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England has subs to thank for win
by Paul Kennedy, March 3rd, 2010 11:38PM

TAGS:  england, world cup


[WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN] After a torturous first half, during which Egypt went ahead, England recovered to beat the three-time African champion, 3-1, at Wembley Stadium. Substitutes Peter Crouch and Shaun Wright-Phillips combined for the three goals and improved their chances of earning tickets to the World Cup.

At the start of the game, the crowd of 80,000 booed defender John Terry, whose off-the-field antics have dominated headlines in recent weeks, and the England performance in the first half hardly improved their mood.

A slipup by Terry's partner Matthew Upson allowed Mohamed Zidan to score and give the Pharaohs the surprise lead.

Things got better in the second half and subs James Milner, Michael Carrick, Crouch and Wright-Phillips all had big games.

The giant Crouch scored twice to give him 20 goals in 37 international matches and Wright-Phillips volleyed home the winner.

The 6-foot-7 Crouch showed he isn't just a player who is good in the air.

"Crouch is a big option for me because sometimes you can play long ball," England coach Fabio Capello said. "Today we didn't, and he played very well with one touch, two touches. In the second half, he made the difference."

As England pulled ahead, the crowd got behind Terry.

"They supported the team and John Terry," added Capello. "This was a most important game for him after what happened outside the pitch. He played a fantastic game like I know he can do at this level. When I chose him as captain I knew the value of him as a player."

While there were a lot of positives for England, concerns about its backline will persist.

With Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole both injured, the backline has two big holes to fill and Upson and Leighton Baines hardly impressed.

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