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England 1-0 Paraguay
Saturday, 10 June 2006


C Gamarra 3 o.g.



S Gerrard 19yellow card
P Crouch 63yellow card


N Valdez 22yellow card



56% 44%

Shots on target

6 5

Shots off target

7 11


6 1


13 11


  • 01 P Robinson
  • 02 G Neville
  • 05 R Ferdinand
  • 06 J Terry
  • 03 A Cole
  • 07 D Beckham
  • 08 F Lampard
  • 04 S Gerrard yellow card
  • 11 J Cole (82 O Hargreaves )
  • 10 M Owen (56 S Downing )
  • 21 P Crouch yellow card


  • 14 W Bridge,
  • 12 S Campbell,
  • 15 J Carragher,
  • 18 M Carrick,
  • 22 S Carson,
  • 20 S Downing,
  • 16 O Hargreaves,
  • 13 D James,
  • 17 J Jenas,
  • 19 A Lennon,
  • 09 W Rooney,
  • 23 T Walcott


  • 01 J Villar (8 A Bobadilla )
  • 21 D Caniza
  • 04 C Gamarra
  • 05 J Caceres
  • 03 D Toledo (82 J Nunez )
  • 06 C Bonet (68 N Cuevas )
  • 10 R Acuna
  • 13 C Paredes
  • 16 C Riveros
  • 18 N Valdez yellow card
  • 09 R Santa Cruz


  • 08 E Barreto,
  • 22 A Bobadilla,
  • 07 S Cabanas,
  • 23 N Cuevas,
  • 14 P Da Silva,
  • 19 J Dos Santos,
  • 11 D Gavilan,
  • 12 D Gomez,
  • 20 D Lopez,
  • 15 J Manzur,
  • 17 J Montiel,
  • 02 J Nunez

Ref: Marco Rodriguez
Att: 48000


PLAYER RATER: England skipper David Beckham was your man of the match at full-time with a mark of 7.72, with Joe Cole next best on 7.22. Roque Santa Cruz was top Paraguay performer (5.07).

We lost an opportunity to send out a message that we really mean business and that we could win the competition.

It was a very negative performance in the second half. We handed over the impetus to Paraguay. Why don't we just play our pressing Premiership game?
BBC pundit Ian Wright

FULL-TIME: England defeat Paraguay 1-0 in their World Cup opener, but it was far from convincing from Sven-Goran Eriksson's team.

90 mins: Two minutes injury time for England to plough through and Paraguay are heaping on the pressure. A long ball very nearly bounces over the head of England keeper Paul Robinson.

89 mins: Ironic cheers from the England contingent as David Beckham is hauled down and wins a rare free-kick from referee Rodriguez.

86 mins: England's fans launch into a rendition of God Save the Queen in an attempt to lift the players, and Frank Lampard responds, testing the Paraguay goalkeeper with a well-struck shot from distance.

The introduction of Owen Hargreaves for Joe Cole was not well received by England fans, with many jeering when the Bayern Munich midfielder came on.

But Cole still appeared to be struggling after taking a heavy fall moments earlier.
Phil McNulty, BBC Sport in Frankfurt

81 mins: Joe Cole, who has been England's best player, is withdrawn and on comes Owen Hargreaves. Peter Crouch is now on his own up front.

78 mins: More theatrics from Joe Cole, who goes down under a challenge and does a bit of tumbling. The final whistle can't come soon enough for England.

The face of Wayne Rooney appeared on the giant screen suspended from the roof of the stadium, prompting loud cheers from the England fans.

But how they must have wished he was playing, given England's struggle to finish off Paraguay.
Phil McNulty, BBC Sport in Frankfurt

74 mins: There are huge swathes of open space in the middle of the park as England retreat deeper and deeper into their own half. Bizarre tactics from Sven-Goran Eriksson, recalling the game against Brazil in the last World Cup and the games with Portugal and France at Euro 2004.

72 mins: David Beckham finds Stewart Downing with a heat-seeking volley and the Middlesbrough man lays the ball off to Frank Lampard. The Chelsea man has a dart and the ball is tipped over by Aldo Bobadilla. Better by England.

67 mins: Paraguay show their intentions by introducing striker Nelson Cuevas and withdrawing midfielder Carlos Bonet. Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard are really struggling to get a handle on the game in the middle of the park and Sven-Goran Eriksson may be thinking about making changes of his own.

66 mins: Peter Crouch is getting picked on a touch by referee Marco Rodriguez and concedes a free-kick with what looks like a very good sliding tackle.

64 mins: Nelson Valdes, who has been Paraguay's best player so far, tricks his way into the England area and his swirling shot is caught by Paul Robinson.

63 mins: Gary Neville finds some space down the right flank, but Peter Crouch is unable to latch on to the Manchester United full-back's timid centre.

62 mins: Peter Crouch is booked. The Liverpool striker was initially whistled for raising his arms in a challenge, and the caution was for a bit of back-chat.

