Pair of late goals propels England to victory
NUREMBERG, Germany ” Peter Crouch ended England’s second-half drought and sent his team into the second round of the World Cup.
Crouch headed in a cross by David Beckham in the 83rd minute to give England the goal it struggled to get all game and beat tiny Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 Thursday.
Steven Gerrard added a goal in injury time and England got its second straight win in Group B to clinch a spot in the next round.
England controlled the play for most of the game, but Crouch and others missed countless good chances in front of the net, raising Trinidad’s hopes of holding its second straight favorite to a 0-0 draw.
England got a boost from Wayne Rooney’s early return from a broken foot in the 58th minute, and finally broke through near the end. Aaron Lennon, the 19-year-old winger who came on in the second half, got the ball to Beckham in open space on the right side.
Beckham took his time and found the 6-foot-7 Crouch in front of the Trinidad net.
Crouch leapt over Brett Sancho and headed the ball past Shaka Hislop for England’s first second-half goal in a World Cup since 1998. The English had gone eight games without a second-half goal since Michael Owen scored against Romania in 1998.
Crouch’s goal brought relief to England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson and his players, who seemed to be just minutes away from a shocking scoreless draw.
Trinidad and Tobago, which tied Sweden 0-0 in its opener, nearly got the first goal late in the first half, but defender John Terry made an acrobatic save at the goal line. Stern John headed a ball in the middle of the box that appeared on its way into the net in the 45th minute, only to see Terry clear it off the goal line while falling down.
Sweden 1, Paraguay 0
BERLIN ” The net was getting smaller and smaller for Sweden, and so were its chances of advancing in the World Cup.
Fredrik Ljungberg changed that with an 89th-minute header for a 1-0 win Thursday night that put the Swedes in position to move into the second round.
Marcus Allback headed a pass from the top-left corner of the 6-yard box to a charging Ljungberg on the opposite side of the goal. Ljungberg jumped and powerfully headed the ball down to the far side to win it.
When the ball passed goalkeeper Aldo Bobadilla’s outstretched hand, the players and coaches on the Swedish bench jumped to their feet. And the overwhelmingly pro-Sweden crowd at Olympic Stadium roared its approval.
Sweden opened the World Cup with a 0-0 tie with Trinidad and Tobago, and looked headed for another goal-less game. Then Ljungberg rescued the Swedes, who are second to England, which has six points in Group B and already has made the second round. Sweden has four.
Paraguay’s second loss eliminated it.
Much like against Trinidad, Sweden generated several close scoring chances, but was unable to put the ball in the net until Ljungberg’s strike.
In the 59th minute, a floating pass from midfield beat the Paraguayan offsides trap, and Allback was left all alone behind the defense to corral the bouncing ball. He chipped the ball over the onrushing Bobadilla at the top of the box, toward the vacant net. But Paraguayan defender Denis Caniza rushed in and acrobatically kicked the ball away as Allback tried to slide through and poke it in, leaving Sweden coach Lars Lagerback scratching his head on the sideline, wondering when his team would end its scoring drought.
In the 80th minute, Henrik Larsson leapt to head the ball from corner of the 6-yard box, to Allback in the middle. With his back to the goal and a defender on his back, Allback turned and got his right foot on the ball, but Bobadilla dove to his left and smothered the ball inches from the line.
Ecuador 3, Costa Rica 0
HAMBURG, Germany ” Ecuador hit a new soccer high, reaching the second round of the World Cup for the first time.
Carlos Tenorio and Agustin Delgado scored their second goals of the tournament, and Ecuador cruised past Costa Rica 3-0 Thursday.
Ecuador and host Germany (both 2-0) claimed the two berths from Group A and will meet England, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago or Paraguay in the second round.
“We’re now thinking about being group leaders, we think about winning every game,” Delgado said. “We want to win the next game, even though we’re in the second round.”
Ecuador plays the Germans on Tuesday, needing only a tie to claim first place.
“I think it’ll be the most beautiful game to play, even more so because we already advanced,” Delgado said.
Costa Rica and Poland (both 0-2) became the first teams eliminated from the 32-nation field.
Tenorio scored in the eighth minute and Delgado in the 54th. Ivan Kaviedes, who replaced Tenorio at the start of the second half, scored in the second minute of injury time from 6 yards off a cross from Edison Mendez, getting by captain Luis Marin and sliding to poke the ball in.
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