Super-subs steer England to victory

LONDON - England began their World Cup build-up with a 3-1 victory over Egypt at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday despite being outplayed by the African champions in the opening half.

Two goals from substitute Peter Crouch after 56 and 80 minutes and one by fellow substitute Shaun Wright-Phillips after 75 helped England rally from 1-0 down.

"Anyone who plays for England, certainly in a World Cup year, is going to feel some pressure," Crouch told ITV.

"All I can do is, when given a chance, try and take it and hopefully I've given the manager something to think about tonight."

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Egypt dazzled the 80,000 crowd with a superb display of attacking football in the first half, capped by a fine goal from Mohamed Zidan who half-volleyed home from the edge of the box after 23 minutes.

England responded after the break with beanpole striker Crouch side-footing home twice from crosses from the right although he looked marginally offside for his second goal.

Wright-Phillips took his goal well, chesting the ball down and firing home a rebound after goalkeeper Essam El Hadary parried a James Milner effort.

The friendly was the first at Wembley since media reports about John Terry's private life forced manager Fabio Capello to strip him of the England captaincy.

Terry was booed on his very first touch – a misplaced pass which went out of play – but grew in stature as the game went on and did not put a foot wrong in the second half.

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"I really thank the crowd for supporting him," said Capello. "It was a very important game for him after what happened to him off the pitch and he had a fantastic game.

"He is very important to us but I knew that when I made him captain in the first place."


Capello used the match as a warm-up before England face Egypt's World Cup conquerors Algeria in South Africa in June and his players were tested early on.

It was no surprise when Egypt went ahead as Matthew Upson, deputising for injured skipper Rio Ferdinand, slipped while trying to intercept a long forward pass.

That gave Zidan time to cushion the ball with his right foot before shooting wide of keeper Robert Green.

England, though, were better after the break with Michael Carrick injecting some urgency into midfield after replacing Frank Lampard and with captain Steven Gerrard moving into his favoured position in the centre of midfield.

They deserved their equaliser when Gareth Barry crossed for Crouch to score.

Crouch then collected his 20th goal in his 37th international when he converted a cross from Wright-Phillips.

Capello said: "Peter Crouch is a big option for me because sometimes you can play long ball. Today we didn't play long ball and he played very well, one-touch, two-touch. Second half he made the difference."

England have two more warm-up games against Mexico and Japan before leaving for the World Cup where they face United States, Algeria and Slovenia.

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