59 mins: Joe Cole has a shot from range, but the ball goes just wide. At the other end, Carlos Bonet breaks down the right flank and puts in a cross, which Paul Robinson can only paw away. Carlos Paredes attacks the ball but swings it high and handsome.

56 mins: Joe Cole dinks a ball through to David Beckham, who is isolated up front and drags his shot wide. At the moment, this second half appears to be classic Sven-Goran Eriksson, with the England team sitting on their lead rather than going for the throat.

55 mins: Michael Owen, who has looked off the pace this afternoon, is replaced by Stewart Downing. Joe Cole is pushed up with Peter Crouch. England are meandering somewhat and it appears they may be defending too deep.

53 mins: England are in a trough at the moment, illustrated by John Terry breaking from defence and immediately giving the ball away. Paraguay are pinging the ball around nicely and dictating the pace.

50 mins: David Beckham plays a sweet cushioned ball through to Michael Owen, who is let down by his first touch.

48 mins: Paraguay get a corner, but Peter Crouch rises to head the ball away. A good period of pressure from the South Americans immediately after the interval.

46 mins: England kick off the second half looking to score an early goal, relax a little and bring the tempo down in the Frankfurt heat.

England will be happy to lead at half-time, but some sloppy defending has given Paraguay hope for the second half.

Eriksson's side may wish they had more to show for their supremacy. The mood of the fans inside the stadium is buoyant, but many around the media area feel England should have punished Paraguay further. Let's hope this is not something they come to regret after the break. Phil McNulty, BBC Sport in Frankfurt

We wanted England to go at them from the beginning and they've done that. They've made it difficult for Paraguay and worked really hard for the whole first half.

Gerrard's been awesome, he's been everywhere. We want one or two more goals and then I think we'll see England settle down a bit and become more comfortable. The only way England will not win this game is through complacency. They've done everything right.
BBC pundit Alan Shearer

The first-half performance by England was very, very impressive. They got off to a dream start - Beckham's delivery for the goal was outstanding.

They pressed at the right time, passed and moved at the right time and there was some nice variation. Gerrard in particular was magnificent in the middle of the park.
BBC pundit Alan Hansen

PLAYER RATER: England skipper David Beckham is way ahead in your vote as man of the match at the moment, with Peter Crouch judged next best.

HALF-TIME: England lead 1-0 after the first half of their World Cup opener against Paraguay. A solid start by Sven-Goran Eriksson's team - but perhaps they should have had more.

Paraguay coach Anibal Ruiz looks a worried man, prowling the technical area and bending over with his hands on his knees as he watches his side struggle.

But there was consternation too on the England bench with Steve McClaren unhappy with the fourth official as physio Gary Lewin was not allowed on to treat the injured Steven Gerrard.

Paraguay are showing one or two signs of life, but England's fans are happy, even chanting for the absent Wayne Rooney.
Phil McNulty, BBC Sport

45 mins: Four minutes are added at the end of the first half due to a peppering of injury breaks in the opening stanza. Nelson Valdes latches on to a loose ball in the England box, but a well-struck shot goes just wide, to the relief of a full-stretch Paul Robinson.

42 mins: David Beckham tries to curl one past Aldo Bobadilla in the Paraguay goal, but the ball just shades the post.

40 mins: Frank Lampard finds himself in a promising position after some neat interplay between Steven Gerrard, David Beckham and Gary Neville, but balloons the ball over with players waiting in the box.

There seems to be a worry over John Terry, who has taken a couple of knocks. The England physio was waiting on the touchline to check if the Chelsea defender needed attention, but he looks to have shrugged the injury off. Phil McNulty, BBC Sport in Frankfurt

35 mins: Joe Cole goes step-over crazy on the left flank and puts in a teasing cross for Peter Crouch, who is blocked by a couple of Paraguay defenders. David Beckham curls in another cross and this time Crouch crumples in a heap on the ground, but contact appeared to be minimal.

31 mins: Chelsea's Joe Cole goes down heavily and, as with Steven Gerrard, it looks serious. But he picks himself up after treatment from the England physio.

29 mins: Joe Cole attacks from deep and plays a cheeky ball through to Michael Owen who sticks the ball into the Paraguay box. Crouch, all 6ft 7in of him, ducks under the ball and wins England a corner, which comes to nothing.

24 mins: Steven Gerrard gets clattered by Carlos Paredes and the England midfielder is left writhing on the ground. It looks serious for a moment - but the Liverpool man peels himself off the floor to rapturous applause from the England fans.

22 mins: Frank Lampard has a poke from distance and the Paraguay keeper just manages to bring the ball under control. The much talked about new World Cup ball was, however, turning a few tricks in the air.

20 mins: Frank Lampard goes down in the Paraguay box under an innocuous nudge. Bold penalty claims from the crowd, but also very optimistic. Nelson Valdes receives the second caution of the game from referee Marco Rodriguez.

