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England beats Switzerland behind youngster’s goals

SHARE England beats Switzerland behind youngster’s goals

COIMBRA, Portugal — Wayne Rooney became the youngest goal-scorer in European Championship history Thursday, scoring twice in a 3-0 victory over Switzerland that helped England recover from its jolting opening loss.

The 18-year-old striker headed in a cross from Michael Owen in the 23rd minute after England was outplayed early on. He added a second goal with 15 minutes left. The ball struck the post so hard that it hit goalkeeper Joerg Stiel in the back before going into the net.

"Two beautiful goals, both of them," England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said. "Fantastic."

Steven Gerrard completed the scoring in the 82nd minute in a game played in 86-degree heat.

In other Group B game, France tied Croatia 2-2 in Leiria and is tied for first in the group with four points. England has three points, Croatia two and Switzerland one.

The performance by England was critical after a 2-1 defeat to France on Sunday in which both French goals came during second-half injury time. England needed to win to contend for a spot in the quarterfinals.

Rooney is almost a year younger than the previous record-holder — Dragan Stojkovic of Yugoslavia in 1984.

"He showed a lot of maturity as he was getting kicked from behind in the first half," England captain David Beckham said. "A few players said to him, 'Show your maturity by scoring goals.' "

Switzerland almost evened the score in the final minute of the first half when Hakan Yakin curled a 19-yard free kick just wide of the far post.

The Swiss were reduced to 10 men when Bernd Haas, who plays in England, was ejected in the 60th minute for his second yellow card.

"Second game, second red card for us," said Swiss coach Jakob Kuhn, whose team tied Croatia 0-0 in its opener. "It was tough."

In the France-Croatia game, France's David Trezeguet capitalized on an error by goalkeeper Tomislav Butina and scored in the 64th minute. Butina charged to the edge of the box, but his clearance struck Trezeguet, who scored into an empty net.

France led 1-0 at halftime on Igor Tudor's own-goal before the Croats scored twice in four minutes early in the second half to lead 2-1.

Croatia's Milan Rapaic made a penalty kick in the 48th minute. Then Dado Prso beat Mikael Silvestre in the penalty area, shifted the ball to his left foot and shot around Marcel Desailly.

OTHER NEWS: Star Italian playmaker Francesco Totti received a three-game suspension for spitting at a Danish opponent in the team's Euro 2004 opener.

Two English fans were detained by police Thursday in a town where almost 50 people were arrested after clashes with anti-riot units earlier in the week.