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SOCCER / WORLD CUP QUALIFYING : England Shuts Out Poland to End Its Winless Streak

September 09, 1993|From Staff and Wire Reports

England moved a step closer to regaining its soccer respectability with a 3-0 victory Wednesday over Poland in a key World Cup qualifying game at London's Wembley Stadium.

Les Ferdinand put England ahead after five minutes. Midfielder Paul Gascoigne and team captain Stuart Pearce scored four minutes apart early in the second half.

England ended Poland's unbeaten streak and its own run of six winless games.

The victory, before 70,000, also might have saved Graham Taylor's job. The fourth-year coach has been under fire for his team's poor performances, including a demoralizing 2-0 loss to the United States in the U.S. Cup in June.

Another defeat would have put intense pressure on him. But now, England has hopes of playing in next summer's World Cup in the United States.

"Psychologically we have taken a step forward," Taylor said. "But there's no time to rest on this result. We have got to get another one when we play against Holland in the next game."

England, with 11 points in eight games, trails Group 2 leader Norway by a point, although the Norwegians have played only seven games. England leads the Netherlands by two points and Poland by three, but both teams also have more matches left.

A yellow card in Wednesday's game will cost England the services of Gascoigne--its inspirational, but erratic, star, for the Oct. 13 game against the Netherlands in Rotterdam.

Other qualifying

Ireland is close to qualifying after a 2-0 victory over Lithuania. Switzerland, with a tie, and France, with a victory, also moved closer to berths on one of the busiest nights on the World Cup calendar.

At Dublin, the Irish moved within a victory of a berth with goals by John Aldridge and Alan Kernaghan. The unbeaten Irish lead Group 3 by one point with two games remaining. Lithuania, missing several players who were not released by their clubs, ended its campaign with two victories in 12 games.

At Aberdeen, Scotland, the Swiss scored a second-half goal on a penalty kick by Georges Bregy to gain a 1-1 draw with Scotland and remain unbeaten in Group 1.

Scotland's goal was scored by John Collins, shortly after the start of the second half. The first-place Swiss lead Portugal and Italy by three points, Scotland is fourth.

At Tampere, Finland, France overcame the distractions of the Marseille bribery scandal and beat Finland, 2-0, moving into first place in Group 6.

Wales and the Czech Republic each needed to win their Group 4 game but came away with a 2-2 tie at Cardiff, Wales. Each team has 10 points, one behind Romania and four behind Belgium.

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