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Wednesday, 5 September 2001
World Cup 2002 UEFA Group Nine qualification match

England 2 Albania 0 [1-0]

St. James' Park, Gallowgate, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne & Wear
Attendance: 51,046;
Kick-off: 8.01pm BST
Live on BBC One (UK) - commentator: John Motson. Also live on Sky Sports (UK) - commentator: Martin Tyler

England - Michael Owen (44), Robbie Fowler (88). Match Summary
England Squad
Albania Squad
Albania - Edvin Murati (34), Besnik Hasi (42).
England - Steven Gerrard (45)
Results 2000-2005

England kicked-off. ? minutes (? & ?).


Match Summary

Officials from Spain




Referee (dark green) - Juan Antonio Fernandez Marin
43 (3 December 1957), Madrid, FIFA-listed 1995.

Assistant Referees - Rafael Guerrero Alonso, 38 (20 April 1963), Leon, and Carlos Martin Nieto, 43 (15 February 1958)

Fourth Official -
Eduardo Iturralde Gonzalez, 34 (20 February 1967), Arrankudiaga, FIFA-listed 1998.

Watched on BBC1 by an audience of 11.4m viewers - with a peak of 13.9m.
A one-minute silence is observed in respect of Brian Moore, a football commentator who died on Saturday, 1 September 2001.
  Goal Attempts  
  Attempts on Target  
  Hit Bar/Post  
  Corner Kicks Won  
  Offside Calls Against  
  Fouls Conceded  
- Possession -

England Team



FIFA (18 August 2001) 15th
EFO ranking

ELO rating 7th
Colours: The 2001 Umbro home shirt - White shadow striped v-neck jersey with navy collar/cuffs/piping and single red vertical stripe down left side, white shorts with red vertical stripe down right side, white socks with navy/white tops.
Capt: David Beckham, ninth captaincy. Head Coach: Sven-Göran Eriksson, 53 (5 February 1948), appointed 30 October 2000, took post 12 January 2001.
8th match, W 7 - D 0 - L 1 - F 21 - A 5.
England Lineup
1 Seaman, David A. 37 19 September 1963 G Arsenal FC 67 38 GA
2 Neville, Gary A. 26 18 February 1975 RB Manchester United FC 47 0
3 Cole, Ashley 20 20 December 1980 LB Arsenal FC 6 0
4 Gerrard, Steven G., off 83rd min. 21 30 May 1980 CM

Liverpool FC

7 1
Gerrard cautioned in the 45th min. for Unsporting Behaviour, after a clumsy challenge on Arjan Xhumba.
5 Ferdinand, Rio G. 22 7 November 1978 CD Leeds United AFC 17 0
6 Campbell, Sulzeer J. 26 18 September 1974 CD Arsenal FC 42 0
7 Beckham, David R.J. 26 2 May 1975 RM

Manchester United FC

45 4
8 Scholes, Paul 26 16 November 1974 CM Manchester United FC 38 13
9 Heskey, Emile W.I., off 55th min. 23 11 January 1978 F

Liverpool FC

18 3
10 Owen, Michael J. 21 14 December 1979 F Liverpool FC 32 14
11 Barmby, Nicholas J., off 64th min. 27 11 February 1974 LM

Liverpool FC

22 4
England Substitutes
17 Fowler, Robert B., on 55th min. for Heskey 26 9 April 1975 F

Liverpool FC

20 5
16 McManaman, Steven, on 64th min. for Barmby 29 11 February 1972 M

Real Madrid CF, Spain

36 3
14 Carragher, James L.D., on 83rd min. for Gerrard 23 28 January 1978 M

Liverpool FC

6 0

unused substitutes:

12-Gareth Southgate, 13-Richard Wright, 15-Owen Hargreaves, 18-Andrew Cole.
4-4-2 Seaman -
G.Neville, Ferdinand, Campbell, Cole -
Beckham, Gerrard
(Carragher), Scholes, Barmby (McManaman) -
Owen, Heskey


