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ENGLAND v AUSTRIA (Saturday 8/10/05 BBC1 15:30)

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Well, this Saturday see's another World Cup qualifying match between England and Austria. England really need to pick up if they want to go through. What are your hopes on the result? Watch the game live on BBC1 at 15:30, Kick-off at 16:00.Steven Gerrard says the defeat to Northern Ireland will stop England's stars becoming complacent in Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Austria. The shock 1-0 defeat in Belfast on 7 September led to widespread criticism of England's players. "Maybe the team has picked itself of late but after recent performances, the so-called big names could be more on their toes now," said Gerrard. "They will not be taking their positions for granted." Gerrard said he was among the players fearing the axe for the final qualifying matches against Austria at the weekend and Poland next Wednesday. Asked if he felt he could have been dropped, he said: "I think so. Everyone who played against Northern Ireland will be worried about whether they are going to be picked for the next two games. "I don't think many players performed in those two games and I'm no different. It was a worrying time in that dressing room after that game. "It was the lowest point I've had with England." The Liverpool captain said he hoped the team would put on a show for the fans during the next two matches. "I think you will see that in the performances to come and it will be healthy." "Do we owe the nation a performance? Yes, big time," he said. "The most important thing in the next two games is points but it would be nice to entertain as well and pay back the fans for that embarrassing defeat in Belfast." All the strikers seem to be playing well at the same time - it is tough for the manager but good for the country Jermain Defoe If fit, Gerrard is certain to retain his place in Sven-Goran Eriksson's team but the England coach is facing a dilemma over his central-defensive partnership. Fit-again Sol Campbell is available but the Arsenal man may be left out at the expense of the combination of John Terry and Rio Ferdinand. England are expected to revert to a 4-4-2 system after Eriksson was heavily criticised for using a five-man midfield in the defeat against Northern Ireland. Meanwhile, striker Jermain Defoe said the competition for places up front is healthy for England - even though the Tottenham man is likely to lose out to Peter Crouch when Eriksson decides who to partner Michael Owen up front in place of the suspended Wayne Rooney on Saturday. "It is difficult because Michael and Wayne are both great players, Darren Bent is on fire and Peter Crouch is playing in the Champions League," said Defoe. "For some reason we all seem to be playing well at the same time, so I guess it is tough for the manager but good for the country." On Wednesday Gerrard insisted the squad were happy with Eriksson's system - and rejected claims the squad had lost faith in the coach. He said: "It is up to the manager which formation he goes with but I find it fairly easy to play in any formation. "You need to be able to adapt but the manager has said he will go back to 4-4-2 and the players are happy with that. "There was a lot of debate about formations going into the last four games. "But if you look around the dressing room and see the quality, no matter what formation we played against Northern Ireland we should have won the game - and that goes for the same against Austria. "To win in any international, whether it is in Belfast or Brazil, you need individuals to perform - and there were a lot of individuals who did not do that in Belfast, myself included." On the reported dressing room unrest, Gerrard stated: "I think that is complete rubbish. He has certainly got my backing and all the other players I have spoken to - I think the whole squad supports the manager. "What has been said about what happened in the dressing room has been blown out of all proportion."Finger's crossed for the boys on Saturday! Good Luck!

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News just in:England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson is set to pick Rio Ferdinand ahead of Sol Campbell for the World Cup qualifier against Austria, according to reports. The Swede is set to pick the Manchester United defender to partner John Terry at centre-half - even though Ferdinand has spoken about his own poor form. Jamie Carragher is poised to replace the injured Ashley Cole at left-back. Striker Peter Crouch is tipped to start alongside Michael Owen on Saturday in place of the suspended Wayne Rooney. Former England international and current BBC Radio Five Live pundit Terry Butcher backed the inclusion of Ferdinand, despite his below-par performances for United this season. "Ferdinand should play because he can bring the ball out of defence and give it to England's midfield to do damage. He is best suited to England's requirements," he said. "Campbell has done well since returning to the Arsenal side but I would not bring him back and leave Rio out." Eriksson said earlier this week that he had already made up his mind who to play in the centre of defence. And the England coach is poised to revert to a 4-4-2 formation against Austria after his experiement with playing 4-5-1 backfired in Northern Ireland. Fears over Owen's availablity subsided on Wednesday after the Newcastle striker came through a fitness test. The 25-year-old missed the Premiership game with Portsmouth after suffering a dead leg in a collision with Stephen Taylor. But he had a fitness session with physio Gary Lewin on Wednesday and should be able to resume full training on Thursday. Captain David Beckham should also take part in training after delaying his arrival to be with his ill son Romeo. Beckham stayed in Madrid on Tuesday as his son underwent hospital tests but is now with the squad. Earlier in the week Ashley Cole withdrew from the squad after suffering a stress fracture of his foot. Uncapped Liverpool left-back Stephen Warnock was called up as cover. The last time Cole was unavailable - against Sweden in a friendly in March last year - Carragher played at left-back in a match that England lost 1-0.

