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Tuesday, 2 April, 2002, 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK
England's road to the finals
Michael Owen celebrates one of his goals against Germany in the 5-1 win
Owen and an unbelievable night in Germany
BBC Sport Online reviews the thrilling journey that took England to the World Cup finals.

England's World Cup campaign was a case of the storm, the calm and then a very nasty tremor.

The campaign began with Kevin Keegan still in charge of the national side, although his reputation was in tatters after a disastrous Euro 2000 campaign.

Qualifying campaign
L 0-1 Germany (h)
D 0-0 Finland (a)
W 2-1 Finland (h)
W 3-1 Albania (a)
W 2-0 Greece (a)
W 5-1 Germany (a)
W 2-0 Albania (h)
D 2-2 Greece (h)

The first game of the campaign turned into the last one staged at the old Wembley Stadium and the emotion of the occasion certainly affected the England performance.

A free-kick along the ground from Dietmar Hamann was the only goal of a desperately poor game, and following boos from the capacity crowd, Keegan resigned.

With Howard Wilkinson temporarily in charge, England jetted off to Finland just days after that defeat and earned their first point with a dour goalless draw.

By the time the Finns arrived at Anfield in March of 2001, Sven-Goran Eriksson had been placed in charge of the England team.

After falling a goal behind, Michael Owen scored the first of his six goals during the campaign, before new captain David Beckham scored a cracking winner.

A dejected Kevin Keegan reflects on England's defeat to Germany at Wembley
The beginning - Keegan's departure as England coach
It was Owen who opened the scoring in Albania five days later, with Paul Scholes and Andy Cole adding the others in a 3-1 win.

England were in the middle of an unbelievable sequence, which saw 14 consecutive qualification goals scored by Liverpool and Manchester United players only.

A 2-0 win in Greece was achieved with goals from Scholes and Beckham.

That summer win set Eriksson's men up perfectly for the game in Germany, which England had to win to harbour any realistic hopes of direct qualifying.

And what a night it proved to be, with Carsten Jancker opening the scoring, only to be avalanched by a superlative England performance.

A Michael Owen hat-trick, and goals from Steven Gerrard and Emile Heskey gave England the kind of victory that Eriksson could have dreamed of.

The 2-0 win over Albania was more subdued, with Owen and Robbie Fowler on target.

Those results meant that a win over Greece at Old Trafford in the final game of the group would be enough to guarantee automatic qualification for England.

Paul Scholes and Steven Gerrard celebrate a goal for England
Paul Scholes (left) scored some vital goals
But a nervous England, without Michael Owen and Sol Campbell, fell behind in the first half.

Teddy Sheringham, a second half substitute, equalised with his first touch of the ball.

But Greece snatched the lead back almost immediately, and it needed an injury time free-kick from Beckham to earn a point.

That proved enough, with Germany failing to beat Finland and England qualifying virtue of their superior goal difference.

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GROUP F
  P GD PTS
SWEDEN 3 +1 5
ENGLAND 3 +1 5
ARGENTINA 3 0 4
NIGERIA 3 -2 1

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