Owen blasts England to win over Germany
Updated: Sunday September 02, 2001 2:33 PM
MUNICH, Germany (AP) -- Michael Owen struck three times as England came from behind to romp to a record 5-1 victory over Germany in a World Cup qualifying game Saturday. What should have been a German stroll turned out to be a nightmare.
Liverpool colleagues Steven Gerrard and Emile Heskey also netted in an amazing result for Sven-Goran Eriksson's team, Gerrard firing in a breathtaking 25-meter (yard) shot with virtually the last kick of the first half.
The victory, an emphatic turnaround after last October's 1-0 loss at Wembley and a biggest ever over its great rival, gives England a great chance to beat the Germans to the top spot in Group 9 which means a guaranteed place in next year's finals.
If England wins its game in hand by beating Albania at St. James' Park, Newcastle on Wednesday, Eriksson's team will be level on points with Rudi Voeller's and it will all depend on the final round of games October 6. Germany hosts Finland and England welcomes Greece.
"It is great on a personal note to score a hat-trick but I do not want to take all the credit.
"Gerrard got a great goal, too. Everyone will get 10 out of 10 in the papers for this performance. You can dream about scoring a hat-trick but you don't think it is going to come true.
"It was unbelievable to come here," Owen said. "No-one would have predicted this scoreline but some of us might have predicted the victory."
England captain David Beckham paid tribute to the fans in the stadium.
"It's not just a scoreboard," said pointing to the 5-1 result on the stadium's main scoreboard. "But all them lot (the English fans), it's for them. Wembley was so dissappointing, but we've done it out there, we've played our football."
Coach Eriksson, whose appointment split the country with many followers opposed to a non-English coach, suggested the scoreline was hard on the Germans.
"I think we have a very good team -- I always said that," the Swede said. "But I don't think we are as good as the goals show. 5-1 may be too much.
"I think we had another attitude to the game. We were not afraid. After they scored 1-0, we played better and better.
"To score three goals against Germany away, it's very well done," Eriksson said of Owen's performance.
Chasing its 13th World Cup appearance in a row, Germany got a dream start to the game when Carsten Jancker fired the home team ahead after seven minutes.
The English defense was caught out by a pass forward to Michael Ballack whose quick sideways ball found Jancker behind his marker and in space.
The tall striker beat the advancing goalkeeper David Seaman to the ball and lobbed it into an empty net.
The goal silenced the English fans behind Kahn's goal but they were cheering loudly six minutes later.
The Germans only half cleared a David Beckham corner from the left and Gary Neville headed it back into the danger area. The German defense raced out to try and catch the England forwards offside but no flag came and Heskey touched the ball sideways to Owen who crashed it home from 10 meters (yards).
Beckham fired a 30-meter free kick just wide of the left post and the lively Owen shot wide of the same upright under pressure from Christian Woerns.
After their great start, the Germans seemed knocked out of their stride and England had a golden chance to take the lead when the German defense got into a tangle on the edge of their own area. Sebastian Deisler's back pass was so short that Kahn raced off his line and grabbed the ball at Owen's feet.
Italian referee Pierluigi Collina awarded the indirect free kick for handling a backpass and Paul Scholes rolled the ball to Beckham whose 12-meter shot was blocked on the line by Marko Rehmer.
The Germans forced four corners in the space of 90 seconds and, when one was half cleared to Oliver Neuville, his 20-meter volley flew just wide of the post.
A minute before half time, Seaman, who had shakily dropped a long range shot and a cross, made a stunning, low, diving save to keep out a fast shot from Joerg Boehme before Gerrard produced his stunning strike.
When the Germans half cleared a corner, the 20-year-old Liverpool midfielder collected a half cleared cross and sent a low drive flashing through a crowded area past goalkeeper Oliver Kahn.
The Germans fans were still getting over that when Owen added a third in the 48th minute.
Heskey headed down a cross from Beckham and the Liverpool striker powered home his second of the game from close range.
Owen's second half goal sparked the Germans into a major immprovement and Voeller's team should have cut the deficit.
Jancker had a great chance to head for goal from just six meters out but decided to set ip up for Ballack who cleared the crossbar with his shot to the groans of the German fans.
But it became a bigger disaster in the 67th minute when Ballack gave the ball away near the half way line and Gerrard sent Owen sprinting clear to beat Kahn once more for his hat-trick. Ballack was immediately replaced by Miroslav Klose.
The Germans looked in dismay and, when Beckham fed Scholes down the right, his low cross found Heskey in the clear and the burly striker powered the ball home for a fifth goal which had the German fans headed for the exits.
Sporadic crowd trouble in Frankfurt and Munich earlier in the day had marred another classic confrontation between two of soccer's greatest rivals.
Germany went into the game having beaten England six times in their previous seven encounters -- including twice after dramatic penalty shootouts at the 1990 World Cup and Euro 96 semifinals.