Shooting stars Darren Anderton and David Beckham put England into the
second round of the World Cup in a one-sided 2-0 victory over Colombia that
left the South Americans as first-round losers again. Although England
needed only a draw to guarantee a place in the final 16, Anderton drove home a
fiercely-struck angled drive in the 20th minute. Beckham curled in a
30-yard free kick nine minutes later to the delight of Prince Charles, Prince
Harry and a huge following of English fans at the Felix Bollaert stadium.
The result meant that England finished second behind Romania in the
Group G standings and will meet old foe Argentina in Saint-Étienne for a place
in the last eight. The Colombians go home early for the second time in a
row. Their disastrous 1994 performance led to the shooting death of Andres
Escobar, who scored an own goal in a loss to the United States, and was gunned
down in his home town of Medellin.
Glenn Hoddle's players, beaten by a late goal by Romania in the previous
game, looked impressive against a low-quality Colombian team whose goalkeeper,
Farid Mondragon, prevented a crushing loss with seven second-half saves.
England's first shot on goal was less than two minutes into the match
when the power of Alan Shearer in the air, even when challenged by two
Colombian defenders, set up the opportunity for Paul Scholes. Allowed
room 25 yards from goal, the Manchester United forward hit the ball with
plenty of power and keeper Mondragon saved awkwardly, moving slightly the
England put together a slick four-man move that ended with a tame
side-footed shot from Graeme Le Saux in the 19th minute before taking the lead
with a far more impressive finish. The Colombian defence struggled to
clear a right wing cross and the ball dropped to the unmarked Anderton, just
inside the right side of the penalty box. The Tottenham winger, who has
barely played during the last two seasons because of a series of injuries,
hammered the ball first time into the roof of the net from an acute angle with
It should have been 2-0 four minutes later when another well-constructed
move involving Beckham and Anderton saw Scholes go close and the ball fell to
the unmarked Michael Owen who settled and fired over the top from 12 yards.
But the second goal came in the 29th minute in spectacular style.
Paul Ince was brought down 30 yards from goal and Beckham produced one of his
specialty free kicks, curling the ball round the wall past the dive of
Mondragon and inside his left-hand post.
Jorge Bermudez rescued Colombia with an deft tackle on Owen as the
18-year-old striker headed for goal after being released by Shearer's pass.
Then Colombia came up with its first on-target shot four minutes before half
time, Leider Preciado forcing David Seaman to make a difficult save at the
foot of the near post.
The Colombians made three substitutions at half time, including bringing
on a replacement strikeforce of Hamilton Ricard and Adolfo Valencia with
Victor Aristizabal going to operate behind them. But it was still England
making the running and Mondragon did well to make four good saves in the first
eight minutes of the second half. The Colombian keeper arched his back to palm over a shot from Scholes,
keep out a header and shot from Shearer and then block another close-range
effort from Owen after defender Sol Campbell had run through the defense on a
The Colombians had plenty of possession in deep positions but did little
to worry the English defence. They clearly missed star striker Faustino
Asprilla, who was dropped from the squad after criticizing coach Hernan Gomez
in a radio interview. Freddy Rincon moved into a good shooting position
30 yards from goal but the alert Campbell moved in quickly with a block that
took the sting out of the shot long before it reached Seaman. Then Owen burrowed through the Colombian defence again only for Everth
Palacios to get back with a well-timed tackle just as the youngster was primed
Ricard, who plays in England for Middlesbrough, curled a speculative
20-yard volley just wide of the post as Colombia made a rare threat with 11
minutes to go. But Owen should have made it 3-0 with seven minutes to go when
he shot straight at Mondragon after Shearer had put him clear. In the final
few minutes, the keeper threw himself to his left and right to keep out more
shots from Le Saux and Shearer. - CNN/SI - Soccer 1998 FIFA World Cup.