England’s first international in South Africa was played on this day.
‘England XIs’ or ‘FA XIs’ had been touring South Africa since 1910 but it wasn’t until this day in 2003 that England played an official international in that country.
The ‘Test matches’ back in 1910 had finished 3-0 to ‘England’ in Durban, 6-2 in Johannesburg and 6-3 in Cape Town. The friendly in Durban’s ABSA Stadium seven years ago, however, was a much closer affair, Sven’s side winning 2-1 with goals from Gareth Southgate and Emile Heskey.
The visitors, warming up for a Euro 2004 Qualifier with Slovakia, were ahead in just 36 seconds. David Beckham drifted a free-kick into the near-post area, following Radebe’s foul on Michael Owen, and Southgate rose to head in. It was his second goal for England in 53 appearances.
Fredericks’ pace and directness caused England problems down the right and the pressure told with a South African equaliser on 18 minutes. Buckley’s cross connected with Danny Mills’ hand and the Mauritian referee somewhat harshly awarded a penalty, McCarthy making no mistake from the spot.
England regained the lead after a slow start to the second half. Frank Lampard, substituting for Trevor Sinclair, collected the ball from Steven Gerrard and quickly advanced into space before striking a low shot that Baloyi spilled into Heskey’s path.