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banner Saturday, 10 November, 2001, 16:51 GMT
Sweden hold England
David Beckham gave England the lead from the penalty spot against Sweden
Beckham slots home England's penalty
England 1-1 Sweden

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England's World Cup countdown got off to a low-key start as they were held to a draw by well-drilled Sweden at Old Trafford.

Coach Sven-Goran Eriksson failed to break the 33-year curse his fellow countrymen have inflicted on England - despite the home side taking a fortunate lead through David Beckham's first-half penalty.

Sweden equalised on the stroke of half-time when goalkeeper Nigel Martyn dropped Erik Edman's free-kick at the feet of Hakan Mild.

Eriksson used the friendly as an opportunity to experiment, with members of England's shadow squad attempting to stake their claim for places in Korea and Japan next summer.

Sunderland's Kevin Phillips worked hard - but is still goalless at international level and needed to do more to disrupt Eriksson's first choice attacking options.

England used seven substitutes, with Liverpool's Danny Murphy impressing as a second-half replacement on his debut.

Eriksson will be happy to have had the chance to make a close examination of so many potential members of his squad.

But no England players aiming to force their way to the forefront of Eriksson's thoughts produced firm evidence for their inclusion.

Trevor Sinclair was brought down for England's penalty
Sinclair wins England's penalty
And it was an understated Old Trafford occasion with England qualification already assured, and Eriksson taking the opportunity to shuffle his pack.

Phillips attempted to make a mark on his recall, and he had Sweden in his sights early on with a powerful shot that was well saved by Magnus Hedman.

And Hedman was in spectacular action again after 18 minutes when Beckham almost repeated his heroics of the crucial World Cup qualifier against Greece.

He curled a 25-yard effort towards the top corner, but the Coventry City keeper dived brilliantly to his left to save.

England were not to be denied - and new cap Trevor Sinclair was heavily involved as they took a fortunate lead after 26 minutes.

Sinclair tumbled with Christoffer Andersson in close attendance, but there was no contact and Sweden were rightly aggrieved when French referee Claude Colombo pointed to the spot.

Beckham heightened Sweden's sense of injustice by lashing the resulting penalty past Hedman.

Sweden had demonstrated a controlled build-up, and their measured approach was rewarded with an equaliser two minutes before half-time.

Goalkeeper Martyn should have held Erik Edman's free-kick, and when England's defence was slow to react, Mild shot into the roof of the net from close range.

Alexandersson beats Carragher
Alexandersson beats Carragher
Eriksson resisted the temptation to indulge in experiments until almost on the hour had gone - then made five changes at the same time.

Emile Heskey, Phillips, Sinclair, Gary Neville and Nicky Butt were replaced by Teddy Sheringham, Darren Anderton, Robbie Fowler, Danny Mills and Murphy.

It was Murphy's first cap - and the in-form Liverpool midfield man almost made an instant impact.

He was involved as Anfield team-mate Fowler brought a fine save from Sweden's substitute goalkeeper Magnus Kihlstedt.

And he was the first England player on target seconds later when Kihlstedt made a brilliant double save, blocking a powerful follow-up from the unfortunate Fowler.

Eriksson's changes injected much-needed impetus into England's display as Sweden threatened to survive in relative comfort.

England had penalty appeals turned down in injury time when Edman appeared to handle - but Eriksson's side were forced to settle for a draw.

England: Martyn, G Neville, Carragher, Ferdinand, Southgate, Butt, Scholes, Beckham, Sinclair, Heskey, Phillips.
Substitutes: P Neville, Wright, Powell, Mills, Keown, Sheringham, Ehiogu, Murphy, Lampard, Anderton, Walker, Fowler, Smith.

Sweden: Hedman, Christoffer Andersson, Nichael Svensson, Mjallby, Edman, Linderoth, Alexandersson, Mild, Magnus Svensson, Allback, Ibrahimovic. Subs: Daniel Andersson, Anders Svensson, Osmanovski, Selakovic, Kihlstedt, Torneliusson, Jakobsson, Audyun, Soderstrom.

Referee: C Colombo (France)

BBC Sport's Alan Green
"As against Greece, England's passing wasn't especially good"
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson
"Sweden never give you any time or space
England captain David Beckham
"Danny Murphy did really well"
Sweden keeper Magnus Hedman
"Overall, England had the better chances"
See also:

10 Nov 01 |  World Cup 2002
Clockwatch: England 1-1 Sweden
10 Nov 01 |  Football
England and Sweden share spoils
10 Nov 01 |  World Cup 2002
England player ratings
Other top World Cup 2002 stories:

Links to more World Cup 2002 stories are at the foot of the page.


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