FIFA World Cup Germany 2006

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Saturday, November 12, 2005

England beats Argentina with Owen double score

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Wayne Rooney equilized after AC Milan's Hernan Crespo scored for Argentina (1-1). Walter Samuel put the second goal in the 54th minute. That was when Michael Owen showed all his power.

Owen scored in the 86th and then jumped to get Cole's pass and makethe winner goal in the second minute of injury time (3 - 2). It was his third goal in three games against Argentina.

"To come back twice was great, these are what these warm up games for the World Cup are for," Owen said. "It was cracking, excitement, so much more to it than a friendly. Even when they scored, their fans and their players were going mad."

Owen's goals came after Argentina took off playmaker Juan Ramon Riquelme, who had a standout game for his team and played a major part in both his team's goals.

Riquelme, who forced goalkeeper Paul Robinson into an acrobatic fifth-minute push over the top, was controlling midfield and regularly brought Crespo and Carlos Tevez into play around the edge of the England area.

In one move, Robinson blocked a close range Tevez shot and England defenders threw themselves in front of drives by Crespo and Maxi Rodriguez. Robinson then forced another powerful drive by Rodriguez around the post.

"There were chances at both ends, it really could have gone either way today," Owen said. "That just shows you there's not much between the top few teams in the world."

Owen had already had the ball in the net when Argentina had a 12th-minute goal by Crespo ruled out for a foul. At the same time there was fighting in the crowd at the other end of the ground.

The trouble was quickly brought under control and the game continued at a fast pace with Argentina taking the lead in the 34th.

Rooney lost the ball to Riquelme on the right flank and the Villarreal playmaker switched the ball to Tevez, with the England defense pulled out of position. Rodriguez fired in a low cross from the right and Crespo was the first of two Argentines waiting to turn the ball home.

Rooney almost made it 1-1 when he took a pass from Gerrard. He floated the ball over goalkeeper Roberto Abbondanzieri but the ball struck the post and bounced clear.

In the 39th, David Beckham challenged two defenders in the air just inside the area. The ball bounced into space and Rooney got past Roberto Ayala to shoot into the net from 12 meters (yards).

Thursday, November 10, 2005

England vs Argentina derby on Saturday

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Traditionally enemies, England and Argentina will play a high tension match on Saturday. England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson plans to field a strong lineup and hopes that Ledley King will recover sufficiently from a knee injury to take his place in the deep midfield role behind Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.

Owen and Wayne Rooney are set to line up in attack.

Argentina coach Jose Pekerman has most of his big stars available, although 18-year-old FC Barcelona striker Lionel Messi will miss the game through suspension.

Hernan Crespo is likely to face Chelsea teammates John Terry, Lampard, Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips

"This game is special not only for me but for everyone," said the striker whose future at Chelsea appears in doubt after a reported fallout with coach Jose Mourinho.

Spain - Slovakia match puts pressure over Aragones

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Spain will fight Slovakia on Saturday for a World Cup playoff. The winner of which qualifies for next year's World Cup in Germany.

Spain has home advantage at Atletico Madrid's Vicente Calderon stadium and can't afford to slip up. Aragones is under pressure to achieve a big lead to take to Bratislava for the second leg on Wednesday. The veteran coach has already hinted he won't stay on if the team fails to make it to the World Cup for the eighth time in a row.

"What's essential is to win. And if it's by two goals, that's better than one. And if it's by three, even better," Aragones said. "I think we're superior in terms of our technical ability and we have to use this to make sure of victory. I think we can win both here and there. I'm sure we'll be in Germany."

Although it is one of soccer's traditional powerhouses, Spain has a poor record in international championships. Its lone victory was the 1964 European Championship and, since a fourth-place finish in 1950, it has never been past the quarterfinals of the World Cup.

Slovakia is trying to get there for the first time since the breakup of Czechoslovakia in 1993.

"We are going to do everything in our power so that everyone who knows nothing about Slovakia will remember us," coach Dusan Galis said. "These games are the most important in our players' careers, and in the careers of those of us who support them."