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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

England Beats U.S., Europe War Begins

WEMBLEY, England -- The United States came to Wembley Stadium looking for respect, but that was not enough against an England team looking for revenge.


Fifteen months after a humiliating loss to the Americans, order was restored Wednesday night as England beat the U.S. team 2-0 in an exhibition game.


"This was a little bit of a payback for the previous result," said England's Barry Venison.


Alan Shearer scored two first-half goals for England, which outshot the Americans 18-3. England controlled the play throughout, setting up numerous scoring chances for Shearer, David Platt and Teddy Sherringham.


It was the first appearance by a U.S. soccer team at Wembley, the temple of English soccer. It was also the Americans' first game since this summer's World Cup in the United States, where they reached the second round before losing to eventual champion Brazil. They used eight starters from the World Cup team.


England was eager to erase the memories of its 2-0 defeat to the United States in Foxboro, Massachusetts, on June 9, 1993, regarded as one of the most embarrassing defeats in English soccer history.


Shearer, who plays for Blackburn Rovers in England's Premier League, scored in the 33rd and 40th minutes and came close on several other opportunities. He repeatedly victimized defender Alexi Lalas, the hero of the U.S. World Cup team.


The victory extended England's unbeaten streak to four games under new coach Terry Venables.


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Around Europe, some of the most illustrious soccer nations stumbled out of the gate Wednesday as qualifying play began in earnest for the 1996 European Championship in England.


Italy, which lost to Brazil in the 1994 World Cup final, was lucky to escape with a 1-1 tie against Slovenia in Maribor. Denmark, the defending European champion, was equally fortunate to earn a 1-1 tie with Macedonia in Skopje, where Flemming Povlsen's goal three minutes from the end spared the Danes' blushes.


In Bratislava, meanwhile, Slovakia held France, the 1998 World Cup host, to a scoreless tie, while Sweden, which finished third in World Cup '94, managed only a 1-0 victory over Iceland in Reykjavik.


For the next 15 months, more than 270 qualifying games will be played involving 47 European nations and Israel. The countries were divided into eight groups in January.


England, as the host nation for the 10th European Championship, qualifies automatically. There are 15 other places to be won in the 16-team tournament to be played June 8-30, 1996, in eight English cities.


The breakup of the former Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia has turned Europe into a continent of 50 nations, and all but two -- Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovena -- are in the tournament.


Wednesday's surprise results, combined with Israel's earlier 2-1 upset of Poland and Croatia's defeat of Estonia by the same score, underline the tight nature of the competition.


The Dutch got off to a promising start, however, when they beat Luxembourg, 4-0. Similarly, Portugal began its campaign on a winning note by scoring a 2-1 victory over Northern Ireland in Belfast.


Ireland looked convincing in a 3-0 victory over Latvia in Riga, but Spain struggled to defeat Cyprus, 2-1, in Limassol, and Belgium made hard work of a 2-0 victory over Armenia in Brussels. In Cardiff, Wales managed to beat Albania, 2-0. Norway had to wait 88 minutes before it scored in a 1-0 victory over Belarus.


Elsewhere, Hungary and Turkey tied in Budapest, 2-2; Greece overwhelmed the Faroe Islands in Toftir, 5-1; Scotland defeated Finland in Helsinki, 2-0; Lithuania upset Ukraine by the same score in Kiev; Romania shut out Azerbaijan in Bucharest, 3-0; Austria routed Liechtenstein in Eschen, 4-0, and Moldova beat Georgia in Tblisi, 1-0.


(LAT, AP)