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Beckham brilliance downs Wales

Saturday, 9 October 2004

[1] England consolidated their fine start to FIFA World Cup qualifying Group 6 with a comfortable 2-0 victory against Wales courtesy of goals from Frank Lampard and David Beckham.

Attacking trident

[2] The home side lined up with Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney and Jermain Defoe up front as Sven-Göran Eriksson switched to a 4-3-3 formation in the absence of Wayne Bridge. Wales were without key midfield player Robbie Savage through suspension while Andy Melville was injured in the pre-match warm-up so Simon Davies dropped to right-back with Mark Delaney moving to central defence and Jason Koumas coming into the side.

Perfect start

[3] England made the perfect start, taking the lead in the fourth minute. Owen found space in the Wales penalty area and laid the ball back to Lampard, whose shot deflected off Owen past Wales goalkeeper Paul Jones. Minutes later, Rooney's long-range effort struck the post before Defoe wriggled past a couple of Wales defenders only to shoot wide. Defoe and Rooney then combined to set up Owen, but Jones saved with his feet.

Wales find space

[4] Although England generally looked in control, Wales gradually forced themselves into the game, Gary Speed volleying over John Hartson's header midway through the opening period. Then just before half-time Ryan Giggs's free-kick picked out Speed, but his diving header was straight at Paul Robinson.

Sliced shot

[5] Wales came out for the second half knowing they had to push forward, but the unmarked Craig Bellamy sliced the visitors' best chance wide after a deflection off Koumas had fallen to the Welsh striker. From then on England rarely looked threatened, Beckham's curling shot forcing Jones into a stretching stop. Ten minutes later Sol Campbell rose above Danny Gabbidon to meet Beckham's floated corner but his header was too high.

Goalmouth scramble

[6] Wales introduced striker Robert Earnshaw to try to rescue the game but England continued to push forward, Delaney blocking Owen's shot with 15 minutes left and the Welsh defence was forced to scramble the resulting corner off the line. But a minute later Beckham put England 2-0 ahead. He found space outside the Wales area and produced a beautiful right-foot effort which curled into the top corner, leaving Jones helpless.

Desperate defending

[7] Wales defended desperately in the last ten minutes with Gabbidon making two vital clearances. England's only worry was the sight of Beckham limping off the pitch near the end after a tackle with Ben Thatcher. A yellow card picked up in a subsequent collision with the same player means Beckham will be suspended for Wednesday's trip to Azerbaijan, regardless of his fitness. Wales play Poland at home on the same night.

David Beckham is congratulated by Michael Owen