Thursday, March 28, 2013

28 March 2001 - The Magnificent Manchester Seven

On 28 March 2001, England beat Albania in a World Cup qualifier with almost half their team coming from one club--Manchester United.

It was only the fourth qualifier for the two teams, who were both off to a difficult start. England had four points with a win, loss, and draw, while Albania were one point back after two losses and a win. They met at the Qemal Stafa Stadium in the Albanian capital of Tirana where England fielded their Manchester-based squad.

Five members of the starting eleven--Gary Neville, Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Andy Cole--were from Manchester United, the defending Premier League champions. Additionally, Red Devils Wes Brown and Teddy Sheringham entered as second-half substitutes, taking the club's total to seven. That matched the previous record for any one club, set by Arsenal in a November 1934 friendly against Italy (though all seven Gunners started that match).

The line-up worked against Albania, with both Scholes (86') and Cole (95') scoring in England's 1-3 win (their other goal came from Liverpool's Michael Owen in the 74th minute, while Altin Rraklli scored for Albania in the 93rd minute).



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