes remaining, firing a 20-yard free-kick past Zilic.

Zilic then saved brilliantly from Rooney in injury-time as England ended the game well in command to make it a satisfying night for Eriksson.


England: James, Mills (Carragher 61), Southgate (Terry 45), Upson (Barry 85), Ashley Cole (Bridge 46), Phil Neville (Beattie 88), Gerrard (Jenas 46), Lampard (Joe Cole 61), Scholes (Hargreaves 46), Owen (Rooney 45), Heskey (Vassell 61). Subs Not Used: Robinson, Walker.

Serbia & Montenegro: Jevric (Zilic 67), Mirkovic (Nenad Brnovic 46), Didic (Darko Kovacevic 82), Stefanovic (Krstajic 50), Markovic (Njegus 67), Duljac (Boskovic 47), Kovacedic (Malbasa 46), Dmitrovic (Trobok 46), Sasa Ilic (Mijatovic 68), Zvonimir Vukic (Nenad Djordjevic 46), Jestrovic (Milosevic 74).

Booked: Didic.

Attendance: 30,900.

Referee: Paul Allaerts (Belgium).






WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Alan Green
"The substitutions, as usual, destroyed any creativity"


England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson
"Everything is set for next week"


ENGLAND'S SUMMER MATCHES

ENGLAND 2-1 SLOVAKIA

ENGLAND 2-1 SERBIA & M

SOUTH AFRICA 1-2 ENGLAND


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