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Sunday, September 02, 2001, updated at 13:23(GMT+8)

Awesome England Thrash Germany in World Cup Qualifier

Michael Owen blasted a stunning hat-trick as England came from behind to thrash Germany 5-1 in a World Cup qualifier in Munich on Saturday.

Sven Goran Eriksson's team are now on course to qualify for the World Cup Finals next year, following a result that will send shock waves through the international game.

Germany had only ever lost one World Cup qualifier at home in their history - but suddenly they were torn apart by an England team playing slick football with a clinical edge up front.

Owen will win the headlines, but there were heroes all over the pitch for England - with captain David Beckham and rejuvenated goalkeeper David Seaman being in particularly fine form.

A win against Albania next Wednesday would take them to the top of the group.

Such a prospect looked fanciful when Carsten Jancker fired the Germans in front within six minutes.

But England's young Lions roared back in menacing fashion to destroy Germany's proud record.

And the much-heralded German engine room was completely out- paced by Owen's go-faster stripes, as England moved into pole position in the race for World Cup qualification.

It looked bleak for the visitors when Germany took the lead, Rio Ferdinand and Sol Campbell allowing Carsten Jancker to steer home Oliver Neuville's header.

But if England's defenders looked nervous together, then Thomas Linke and Jens Nowotny seemed nothing short of being petrified.

German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn looked more flappable than anyone else on a night riddled with errors across the pitch.

After all the pre-match German criticism of Seaman and the claims heralding Kahn as the world's number one, the home side's keeper was left with egg on his face.

Only 12 minutes were on the clock when Kahn was caught horribly out of position from a teasing Beckham cross.

The German keeper flapped at thin air as Nick Barmby cleverly cushioned a header into the path of Owen, who coolly slotted into an unguarded net.

At the other end, though, Seaman was silencing his critics with a brilliant one-handed save to turn away Joerg Boehme's low shot and keep it at 1-1.

The home side were guilty of a glaring miss when Sebastian Deisler fluffed his shot when completely unmarked and that proved to be just the second warning that Eriksson's side needed.

England punished the astonishing miss deep into first-half injury time when Ferdinand headed down a Beckham cross for Steven Gerrard to unleash an unstoppable 25-yard drive beyond Kahn's despairing grasp.

The half-time boost lifted England's spirits, but few would have predicted a astonishing second-half blitz to follow.

Owen gave England a vital two-goal cushion when he neatly tucked a shot inside Kahn's near post after Heskey had superbly headed down another Beckham cross.

Owen was in deadly form and he did not have to wait long for his hat-trick.

Gerrard sent him scampering clear with a superb through ball and the striker ignored Heskey's call to blaze home a sensational shot into the top left-hand corner.

Heskey's moment did arrive, though, as the big striker put the seal on England's win 17 minutes from time.

Paul Scholes squared the ball into an empty German penalty area and Heskey held off Rehme's challenge to slot home and complete Liverpool's three-man contribution to the scoring.

In This Section

Michael Owen blasted a stunning hat-trick as England came from behind to thrash Germany 5-1 in a World Cup qualifier in Munich on Saturday.

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