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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

2-Goal Shearer Leads England Past Poles

LONDON -- Alan Shearer scored twice in the first half as England recovered its composure to beat Poland 2-1 in their Group 2 World Cup qualifier at Wembley.


The visitors took the lead through Marek Citko after just six minutes Wednesday.


A cross from the right fooled both Gareth Southgate and Gary Neville, and Citko pulled the ball down and slotted a low shot under England 'keeper David Seaman.


But Shearer equalized 18 minutes later, escaping his marker and heading home a deep right flank cross from David Beckham, making his Wembley debut for his country.


England finally began to settle, and its second goal justified coach Glenn Hoddle's decision to play striker Les Ferdinand alongside Newcastle teammate Shearer.


The two players exchanged passes on the edge of the box. Shearer's first shot was deflected to Ferdinand, who scrambled the ball clear of the defense for Shearer to blast his second attempt past Porto goalkeeper Andrzej Wozniak.


Poland defied pre-match expectations and made England work for its three points, with captain Piotr Nowak playing an outstanding match.


The second half was just as evenly balanced, and the Poles often looked capable of drawing level in a fluctuating game assisted by sensitive refereeing from German Hellmut Krug.


Shearer, who has now scored seven goals in his last six England appearances, came close to a hat trick from a long-range freekick.


The Poles pushed hard in the final 15 minutes, but Shearer proved the difference in the end.


Italy 1, Georgia 0. Striker Fabrizio Ravanelli delighted his home town and rescued Italy with the goal that gave his country a hard-fought 1-0 win over Georgia in Perugia.


Beleaguered Italian coach Arrigo Sacchi, his job under pressure as never before after a disappointing 3-1 win against lowly Moldova last week, could draw little succor from a result that left a huge question mark over his future.


The locals, for whom the silver-haired Ravanelli has remained a favorite ever since he helped Perugia win promotion to the Italian third division in 1988, were delighted when the Middlesbrough player headed home in the 42nd minute.


Ravanelli crashed in a header after first-half substitute Gianfranco Zola crossed into the goalmouth.


As the second half wore on, with Italy enjoying the most possession but only rarely threatening, Sacchi appeared increasingly nervous as the fans began to whistle their disapproval.


Georgia, a talented but underrated team, had its chances and was perhaps unlucky not to equalize.


Germany 5, Armenia 1. European champion Germany had little trouble brushing aside Armenia 5-1 in the opening game of its World Cup campaign, despite missing seven key players.


Thomas Haessler scored from free kicks in the 20th and 39th minutes, and Juergen Klinsmann, scored from a header in the 26th minute.


With the Germans controlling the game at will, Fredi Bobic scored in the 69th minute, within five minutes of replacing Oliver Bierhoff, and Stefan Kuntz made it five with a free header from the six-yard box in the 80th minute.


With the Germans visibly easing up, striker Karapet Mikhaelyan stole in five minutes from time to chip the ball over goalkeeper Andreas Koepke and give the Armenians a consolation goal to delight the home crowd of 50,000.


There was an unusual twist after the break when Sarkis Hovanesyan was substituted by the nephew of Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosyan. The match in Yerevan had nearly been postponed two weeks ago due to civil unrest following Ter-Petrosyan's re-election.


(For other results, see Scorecard.)