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Serie A season preview: AS Roma

AS Roma 2 hours ago
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May 3, 2006

1982 - Early promise goes unrewarded

Following a tricky start the major turning point of England's 1982 World Cup qualifying campaign came in Budapest, when England beat Hungary 3-1 in a raucous Nep Stadium. In an outstanding team performance, Trevor Brooking shone brightest with a two-goal contribution.

But despite the impressive qualifying win Brooking and Kevin Keegan had to talk under fire manager Ron Greenwood out of retiring after the match, and he remained at the helm for the World Cup as England travelled to Bilbao, Spain, to face Group D rivals France, Czechoslovakia and Kuwait.

England had to progress from the group without twice European Footballer of the Year Keegan, who was sidelined with muscle spasms in his back. England could call on the likes of Ipswich's Paul Mariner and Trevor Francis - who became Britain's first £1m player when he joined Nottingham Forest - but for Keegan it was torture that, having achieved so much in the club game, he had never tasted a World Cup.

With Keegan sitting and watching, England got off to a great start at Espana 82 when Bryan Robson opened the scoring against France in the world record time of 27 seconds. Gerard Soler equalised, but there was no stopping a rampant England as Robson added a second and Mariner netted a late third to make it 3-1.

Next up came Czechoslovakia and, in the Estadio san Mames, England despatched the Eastern Europeans with a 62nd minute Francis strike and a Josef Barmos own goal. 2-0, and England seemed to be in top gear.

Greenwood's team won their final group game against Kuwait with a solitary strike from Francis to progress to the next stage with maximum points - a feat equalled only by Brazil.

However, with eight extra teams in the competition another league phase ensued, rather than a knockout section, and England were drawn in a group containing old rivals West Germany and hosts Spain.

The hugely-hyped crunch match with the Germans was watched by 75,000 fans in Madrid's Estadio Santiago Bernabeu but failed to live up to its billing. England played the better and created more chances in a tight match but were happy to leave with a 0-0 draw after Karl-Heinz Rummenigge hit the bar with a 25-yard strike minutes from the final whistle.

After a tremendous start, England's form began to falter and, against hosts Spain, they needed a 2-0 victory to progress to the next stage after West Germany had beaten the Spanish.

Greenwood's side dominated the match in the Bernabeu but couldn't score. And after 64 minutes, the manager was forced to throw on a half-fit Brooking and Keegan in the hope they could spark some life into the attack.

They could - but both were responsible for missing chances which, at full fitness, they would surely have put away. England were unbeaten but out of the tournament.

That, as they say, was that for Keegan. The football legend had played the last of his 63 games for England, and only one in a World Cup as a substitute.

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