Two late, trademark goals - a header from Peter Crouch and long-range effort from Steven Gerrard saved England's blushes in the end. England dominated the second half but it appeared as though for all of their efforts they would lack the quality of final finish to take the win.
Erikkson did not hesitate too long before making changes, and living upto his tournament profile as a 'gambler' he introduced Aaron Lennon for Jamie Carragher and Wayne Rooney for Michael Owen.
Rooney was bright and full of running for the first fifteen minutes before calming down a touch, but he put his foot in, was on the end of tackles and ran well with the ball, not showing any signs of injury. In the process he looked a far better bet than Owen, who clearly looks off the pace and to quote Stuart Pearce "isn't offering anything to the side". Lennon played well, running at the defenders but lacked a quality final delivery for me.
Overall, a deserved win but not without a scare or two and plenty of things still to look at and work on. Particularly of concern must be the position of Owen who could well face the axe to allow Rooney a greater run out ahead of the second round.
Qualification is now sealed of course and depending on tonights result, England could be confirmed as group winners.
The half-time whistle has just gone in a game that really livened up in the last few minutes.
England fairly dominated territory and possession for the majority of the half, with Michael Owen missing a chance after Shaka Hislop had spilt a shot. Trinidad & Tobago have got plenty of bodies behind the ball and are not allowing the strikers any space which is resulting in long distance shots being being the only outlet - none serious testing Hislop though.
On the stroke of half-time, Robinson missed his cue (to me he hasn't looked entirely comfortable on crosses) and only a great bit of defending prevented England from going in behind at the half.
England will have to up their game and put an end to their recent run of failing to score in the second half at the World Cup if they are going to win this. Owen looks some way off the pace and I can't see it being too long before Rooney is called into action.
Thursday, June 15, 2006