Age 25.0 Appearances/Goals - -


Albania Team



FIFA (18 August 2001) 86th
EFO ranking

ELO rating 96th to 97th
Colours: Made by Puma - Red jerseys with white collar/cuffs, black shoulder trim/side panel with white trim, black shorts, red socks with white calf band.
Capt: Fotaq Strakosha Manager: Sulejman Demollari, 37 (15 May 1964), appointed late summer 2001,
2nd match, W 0 - D 0 - L 2 - F 0 - A 4.
Albania Lineup
1 Strakhosa, Fotaq 36 28 March 1965 G PAE Ionikos Nikaias FC, Greece 51 GA
2 Dede, Nevil T. 26 10 January 1975 RM KF Tirana 6 0
3 Cipi, Geri 25 28 February 1976 CD KAA Gent, Belgium 16 0
4 Xhumba, Arian 33 9 July 1967 LB PAS Giannina FC, Greece 40 0
5 Fakaj, Ervin P. 25 15 June 1976 RB KAA Gent, Belgium 21 1
6 Hasi, Besnik, off 46th min. 29 29 December 1971
born in Yugoslavia
CM RSC Anderlecht, Belgium 7 0
Hasi cautioned in the 42nd min. for Ungentlemanly Conduct. Beckham is fouled again and his attempt to take a quick free-kick, he is blocked by Hasi.
7 Murati, Edvin 25 12 November 1975 LM Lille OSC, France 14 2
Murati cautioned in the 34th min. for Unsporting Behaviour, for hacking at the heels of Beckham.
8 Bellai, Arian 30 1 February 1970 CM PAS Giannina FC, Greece 20 1
9 Vata, Fatmir 29 19 September 1971 CM DSC Arminia Bielefeld, Germany 14 0
10 Rraklli, Altin, off 63rd min. 31 17 August 1970 F SpVgg Unterhaching eV, Germany 47 9
11 Bogdani, Erion, off 56th min. 24 14 April 1977 F ASD Reggio Calabria, Italy 15 3
Albania Substitutes
18 Bushi, Alban, on 46th min. for Hasi 28 20 August 1973 F İstanbulspor , Turkey 36 8
17 Tare, Igli, on 56th min. for Bogdani 28 25 July 1973 F Brescia Calcio SpA, Italy 33 3
14 Mukaj, Devis, on 63rd min. for Rraklli 24 21 December 1976 M NK Varazdin, Croatia 17 1

unused substitutes:

12-Arian Beqaj, 13-Indrit Fortuzi, 15-Rudi Vata, 16-Ervin Skela.

team notes:

Coach Sulejman Demollari played for Albania against England twice in 1989.
3-5-2 Strakosha -
Fakaj, Cipi, Xhumba -
Dede, Bellai,
F.Vata, Hasi (Bushi), Murati -
(Mukaj), Bogdani (Tare).


Age - Appearances/Goals - -


    Match Report by Mike Payne


Source Notes

England took a vital stride towards next summer's World Cup as they finally saw off Albania's stubborn challenge at St James' Park.  Michael Owen - the hat-trick hero of the 5-1 win against Germany in Munich - was the talisman again as England moved to the top of Group Nine.

Owen broke the deadlock at the end of a frustrating first half, but it took a brilliant solo goal from substitute Robbie Fowler to ease England's fears that the victory would slip through their grasp.  Sven Goran Eriksson's side suffered a predictable hangover from the euphoria of Munich, producing a victory that was based more on perspiration than inspiration.  But it was the victory that mattered to leave England on the brink of automatic qualification for the showpiece in Korea and Japan.  Now a win in their final game at home to Greece is almost certain to stamp their passport into the finals.  And credit for a night of frustration must also go to battling Albania, who assembled a red wall of defensive resistance to keep England at arm's length for much of the game.

England were again thankful to the Anfield connection, with Owen and Fowler ensuring the last seven goals for Eriksson's side have all been scored by Liverpool players.

Eriksson predictably kept faith with the team that fashioned the stunning triumph in Munich.  But the mood of celebration and anticipation inside St James' Park was punctured by Albania's dogged first half resistance.  England looked set for an early breakthough as they piled on the pressure as Albania retreated into defence.  Nick Barmby wasted an easy chance by heading wide from eight yards as he stole in unmarked on to David Beckham's cross.  Barmby turned creator two minutes later as he carved open the Albanian defence on the left, but just failed to find the incoming Emile Heskey.  England enjoyed massive domination of territory and possession - although the defensive partnership of Sol Campbell and Rio Ferdinand occasionally looked ill at ease.  And it took another moment of Owen inspiration - as well as a slice of brilliance from Paul Scholes - to end England's frustration on the stroke of half time.  Scholes delivered a glorious pass to find Owen, who provided an instinctive finish with the outside of his right foot past Foto Strakosha.  England suffered a setback after 54 minutes when Heskey, who had been ineffective, limped off with an ankle injury to be replaced by Liverpool team-mate Fowler.

And Fowler should have marked his entrance with a goal when he found himself alone in front of goal from Owen's miscued shot, but his weak finish was saved by Strakosha.

Eriksson moved to inject fresh life into England by replacing Barmby with Steve McManaman - but Albania were still not out of contention.  McManaman's casual approach cost England a second goal when he lobbed tamely over the bar with Albania goalkeeper Strakosha stranded out of position.  England suffered their first serious scare - and goalkeeper David Seaman made his first save - after 78 minutes when the robust Edvin Murati forced him to turn a long range drive over the bar.  But Fowler eased England's worries with a brilliant second with three minutes left, escaping the Albania rearguard before delivering a delicate chip over Strakosha.

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