MATCHES BEFORE THE WORLD CUP IN 2002
13/2/02 England 1-1 Holland
England had a number of debutants given a chance to stake World Cup places in this friendly against Holland. These included Wayne Bridge, Michael Ricketts and Darius Vassell. Vassell impressed the most of this trio with a good goal and a man of the match performance. Bridge also performed well as the left back. The Dutch goal was scored by Patrick Kluivert. England improved on the loss in a friendly to Holland last year.
27/3/02 England 1-2 Italy
Neither side showed their best form in a tight friendly that was decided by a last minute penalty. Robbie Fowler opened the scoring after tenacious play by Joe Cole. However soon after Joe Cole lost the ball and Montella hit a superb shot to equalise. The match looked to be heading to a draw until a last minute penalty scored by Montella. The nine substitutes with Fowler taking the captaincy from Beckham, enlivened the game. Montella played very well and was a constant threat.
17/4/02 England 4-0 Paraguay
In this friendly at Anfield, England faced one of the World Cup qualifiers from South America, Paraguay. Paraguay were missing inspirational captain/goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert. England were missing their captain as well with Michael Owen at his home ground replacing the injured Beckham as captain, and in doing so became the second youngest ever captain for England after Bobby Moore. England dominated the match and won convincingly with goals from Michael Owen (4th minute), Danny Murphy (47th minute), Darius Vassell (54th minute) and a Celso Ayala own goal (77th minute).
21/5/02 England 1-1 South Korea
Michael Owen had opened the scoring in the 25th minute continuing his good form when captaining the side. England played reasonably well with the midfield looking impressive with Hargreaves, Cole and Murphy all in good form. England tried the 4-3-3 formation to give them the potential of variety for the World Cup. Korea equalised in the 51st minute with a goal from Park Ji-Sung.
26/5/02 England 2-2 Cameroon
England's final warm up game for the World Cup ended in a draw with a 90th minute equaliser from Robbie Fowler. Samuel Etoo scored the first goal of the game for Cameroon in the 4th minute with Darius Vassell equalising soon after in the 11th minute. Geremi scored a 56th minute goal but Cameroon could not hang on for the win. The youngster Bridges, Hargreaves and Vassell all played well trying to achieve a starting spot at the World Cup coming up.
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