England down scrappy Paraguay

England has defeated Paraguay 1-0 in their Group B match in Frankfurt.

    England accept Gamarra's gift

    The three points will be well received, but the manner of the victory will leave some questions to be answered about England’s credentials.

    An early own goal by Paraguay’s captain Carlos Gamarra was the sole mark on the score sheet.

    Captain David Beckham’s fourth minute free kick was floated in and headed on by the 107 time capped defender as his side struggled to settle in their opening match.

    The Paraguayans were struggling to complete a pass early on, but the stop start nature of the affair was compounded by players on both sides taking every break possible to call for drinks.

    Beckham testing his range

    In the second half, portly coach Anibal Ruiz had clearly inspired his side to a more committed performance, but they were too often let down by school boy errors of foul throws and passes which failed to find a man in a corresponding jersey.

    Striker Nelson Valdez was his side’s best, his creativity often being the main threat against a solid English defence. His best effort was a solo burst down the right wing which was followed by a solid strike.

    Sven Goran Eriksson’s men were clearly content to take the one goal margin and sat back in the second half. It is a tactic which is much maligned for being too conservative, but against a side struggling to find any rhythm in attack it was more than enough to take the full complement of points.

    The England midfield were all happy to shoot from long range with Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Joe Cole and Frank Lampard all blasting away.

    Chelsea midfielder Lampard forced a stunning save from Paraguay’s reserve keeper Aldo Bobadilla on the 73 minutes.

    Middlesbrough’s Stewart Downing was also awarded his third cap when he was brought on to replace Michael Owen in the final half hour of the match.

    A game that is unlikely to go down as a classic, but a result England will cherish.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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