England beat Austria, lose Owen

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/a/austriasoccer_ap.jpg' class='caption'> England's chances of qualifying for next European Championship sustained blow Friday when Michael Owen was injured in a 1-0 victory over Austria.

Updated: November 18, 2007 18:15 IST
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Vienna, Austria:

England's chances of qualifying for next year's European Championship sustained another blow Friday when Michael Owen was injured in a 1-0 exhibition victory over Austria.

Owen, who left in the 34th minute, will miss England's final qualifier, at home against Croatia on Wednesday, coach Steve McClaren said.

"It is a huge blow. We all know Michael's quality," midfielder Frank Lampard said.

The English already are without their other top forward, Wayne Rooney, sidelined until next month because of an injured ankle.

"It's very disappointing that Michael is out. But it's a reason, not an excuse," McClaren said. "We need only one goal if we want to beat Croatia. Peter (Crouch) proved again today he is capable of delivering, and we have some midfielders who can score as well."

Crouch scored in the 44th minute when he headed in David Beckham's corner kick.

Beckham returned after missing four England matches due to a knee injury sustained while playing for Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy.

It was the 98th international appearance for the former England captain, and he started and played until the 62nd minute, when David Bentley replaced him.

"It was a difficult game for him. He didn't play for one month," McClaren said. "We'll wait for Monday and Tuesday to see how fit he is."

For England to have a realistic chance of qualifying for next summer's 16-nation tournament, Israel must get a tie or victory on Saturday against visiting Russia.

Croatia (8-2-0) leads Group E with 26 points, followed by England (7-2-2) with 23 and Russia (6-3-1) with 21. Russia closes next Wednesday at Andorra, which is 0-10. Only the top two teams qualify.

The goal by the 6-foot-6-inch Crouch was his 13th in 23 international appearances.

Austria and Switzerland are co-hosts of next June's tournament.


Austria: Jurgen Macho (Alexander Manninger, 25), Gyorgy Garics, Martin Stranzl (Martin Hiden, 86), Franz Schiemer, Ronald Gercaliu, Joachim Standfest (Veli Kavlac, 78), Rene Aufhauser, Yuksel Sariyar (Martin Harnik, 65), Markus Weissenberger (Christoph Leitgeb, 46), Andreas Ivanschitz, Sanel Kuljic (Roman Kienast, 46).

England: Scott Garson, Micah Richards, Joleon Lescott, Sol Campbell (Wes Brown, 46), Wayne Bridge, David Beckham (David Bentley, 62), Steven Gerrard (Gareth Barry, 46), Frank Lampard, Joe Cole (Ashley Young, 46), Peter Crouch (Alan Smith, 73), Michael Owen (Jermain Defoe, 34).

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