LONDON, April 1 (Xinhua) — John Terry’s late winner kept England on track for next summer’s World Cup as they sank Ukraine 2-1 at home to make it five wins out of five in their qualifying group.
It appeared that England had to settle for a disappointing drawat Wembley when Ukraine’s substitute Andriy Shevchenko struck 16 minutes from time to cancel out Petre Crouch’s 29th minute volley.
But skipper Terry bundled in from close range with five minutes remaining to maintain England’s one hundred percent record in Group Six.
Fabio Capello’s fist-pumping celebration demonstrated the importance of Terry’s goal as England are now enjoying a comfortable five-point edge over second-placed Croatia, who have 10 points after winning at Andorra 2-0, on the road to South Africa.
Ukraine, suffering their first defeat in four games, remain third on seven points.
Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard, who shone in England’s 4-0 triumph over Slovakia, linked superbly on the edge of the area and almost created an opener after six minutes only to see Rooney’s spectacular bicycle kick land just over the top.
England’s John Terry (L) celebrates his goal against Ukraine with teammate Steven Gerrard during their 2010 World Cup qualifying soccer match at Wembley Stadium in London April 1, 2009.
Gerrard then came close when his low free-kick was again only inches off target. It was left for Crouch to break the deadlock, volleying in Terry’s header after Gerrard lashed a corner.
Despite the supremacy, England had failed to follow up their advantage with a second goal and paid for their inefficiency when Shevchenko struck.
The Ukrainian, who has started in only two games for AC Milan this season, proved that he was still someone to be reckoned on field when he drove a rebounded ball home from 10 yards after England failed to clear a free kick.
With time running out, Terry came to the rescue as he scored from six yards after Gerrard had nodded a David Beckham free-kick across the area.
Beckham, going on for Aaron Lennon near the hour, took his England record of appearances for an outfield player to 110.