England reaches quarter-finals

England reached the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in 12 years, hammering Denmark 3-0.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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Niigata, Japan:

England reached the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in 12 years Saturday, hammering Denmark 3-0 on goals from Rio Ferdinand, Michael Owen and Emile Heskey. Off to the kind of start it had in 1966 when it claimed its only World Cup title, England now prepares for a quarter-final showdown on Friday with either four-time champion Brazil or Belgium in Shizuoka, Japan. Brazil and Belgium play Monday in Kobe, Japan. The last time England reached the quarter-finals was in 1990 when it beat Cameroon 3-2 and then lost to West Germany on penalties in the semi-finals. In 1986, England fell in the quarter-finals to Argentina. Four years ago, England was ousted in the round of 16 match by Argentina on penalties. England's Swedish coach Sven-Goran Eriksson called the tournament "open" and said his team had six days to rest and prepare for the next step. He said Owen was rested in the second half after a groin injury. "Maybe 3-0 is too much but anyhow, we won it and we are in the quarter-finals,'' he said, adding that Owen's injury wasn't a "bad one." "All the second half we defended very well. They had the ball a lot but they didn't create very much," he claimed. "Now we have six days before the next game. We're trying to rest, recover," Eriksson said. The three goals are the most England has scored in a World Cup finals since 1990. The last time the English scored four in the finals was in the 4-2 win in the 1966 championship victory over West Germany, a game that went to 30 minutes of overtime. England shattered Denmark's confidence almost immediately, taking advantage of a blatant error by Danish 'keeper Thomas Soerensen as it raced to a 3-0 half time lead. In the 5th, David Beckham sent in a twisting corner from the left that Ferdinand headed for the goal. The ball bounced off the turf and into the arms of Danish goalkeeper Thomas Soerensen, who bobbled the easy save and juggled the ball across the line and into the goal. It was Ferdinand's first goal for England. England made it 2-0 in the 22nd as Owen scored his first goal of these World Cup finals. Trevor Sinclair and Nicky Butt combined on a quick 1-2 passing combination with the ball going to Owen, who left-footed it home from 8 meters (yards) to the left of a diving Soerensen. With heavy rain falling late in the first half, Emile Heskey took it to 3-0 in the 44th, scoring on a low, skidding shot off the wet grass from 18 meters (yards) off a Beckham pass. The Danes never got back into the match as England dominated play to start the second half as the rain subsided and England kept up its crisp, no-pressure passing. Denmark lost defender Thomas Helveg in the 7th when he was taken off with a head injury and replaced by Kasper Bogelund. Denmark had its best first-half scoring chance when Ebbe Sand weaved through the goal area in the 27th and twisted a 12-meter (yard) shot that went just wide to the left of England 'keeper David Seaman. England fans completely outnumbered a few hundred Danish fans in the 42,000-seat Big Swan Stadium. Some 10,000 England fans were joined by thousands of Japanese wearing England colors. Denmark striker Jon Dahl Tomasson, who has four goals in the finals, started despite a groin injury. Injured midfielder Stig Toefting also started. He has a foot injury. Lineups:Denmark: 1-Thomas Sorensen, 2-Stig Toefting, 3-Rene Henriksen (c), 4-Martin Laursen, 6-Thomas Helveg (20-Kasper Bogelund 7), 7-Thomas Gravesen, 8-Jesper Gronkjaer, 9-Jon Dahl Tomasson, 11-Ebbe Sand, 12-Niclas Jensen, 19-Dennis Rommedahl. England: 1-David Seaman, 2-Danny Mills, 3-Ashley Cole, 4-Trevor Sinclair, 5-Rio Ferdinand, 6-Sol Campbell, 7-David Beckham (c), 8-Paul Scholes, 10-Michael Owen, 11-Emile Heskey, 21-Nicky Butt. Referee: Markus Merk, Germany. (AP)