17 mins: England defender John Terry makes a slip and Nelson Valdez has Paraguay's first shot on goal, but drags the ball wide. Steven Gerrard is yellow-carded for a challenge on Cristian Riveros. It was a rash tackle, but Riveros made the most of it.

England's players were taking on drinks from physio Gary Lewin until seconds before kick-off to combat the fierce heat - and it worked as they made a fast start and Beckham's free-kick sent their supporters into raptures.

Every England player apart from Joe Cole comes across to the touchline to take more fluid in the break in play for an injury to Paraguay keeper Justo Villar.

Inside the stadium it seems like some of England's fans are already in danger of over-heating. Phil McNulty, BBC Sport in Frankfurt

13 mins: It's one-way traffic at the moment, with England camped in Paraguay's half. England keeper Paul Robinson gets his first touch of the ball after a long clearance from Paraguay.

10 mins: Substitute goalkeeper Aldo Bobadilla is booked for time-wasting, having been on the pitch barely five minutes. England get an indirect free-kick inside the area. Frank Lampard blasts the ball into the Paraguay wall and the ball is cleared.

9 mins: Steven Gerrard has his first sighter, slicing a long shot over on the full.

8 mins: Paraguay look seriously susceptible in defence, David Beckham sending in another corner and the ball bobbling about in the box before being hoofed clear.

5 mins: Paraguay keeper Justo Villar goes off injured after rushing out and hacking away a through ball. Substitute goalkeeper Aldo Bobadilla takes his place.

3 mins: GOAL England 1-0 Paraguay
England take the lead after just three minutes, David Beckham swinging in a free-kick and Paraguay defender Carlos Gamarra glancing the ball past his goalkeeper Justo Villar.

1 min: Paraguay kick off and England's World Cup campaign is under way.


1357 BST: Paraguay are all in blue instead of their usual red and white stripes. England are in their 'home' white tops and blue shorts.

1354 BST: God Save the Queen is blasted out and the players sing it with some gusto - to the accompaniment of thousands of England fans. Paraguay's anthem is a more muted affair - most of their players don't appear to know the words to the jaunty little number.

1353 BST: The players are lined up in the tunnel ready to make their entrance... and on they come.

1350 BST: Frankfurt's Waldstadion looks like a stadium back in England - the whole place is bedecked in England flags with names of the fans' club teams emblazoned across them. As one commentator said this week, your club team is like your wife, England are like your mistress.

1347 BST: You have to say we've got the best supporters here. There's no-one else like us.
BBC pundit Ian Wright

1346 BST: This is Beckham's time. He's still the best crosser of the ball in the world and this time he's got the players around him. It's all there for him.
BBC pundit Alan Hansen

1335 BST: More than 7,000 fans have packed the Millennium Square in Leeds for the BBC's Big Screen event. The atmosphere is building to fever pitch, with the crowd chanting anthem after anthem in sweltering conditions. They can't wait for the match to get under way.
Andy Fraser, BBC Sport

1330 BST: David Beckham leads England's players out to the strains of Robbie Williams' "Let Me Entertain You." This is a message the fans hope England will take to heart.

Suddenly the Paraguay supporters spark into life with a chant of their own, but they are outnumbered all over the ground and struggle to make themselves heard.
Phil McNulty, BBC Sport in Frankfurt

1325 BST: It's fantastic here in Frankfurt. You look around and all over the stadium there are St George's flags. Hopefully they can pull it off.

You drive around Manchester or Preston and everyone has got the flags on their cars. We got the Ashes back last year and hopefully the footballers will bring the World Cup home.
England cricket hero Andrew Flintoff, clearly enjoying the pre-match hospitality in Germany

1317 BST: England's players will feel at home when they come out of the dressing room. Hundreds of England flags are draped from the stands all around the ground - dwarfing a small pocket of Paraguay fans.

Goalkeepers Paul Robinson, David James and Scott Carson came out to a huge ovation - marred only by the public address system's desire to blare out '80s music. No place for Status Quo and Glenn Frey at this World Cup!

Outside the ground a group of England fans have commandeered a stage to sing "Three Lions" - very badly, but all in good spirits. There is a real sense that something special is just around the corner.
Phil McNulty, BBC Sport in Frankfurt

1315 BST: You look at that England team and you think there is strength in every department.
BBC pundit Alan Hansen

With all very, very good teams you look at the spine, but if you look at the areas other than the spine there's great players there too - Gary Neville is under-estimated and Ashley Cole is world class.
BBC pundit Alan Shearer


Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard is passed fit to start in England's World Cup opener against Paraguay.

England: Robinson, G Neville, Terry, Ferdinand, A Cole, Beckham, Gerrard, Lampard, J Cole, Owen, Crouch.

Paraguay: Villar, Caniza, Gamarra, Caceres, Toledo, Bonet, Acuna, Paredes, Riveros, Valdez, Santa Cruz.

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