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Beckham and Owen boost:England captain David Beckham and striker Michael Owen look set to start Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Austria after training on Thursday. Beckham's arrival in Manchester was delayed while the Real Madrid player stayed in Spain with his ill son Romeo. Owen had been a doubt after he missed the Premiership game with Portsmouth because of a dead leg. Boss Sven-Goran Eriksson now has to decide on a central defensive duo and who to play at left-back. Reports suggest the Swede will choose Rio Ferdinand to partner John Terry in the centre of defence, ahead of Sol Campbell. That is despite Ferdinand's recent confession that his form has not been his best of late. Jamie Carragher is poised to replace the injured Ashley Cole at left-back. Striker Peter Crouch is tipped to start alongside Owen in place of the suspended Wayne Rooney. Former England international and current BBC Radio Five Live pundit Terry Butcher backed the inclusion of Ferdinand, despite his below-par performances for United this season. "Ferdinand should play because he can bring the ball out of defence and give it to England's midfield to do damage. He is best suited to England's requirements," he said. "Campbell has done well since returning to the Arsenal side but I would not bring him back and leave Rio out." Eriksson said earlier this week that he had already made up his mind who to play in the centre of defence. I think the next two games are going to be tough for England. Should beat Austria, but Poland might be a different kettle of fish And the England coach is poised to revert to a 4-4-2 formation against Austria after his experiment with playing 4-5-1 backfired in Northern Ireland. Owen had a fitness session with physio Gary Lewin on Wednesday and resumed full training on Thursday without any negative reaction. Beckham also took part in training after staying in Madrid on Tuesday as his son underwent hospital tests.

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Campbell set to replace Ferdinand Crouch hopes for Owen role Eriksson aims to make amends Players back Eriksson, says Owen England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson is set to prefer Sol Campbell to Rio Ferdinand in defence for Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Austria. It would be the first time Eriksson has ever dropped 26-year-old Ferdinand for a competitive fixture. Jamie Carragher is poised to replace the injured Ashley Cole at left-back. Ferdinand has been a regular starter at centre-back during Eriksson's four-year reign as coach. But the Swede was forced to make changes during the Manchester United man's eighth-month ban in 2004 for missing a drug test. Campbell and Terry became Eriksson's preferred first-choice pairing and have never been on the losing side after 90 minutes in the six games they have played together for England. Their only taste of defeat was in the Euro 2004 quarter-final against Portugal, although that loss came in a penalty shoot-out after the sides drew 2-2 after extra-time. BBC Radio Five Live's chief football correspondent Mike Ingham said Campbell - who has been in great form for Arsenal since returning from a calf injury - had impressed during training this week. "(Campbell) has never let England down, but if it is Terry and Campbell, then the England coach is going with the men in form," said Ingham. "He's not going to be swayed by reputation." Former England international and current BBC Radio Five Live pundit Terry Butcher had backed the inclusion of Ferdinand, despite his below-par performances for United this season. "Ferdinand should play because he can bring the ball out of defence and give it to England's midfield to do damage. He is best suited to England's requirements," he said. Skipper David Beckham and striker Michael Owen look set to start at Old Trafford after training on Thursday. Beckham's arrival in Manchester was delayed while the Real Madrid player stayed in Spain with his ill son Romeo. Owen had been a doubt after he missed the Premiership game with Portsmouth because of a dead leg. Striker Peter Crouch is tipped to start alongside Owen in place of the suspended Wayne Rooney. "I think the next two games are going to be tough for England. Should beat Austria, but Poland might be a different kettle of fish"From RDEriksson is poised to revert to a 4-4-2 formation after his experiment with playing 4-5-1 backfired in Northern Ireland. Earlier in the week Arsenal's Cole withdrew from the squad after suffering a stress fracture of his foot. Meanwhile Beckham is believed to have relinquished his penalty-taking role, handing the responsibility to Frank Lampard.

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I bet we play sh*t !We always do!We'll probably make Austria look like a really good team! biggrin.gif Enough negativity........ Lets get positive about it - :D COME ON BOYS!!! :D:D

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WTF was up with that ref in the 2nd half!?! Did he get some sorta bumming from the Austrian side? Those 2 bookings on Beckham were uncalled for!! I thought we started off well, having loads of chances, but then we died down in the 2nd half. At least we're through, let's see if we can go through top on Wednesday.

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We've got no chance against Poland!We're gonna get an arse tickling!

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thought the game was sh*t! we better play better on wednesday..poor beckham, he gets an arse whopping for no reason.. what is up with people, he is a good footballer... (and bloody gorgeus too lol)

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