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Final rehearsals

ENGLAND’S PENULTIMATE warm-up match against Hungary saw a return to form for David Beckham. The captain provided the pinpoint crosses, and deadly free kicks that enabled Steven Gerrard and John Terry to finish with ease. Peter Crouch added a third, while Dardai managed a solitary reply for the guests. The score line was deceptive, glossing over serious problems within the team as a whole.

Last Saturday’s game against Jamaica, at Old Trafford, saw a more traditional 4-4-2 formation take to the pitch, resulting in a 6-0 walkover. In all honesty, the Reggae Boys provided little in the way of a serious test, but at least a Peter Crouch hat-trick confirmed the striker’s instinct for goal, even though he also missed a penalty!

Portugal’s last run-out against Luxembourg proved to be a wholly unconvincing affair, two late goals from Simão and Figo giving the 3-0 score line a half-way satisfactory look. Hosts, Germany, struggled against Japan, eking out a 2-2 draw before beating a tired looking Colombian 11, 3-0.