Date: 26th May 2006 at 12:42pm
Written by:

ENGLAND B 1 BELARUS 2

EGLAND B: James (Green 45), Hargreaves, Campbell, Carragher, Ashley Cole, Lennon, Jenas (Walcott 62), Carrick, Downing (Defoe 79), Owen (Joe Cole 61), Crouch (Dawson 79),Green (Carson 53).

Subs Not Used: Bridge, Phil Neville, Johnson.

As Michael Owen made his come-back, Sven-Goran Eriksson was hit with another injury blow. Norwich goalkeeper Robert Green was carried off with a suspected torn groin muscle, five minutes after coming on as a sub as the B team lost.

England had led in Reading’s Madejski Stadium through Jermaine Jenas – but 10-man Belarus fought to win. They equalised with a freak goal due to Green’s injury and sub Sergei Kornilenko grabbed the winning goal nine minutes from time.

There were positive moments for the England manager as Aaron Lennon and Theo Walcott showed flashes of their speed and flair. Peter Crouch linked up well with Michael Owen in the strike partnership which could start the World Cup against Paraguay. But there were also worrying aspects of the performance, particularly at the back where England looked sloppy.

Green was replaced by Liverpool’s third choice keeper Scott Carson, who has played only 16 league games in his career.

Belarus played the last 17 minutes with 10 men after Sergei Omelyachuk was sent off for a second yellow card, for a foul on livewire Lennon but still managed their late winner.

Walcott, 17, made his first appearance for senior England team when he came on as a sub in the 61st minute. The Arsenal starlet replaced skipper Owen, who had looked sharp but not totally comfortable, despite claiming his foot injury is fine.

Jenas broke the deadlock in the 34th minute. Downing curled a free-kick into the box and Owen headed against the bar – but the ball bounced down into the goalmouth and Jenas reacted first, stooping to nod it over the line from close range.