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For Slovakia read Macedonia. England started this Euro Qualifier slowly and had to go 1-0 down before they found their best form and the goals that sent them to their seventh win in a row...
Macedonia 1-2 England
Euro 2004, Group 7 Qualifier
Gradski Stadium, Skopje
6th September 2003
It was another game, another goal for David Beckham, but the what will be remembered for a long time was England's first goal of the night from 17-year old Wayne Rooney making history yet again.
The England scouts that had been sent to watch Macedonia had warned Sven-Goran Eriksson that the hosts would start quickly. We were not disappointed.
With the home crowd roaring behind them, and some Macedonian supporters burning an England flag in what might have proved to be a highly inflammatory gesture, Dragi Kanatlarovski's side began with confidence and purpose.
Artim Sakiri, England's chief tormentor at St Mary's last year, looked to have the art and subtlety to cause England problems while David Beckham's every touch was being booed by the ravenous Macedonian public.
The home supporters' frenzy was fed when they opened the scoring on 23 minutes. Sol Campbell, who had earlier saved England with some fine defending, was unable to cut out Grozdanovski cross from the right. James kept out Pandev's initial effort but former Barnsley man Gorgi Hristov was there to tuck home the rebound.
It looked far from promising at that stage.
England tried to respond and Beckham's direct run through the middle released Owen, but the goal-machine was unable to get their before 'keeper Petar Milosevski on this occasion.
At that stage England needed a little more presence in attack, something to unsettle the Macedonians. The England players went down the tunnel at half-time frustrated and despondent. They were in need of reorganisation and inspiration, but who could they turn to?
Just as he had had at the Riverside against Slovakia, Sven had the answer.
He withdrew Frank Lampard, pushed Owen Hargreaves into the centre and threw on Emile Heskey to make an attacking 4-3-3.
The move paid immediate and dramatic dividends. Beckham picked out Heskey with a chipped ball and the Liverpool striker directed a header perfectly into Wayne Rooney's path. Rooney, skipped onto the ball and crisply fired home a flashing half-volley from the edge of the area.
The goal will ensure that Rooney goes down as England's youngest-ever goalscorer and, more importantly in the context of England's qualification hopes, it re-ignited the team's drive and ambition.
Now we were in the mood and it was soon to be two. Beckham, drifted a free-kick towards John Terry and the defender who's ball-skills drew praise from Sven-Goran Eriksson this week, produced a turn that completely out-foxed the Macedonian substitute, Zezus. His tackle was late and nowhere near the ball. Penalty.
Beckham picked up the ball and placed it on the spot before proceeding to sweep home his 12th goal in 25 starts under Sven. Once again his contribution was priceless.
Macedonia felt that they were still in with a chance however, but at the heart of England's defence was Campbell who made up for his earlier misjudgement and dealt with nearly everything that was put his way.
Frustrations grew for the home side in the final minutes as Beckham, Heskey and Gary Neville kept the ball in the corner while the clock ticked down to an England win.
The Three Lions now head to Old Trafford on Wednesday in the knowledge that a win there and a draw in Istanbul will be enough to see us through to Portugal next summer.
If we can achieve that, these three points in Skopje will be remembered as a vital step along the way.
From Dan Freedman in Skopje
England: James; G Neville, Terry, Campbell, Ashley Cole; Beckham, Lampard (Heskey, 46), Butt, Hargreaves; Rooney (P Neville, 75), Owen (Dyer, 85)
Subs not used: Robinson, Upson, Bridge, Joe Cole
Macedonia: Milosevski; Igor Mitreski, Stojanoski, `umulikoski; Grozdanovski (Braga, 56), Trajanov, Pandev (Gjuzelov, 47), Sakiri; Naumoski, Hristov (Dimitrovski, 88), Stavrevski
Subs not used: Cumbev, Nikoloski, Kapinkovski, Georgievski
Referee: Frank de Bleeckere Frank (Belgium)
Assistant Referees: Roland van Nylen (Belgium)
Fourth Official: Serge Gumienny (Belgium)
Colours: Macedonia (red, red, red) England (white, blue, white)