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England, Sweden Advance in World Cup


In World Cup play in Japan, England and Nigeria played to a scoreless draw, while Sweden drew with Argentina 1-1 to eliminate the South Americans. Surprising Swedes won Group F on goal difference with five points, while England also advanced to the round of 16.

There was no scoring in Osaka, as England tried to advance from the so-called "Group of Death," while already-eliminated Nigeria was playing for pride. Both goalkeepers made nice saves to keep the score sheet empty, but each team seemed content to play for a draw, and the match ended nil-nil.

England coach Sven Goran Eriksson was happy to advance.

"That was our first target out here. Now we did it, and now I think we have to play Saturday, and we will see," he said. "That was very difficult and we did not score today, but let us hope we saved that for Saturday."

England takes on Denmark Saturday in Niigata.

In Miyagi, Sweden escaped unscathed, despite being completely dominated in the first half. The Argentines had at least a half dozen scoring chances, but misfired each time. But it was the Swedes who drew first blood, as Anders Svensson curled a free kick into the corner of net in the 59th minute, for the 1-0 lead.

As time wound down, Argentina's all-out attack finally paid off, when Swedish keeper Magnus Hedman stopped Ariel Ortega's free kick, but Hernan Crespo knocked in the rebound for the 1-1 draw. One point was not enough to send Argentina through, and another of the pre-Cup favorites is heading for home. Swedish coach Lars Lagerback says Argentina has one of the best teams in the world.

"We knew that we had to defend very well and I think after our goal, they put us long, long back in defense. So we were a little bit lucky today, but that is football," he said.

Sweden faces Senegal Sunday in Oita. On Thursday group play continues in Japan, as Mexico challenges Italy in Oita and Ecuador faces Croatia in Yokohama.

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