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Becks puts England back on track

sports Updated: Jun 08, 2007 19:36 IST
Beckham puts England back on track in Estonia

David Beckham set up two goals to steer England to a morale-boosting 3-0 win over Estonia on Wednesday that put their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign firmly back on track.

Winger Joe Cole gave Steve McClaren's side a 37th-minute lead with a crisp half-volley before Beckham set up Peter Crouch for the second in the 54th minute and then lined up Michael Owen for the third in the 62nd.

It made for a memorable competitive return for Beckham, recalled to the squad last week after being discarded by McClaren after last year's World Cup.

He made a promising comeback in last week's 1-1 friendly draw with Brazil at Wembley and fully justified his 96th cap for his country in the Group E clash.

"It's been nice to be back with the lads," Beckham told Sky Sports.

"We have scored some goals, played some good football and I think the confidence is coming back," added Beckham, who said he hoped to be involved in the next squad even though he will then be playing in the United States.

McClaren was also relieved at the night's work, having been a target for critics after a defeat by Croatia, draws with Macedonia and Israel, and a laboured 3-0 win over Andorra.

The victory takes England to 14 points from seven games, one point behind Russia, who drew 0-0 in Croatia. Israel, 2-0 winners in Andorra, have 17 from eight with Croatia top on 17, also from seven matches.

"We looked a team tonight," McClaren said.

"Estonia showed great spirit but we competed, we won challenges and we knew they would tire and the gaps would open.

"We got that first goal and got our rewards in the second.

"I think we've gained a lot in the last two-and-half weeks we've been together and I think Friday (against Brazil) gave us the confidence and belief."

On the performance of Beckham, who went off in the second half for treatment on a twisted ankle, he said: "David Beckham knows when to come in and stay wide and his delivery is second to none.

"His performance on the field answers everyone."

Beckham show

England started well but had to wait until the 37th minute to break down the dogged hosts.

Wayne Bridge's long throw was nodded on by Crouch and Cole was able to chest the ball down before swivelling to beat keeper Mart Poom with a smart half-volley.

Beckham then killed the game with two superb crosses after the re-start, sending the first into the area from deep and allowing Crouch to cleverly head past Poom on the bounce for his 12th goal in 19 internationals.

Owen flicked home the second at the far post to seal a deserved win, though Estonia nearly snatched a consolation goal in stoppage time.

Substitute Tarmo Kink beat Paul Robinson with a low shot but England captain John Terry was there to clear off the line to leave them without a goal after their seventh straight defeat in the group.

Estonia coach Jelle Goes announcing he would not be renewing his contract when it expires in November.