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Tuesday, 21 May, 2002, 11:57 GMT 12:57 UK

South Korea hold England

South Korea 1-1 England

England's World Cup preparations continued in low-key fashion as they were held to a draw by lively co-hosts South Korea in Seogwipo.

Michael Owen looked to have put Sven-Goran Eriksson's side on course for a morale-boosting victory when he gave England a first-half lead.

But South Korea, coached by the vastly-experienced former Holland boss Guus Hiddink, battled back and deservedly equalised through Park Ji-Sung.

Eriksson used the friendly to run through his options as the countdown continues to the opener against Sweden on 2 June.

England took advantage of the opportunity to acclimatise to the gruelling conditions in the Far East - and Eriksson maintained his habit of using all the members of his squad in the course of 90 minutes to give the game an experimental atmosphere.

The Swede's biggest bonus was the outstanding display of Bayern Munich's Owen Hargreaves, who performed with great energy and industry.

Hargreaves gave England a scare late on when he limped off injured, but he was able to return to the action after treatment.

" We did a rather good job in the first-half, but in the second we made life a little bit complicated "
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson

Eriksson's side was shaped by injuries to key figures such as David Beckham and Kieron Dyer - and by the need for last-minute fine tuning before the World Cup kicks off.

Leeds United's Danny Mills got first crack at staking his claim to replace Gary Neville at right-back, while the impressive Hargreaves was handed a midfield role.

Owen, inevitably, was England's danger man and he posted the warning signals to the South Koreans early on.

Hargreaves sent him clear, and when he lobbed goalkeeper Lee Woon-jae, Darius Vassell was only inches away from converting England's opener.

But Owen was not to be denied and he added to his tally of international goals to put England ahead after 25 minutes.

Emile Heskey's astute through ball released Paul Scholes, who saw his effort blocked by Woon-jae, but Owen was on hand to score in typically predatory fashion.

England's defence - which looked to be close to Eriksson's first choice for the World Cup game against Sweden - had been able to keep the lively Koreans at arm's length.

But Nigel Martyn was forced into acrobatic action after 37 minutes to save one-handed when Hong Myung-Bo struck a powerful drive from fully 30 yards.

Eriksson sent on his usual procession of substitutes at half time, making seven changes.

But the Swede's hopes of a smooth transition for his re-shuffled side were wrecked when South Korea equalised after 51 minutes.

Lee Chun-Soo's corner was flicked on by Choi Tae Uk and Ji-Sung beat substitute Teddy Sheringham at the far post to head confidently past David James.

It was a body blow for England as they went in search for a morale-boosting victory, and Eriksson will have been unhappy at the sloppy nature of the goal.

Ji-Sung's goal lifted the lively South Koreans and England were suddenly forced into a period of defence.

But Eriksson's side were still living in relative comfort, quietening the enthusiastic Jeju crowd for long periods.

Substitute goalkeeper James had been well-protected, but he was alert diving to his right to save well from substitute Ahn Jung-Hwan with four minutes left.

South Korea: Woon-Jae Lee, Song, Hong, Jin-Cheul Choi, Nam-Il Kim, Tae-Uk Choi, Yong-Pyo Lee, Yoo, Park, Seol, Chun-Soo Lee. Subs: Byung-Ji Kim, Yong-Soo Choi, Min-Sung Lee, Eul-Young Lee, Sung-Young Choi, Hyun, Yun, Ahn, Cha, En-Sung Choi, Hwang, Tae-Young Kim, Sun-Cook.

England: Martyn, Mills, Ferdinand, Campbell, Ashley Cole, Hargreaves, Scholes, Murphy, Owen, Heskey, Vassell. Subs: Keown, Seaman, Brown, Southgate, Bridge, Sheringham, Joe Cole, James, Sinclair.

Referee: A Kahalidi (Malaysia)

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