Owen brace secures late victory
By James Pearson. Last Updated: 12/11/05 6:37pm
Michael Owen sensationally scored twice late on to give England a thrilling 3-2 win over arch-rivals Argentina in Geneva.
Wayne Rooney cancelled out Hernan Crespo's opener, but Walter Samuel's goal after the break looked like giving the South Americans the victory.
However, Newcastle United striker Owen had other ideas and he firstly headed home after 86 minutes to level matters before snatching the win in injury time.
Argentina started the better of the sides and Paul Robinson had to be on his toes to palm over Juan Roman Riquelme's rasping effort from just outside the box.
Owen did have the ball in the back of the net on seven minutes, but the Newcastle United star's header from Rooney's cross was ruled out for offside.
However, Argentina struck back and Carlos Tevez and Maxi Rodriguez both came close to finding the back of the net with Robinson in fine form in England's goal.
The Three Lions then dodged a bullet when Crespo had a goal disallowed after 12 minutes for pushing Luke Young, although contact between the two looked minimal.
England managed to weather the Argentina storm and Rooney was desperately unlucky to see his shot hit the post from Steven Gerrard's through-ball while Frank Lampard came close with a header.
Argentina then took the lead when Crespo stabbed home from close range after Rodriguez superbly created space down the right by jinking past the ineffective Wayne Bridge.
Just seconds after Gerrard's blistering long-range shot was tipped wide by Roberto Abbondanzieri, the game was level when Rooney bagged his 11th goal for his country.
Beckham flicked a header on for the Manchester United striker and the former Everton hit-man superbly placed the ball calmly inside Abbondanzieri's left-hand post.
Argentina finished the half as they began and only another fine save from Robinson from Tevez's boot ensured the sides went in level at the break.
England found themselves on the back foot after the interval with Riquelme's effort drifting just over while Juan Pablo Sorin was lucky not to be booked for a handling a shot on goal.
Argentina then retook the lead with Riquelme's superbly-floated free kick finding Samuel at the back post and his header back across goal nestled into the net.
England hit back and Lampard fired over under pressure from just inside the box while Beckham's free kick was parried and Owen's follow-up was superbly saved.
Rooney was inches from bringing The Three Lions level, with Abbondanzieri making a superb finger-tip save to tip the striker's measured shot wide for a corner.
Argentina thought the game was won but England had other ideas and the comeback was on when Gerrard's pin-point cross was headed home by the previously anonymous Owen.
With England sensing an unlikely win substitute Joe Cole cleverly cut back on his right foot and his cross into the box was flicked home again by Owen to stun Argentina.
There was no time for the visitors to respond and Sven Goran Eriksson was left with a wry smile after securing a thrilling win over one of next summer's favourites for the World Cup.
Click here for Argentina v England player ratings.
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|7||Shots on Target||8|
|3||Shots off Target||11|
Sat 12th Nov
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