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England B 1-2 Belarus
Thursday, 25 May 2006



Theo Walcott
Arsenal teenager Theo Walcott came on in the second half
England B lost to 10-man Belarus but their first World Cup warm-up game was marred by an injury that is set to rule out Robert Green for the finals.

In the second half Green ruptured his groin making a save and when he took a goal-kick he collapsed, allowing Vitaly Kutuzov to sidefoot an equaliser.

Sergey Omelianchuk was sent off but Sergey Kornilenko fired in the winner.

Michael Owen had helped set up Jermaine Jenas' goal to give England the lead before he was replaced by Theo Walcott.

Walcott came on in the 61st minute and made an immediate impact, embarrassing the Belarus defence with his pace before he was unceremoniously upended.

The Arsenal striker also troubled Yuri Zhevnov with a powerful volley.

Green, who came on at the start of the second half for David James, had had a nervy introduction when he spilled a Maksim Romashchenko free-kick after only two minutes.

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In making that save Green ruptured his groin and when he tried to take a goal-kick he collapsed in a heap, allowing Kutuzov to guide the ball into the empty net.

The game was delayed for several minutes as Green was given treatment before the Norwich keeper was carried off.

Green was replaced by Liverpool goalkeeper Scott Carson, who is now set to go to Germany.

England never recovered from the bizarre nature of Belarus' equaliser.

Even when Omelianchuk was sent off for picking up a second yellow card, England were unable to capitalise on their one-man advantage.

Kornilenko capitalised on England's uncertainty, weaving his way into the box before angling a shot past Carson.

Before the game the focus had been on Owen's return to action, with the Newcastle striker continuing his recovery from a broken metatarsal.

Owen might have given England an early lead but his shot was beaten away by Belarus goalkeeper Yuri Zhevnov.

While Owen was keen to prove his fitness, the likes of Aaron Lennon, Stewart Downing, Michael Carrick and Jenas were also hoping to impress, with the start of the World Cup only two weeks away.

Downing delivered the free-kick that set up Jenas' goal and frequently linked well with Ashley Cole down the England left.

On the other wing, Lennon's turn of speed was too much for Belarus defender Alexander Yurevich.

Owen looked offside when Downing sent in the free-kick that led to England's goal but the infringement was missed by the match officials.

And when the ball rebounded off the crossbar, Jenas was on hand to head the ball home.

Belarus had barely troubled the England in those opening 45 minutes but in the closing seconds of the half the visitors came close to equalising when Kutuzov hit the woodwork with a header.


England B: James (Green 45), Hargreaves, Campbell, Carragher, Ashley Cole, Lennon, Jenas (Walcott 62), Carrick, Downing (Defoe 79), Owen (Joe Cole 61), Crouch (Dawson 79), Green (Carson 53).
Subs Not Used: Bridge, Phil Neville, Johnson.

Goals: Jenas 35.

Belarus: Zhevnov (Khomutovsky 45), Kulchy, Lentsevich, Omelianchuk, Shtanuk, Korytsko, Yurevich (Shagoiko 61), Bulyga (Kornilenko 45), Romaschenko (Kashevsky 74), Kalachev (Pankovets 80), Kutuzov (Kontsevoy 64).
Subs Not Used: Sulima.

Sent Off: Omelianchuk (73).

Booked: Romaschenko, Omelianchuk.

Goals: Kutuzov 50, Kornilenko 81.

Att: 22,032.

Ref: D McKeown (Ireland).



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