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Saturday, June 05, 2004 

England 6 - Iceland 1: Cool England freeze Iceland

The biggest win of Sven-Göran Eriksson's 38 games in charge of England sent his side into UEFA EURO 2004 on a high.

Two goals each from Wayne Rooney and Darius Vassell, plus further strikes by Frank Lampard and Wayne Bridge ensured England won the triangular FA Summer Tournament in Manchester ahead of Japan on goal difference. But more importantly it helped them find their groove after Tuesday's stuttering draw with the Asian champions here - with their Portugal opener against holders France only eight days away.

Eriksson's starting lineup saw just two changes from Tuesday's selection, with Jamie Carragher at centre-back allowing John Terry to rest his hamstring and Paul Robinson replacing first-choice David James in goal. The midfield was unchanged but formed as a flat four instead of a diamond.

Scholes came close to ending his three years without an England goal on four minutes, but missed the target. However, Lampard opened the scoring on 24 minutes with a deflected long-range shot.

Within two minutes Rooney turned the ball in after being set up by Gary Neville and the 18-year-old Everton FC striker claimed his fifth England goal from long range on 38 minutes. Heidar Helguson pulled a goal back three minutes later, and although Eriksson replaced every player other than Robinson and Carragher at the break, England's dominance continued.

Vassell's first arrived within eleven minutes as he deflected in Owen Hargreaves' effort. On 67 minutes left-back Bridge opened his international account in his 17th appearance with a confident finish.

The win was sealed by Vassell when he combined with Emile Heskey and curled the ball in. England will not expect such a comfortable day against France in Lisbon, but scoring six goals for the first time since 1999 against Luxembourg will boost their confidence.

source: UEFA Euro 2004.


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