Group 1 consists of Germany, USA, Italy and Japan.
Germany was the host and they immediately made their impact by thrashing
USA 5-1. Italy could only score a solitary goal against Japan. The match
of the group finished at 1-1 as both Italy and Germany failed to make
their chances count. Italy had Japan to thank as they narrowly avoided
a Semi Final match against us when they beat USA (3-2), while Germany
could only draw with Japan (1-1).
Our group on the other hand, consists of reigning World Cup champions
Argentina, Australia and Egypt. Our first match was against Egypt at
the Olympic Stadium in Munich. 95,000 people turned up for the match.
Egypt started strongly and had the ball in the net just after 6 minutes
through Ahmed Jam'an. England had to wait until the 19th minute before
pulling level via a superb goal from Alan Smith. The second half was
under our control but we failed to find a way past the Egyptian defence.
But our constant raids finally gave us the lead on the hour when goalkeeper
Al Zeid punched Owen's first shot right back at him. Owen slotted the
ball into the unguarded net. GOAL! 15 minutes later, the match was put
beyond Egypt when Beckham's free kick deflected into the path of Woodgate.
Woodgate shoots. GOAL! Final score, England 3 Egypt 1.
Argentina had it easy when they beat Australia 4-2 in their first match.
The next match against Argentina would decide who finished first and
second in the group. The reigning world champions have been unstoppable
and they had an advantage, Saviola was playing for them. Both teams
started strongly and the crowd were entertained by the smooth flowing
football being played out on the pitch. But Argentina soon got a foothold
in the match but Richard Wright thwarted their attempts. England finally
drew first blood on the half-hour mark when Owen scored from 25 yards
out. GOAL! Cavallero could only watch as the ball sailed into the upper
right hand corner. The start of the second half showed a much robust
Argentina side, tackles came flying and I'm glad the players managed
to keep their cool, especially Beckham who had a horrifying experience
in the 1998 World Cup Finals. In the 50th minute, Crespo latched onto
a weak goal kick by Wright before dribbling his way into the area. GOAL!
But England were back at it within a minute when Owen reproduced an
exact copy of his first goal. That proved to be the match-winning goal!
England has beaten current World Champions Argentina 2-1.
Argentina romped past Egypt 3-0 while we take on Australia in the final
group matches. England were relentless as we swept to a 2-0 lead in
the first half before Australia could find a reply in the 60th minute.
But further goals from Riza, Alan Smith and Matt Jansen put the match
out of reach. England 5 Australia 1. Probably our best match so far.
The Semi Finals saw Argentina taking on Italy and Germany against us.
We had a tough match against Germany, winning via a solitary goal from
Owen scored in the 4th minute. Saviola scored an early goal for Argentina
and Italy had Cannavaro sent off in the 12th minute but Argentina failed
to take advantage of that. That resulted in Italy replying with two
goals from Inzaghi and Montella, giving them a 2-1 win.
Argentina took third place as they fought out a 5-3 thriller against
Germany. We, on the other hand, had to beat Italy to claim the title.
We started off strongly and had the upper hand most of the time. But
the Italians are renowned for their tight defence, which left us trying
from long distances. But that was to change in the 40th minute when
Beckham sent in a cross for Owen who was inside the area. GOAL! Owen
sneaked in to head the ball past the outstretched hands of Buffon. 5
minutes later, it was all square when a short lapse in our concentration
allowed Totti to head in from Binotto's cross. The second half started
and ended in exactly the same fashion. But 3 minutes before the match
was about to end, Buffon was shown the red card for pulling down Owen
inside the area. Penalty! Owen stood up to break the deadlock and give
us the title. Owen shoots to the left. Saved by Toldo! The anguish!
We came so close to winning the title but now we had to contend with
the extra time golden goal rule. But Joe Cole didn't let us wait long.
In the 96th minute, Cole beat Iuliano to the ball and raced ahead towards
goal. He tries from 30 yards out. GOAL! Hooray! Toldo was left flapping
at the air as Cole's piledriver rammed into the net, taking out the
camera fixed at the back. What a goal! We have won the Confederations