England book place at Euro 2004 meet

Updated: 25 February 2007 08:48 IST

England booked a place in the 2004 European Championship after they held Turkey to a 0-0 draw in Istanbul to finish at the top of the group 7 standings.

England book place at Euro 2004 meet

Istanbul:

England booked their place at the 2004 European Championship after they held Turkey to a 0-0 draw in Istanbul on Saturday to finish at the top of the group seven standings. Captain David Beckham missed a first half penalty kick for England and the visitors had to survive a couple of late scares before clinching automatic qualification.Turkey finished second in the group seven standings and now face the uncertainty of a two leg play-off as they look to join England in next year's championship in Portugal. England made an encouraging start, but Turkey created the first chance of the match a€" Nihat Kahveci's 17th minute volley saved by goalkeeper David James. As the Turks a€" who had to win the game in order to take group seven's sole automatic qualification place a€" pushed forward, England looked to counter attack.One such break saw Wayne Rooney latch on to a fantastic pass from David Beckham in the 20th minute, but 'keeper Rustu Recber blocked the 17-year-old's path to goal and Rooney lobbed the ball over the crossbar.England won a penalty kick in the 36th minute after Steven Gerrard forced Tugay Kerimoglu into a challenge inside the Turkish penalty area. Beckham had never missed an international penalty kick before, but England's courageous captain slipped at the end of his run up and the sliced the ball high over Recber's goal.In first half injury time Okan Buruk added the slightest of touches to a Sergen Yalcin corner kick, but the ball rebounded off James and England cleared the danger. Tempers flared at halftime and referee Pierluigi Collina had to restore order after Turkey's Ozalan Alpay and Beckham clashed in the tunnel. The second half went on regardless though and only a brave block from Gary Neville denied Emre Belozoglu a goal in the 67th minute. John Terry had to be equally resolute three minutes later to head the ball away from Turkey front man Hakan Sukur.England coach Sven Goran Eriksson then sent on Darius Vassell and the substitute came close to breaking the deadlock with a 78th minute shot that curled wide of the Turkey goal. Eriksson's men held firm as Turkey's attacks became more and more desperate and the home side were reduced to taking shots from distance. An 89th minute effort from substitute Tuncay Sauli could have gone anywhere though and James was relieved to see the ball fly wide of his right hand post. Turkey managed one last chance deep into injury time when the ball fell to Nihat Kahveci 25 yards from goal.The Real Sociedad forward missed the target though and as James took the resulting goal kick, Collina blew the final whistle. England had hung on to claim a 0-0 draw, which was enough to seal their place at the top of the Group seven standings. Turkey finish as group runners-up and now face the lottery of the play-offs, where they could face fellow big guns Spain or the Netherlands. (AP)



Topics : Football
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