|UEFA RESULTS AND ROSTERS|
September 16, 2002
England went north to Iceland for World Cup play-off and drew 2-2 to remain in contention
After a few days together, and almost 2 months since the 1-0 defeat by Nigeria, the England squad flew north to take on Iceland.
The match played at the national stadium on Monday 16th September was the first leg of a semi-final, to decide which one of four UEFA teams goes to the 2003 World Cup Finals, to be held in China next September and October.
The two teams had met just 4 times before, with history and the rankings suggesting an England victory. But the last time was in 1994, and with improving standards on both sides these two matches were always likely to be close.
In October 1994,
the first leg was also played in Reykjavik, and despite the very cold
conditions, with some players having breathing difficulties, England managed
to win 2-1, with the goals coming from Gillian Coultard and Kerry Davis.
Ironically both teams are missing important strikers, Kelly Smith and Rakel Ogmundsdottir (Karvelsson), both with ACL injuries and from the sameWUSA club Philadelphia Charge.
Iceland, who made it to this stage with two superb draws in Russia and Italy, and a 3-0 home win against Spain earlier this year, will also have four players whohave remained in their squad since the last match. Margret Olafsdottir should make her 50th appearance for her country, and captain Asthilder Helgadottir will achieve that goal if she plays in the home and away matches.
The second leg is due to be played on Sunday 22nd September at St. Andrews, the home of Birmingham City FC, ko 3pm
With away goals
counting double, in the event of a draw on aggregate, England need to
avoid defeat in the second leg next week-end, to reach the UEFA/WWC play-off
final against France.