NUREMBERG, June 15: England stuttered into the second round of the World Cup here Thursday after late goals from Peter Crouch and Steven Gerrard handed them a flattering 2-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago.
Crouch, who had missed a series of chances throughout the match, finally made amends seven minutes from time when he outjumped defender Brent Sancho to nod home a pinpoint cross from David Beckham.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard rifled in a thunderous shot from the edge of the area in the first minute of injury time to make sure of the points for England at Nuremberg's Frankenstadion.
England captain David Beckham said he had never been concerned, even though he ended up in the unaccustomed position of right back after Sven-Goran Eriksson sent on Wayne Rooney and Aaron Lennon during the second-half.
"I wasn't anxious because we never give up. That's the message we gave out with this result," said the Real Madrid star.
"We knew it would be tough, but we never expected to walk it. We knew they would put 11 men behind ball and they made it hard.
"They kept to their game plan and we found it hard to break them down. The good thing is we finished strongly.
"There is a slight tension when you are expected to win, but we stuck at our task and worked hard. The plus of the game is we got the goal we needed."
Scorecard | Match in pics
Beckham praised Eriksson for his double substitution which added a greater sense of urgency to England's play.
"I wasn't surprised to see Wayne (Rooney) come on. He is ready now and needs to get games. The manager made two good substitions. They were very postive.
"You've not seen the best of us yet but we've hopefully put ourselves in a good position. There is better to come and we just have to show that."
The victory guaranteed England a top-two finish in Group B but was desperately cruel on Trinidad and Tobago, who looked to be heading for a draw after keeping their superstar opponents at bay with a gutsy performance.
England will now play either Germany or Ecuador in the last 16.
Eriksson had thrown on a fit again Rooney in a desperate last-ditch gamble as England struggled to fire for the second game in succession.
But even Rooney's presence looked as if it wasn't going to stop Trinidad's 'Soca Warriors' from earning their second World Cup point following their shock 0-0 draw against Sweden last Saturday.
The smallest nation ever to take part in a World Cup, Trinidad and Tobago's squad is made up of professionals who play mostly in the lower reaches of British football.
But the motley crew from clubs such as Wrexham, Gillingham, Port Vale and Falkirk refused to be intimidated by England's galaxy of stars, who dominated throughout only for wayward finishing to let them down.
With their forwards misfiring throughout the first half, it was not long before England's supporters began chanting the name of Rooney, and the Manchester United star's name began to be heard as early as the 29th minute.
The longer the half went on, the more jittery England appeared to become and they reached the end of the opening 45 minutes grateful not to be a goal down after Trinidad twice went close to scoring.
Their best chance came on the stroke of half-time when England needed a goal-line clearance from John Terry to rescue them after Stern John had tried to bundle in a looping effort from Carlos Edwards.
John had sent English hearts fluttering in the 37th minute, when Dwight Yorke's corner from the left eluded everyone
only to be headed wide by the Coventry striker at the far post.
The near-miss appeared to serve as a wake-up call for England who promptly had the Trinidad defence back under pressure, only for a lack of composure to deny them a goal.
Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard missed the first chance, sending a close-range shot sailing over the bar on 41 minutes after a clever knock-back from Michael Owen.
But the biggest culprit was Crouch. A swift breakout from defence saw the ball transferred to Beckham, who picked out an unmarked Crouch in acres of space in the middle of the area.
The 6ft 7in striker was unable to provide the finish that Beckham's superb cross deserved however, slicing a first time volley embarrassingly wide of goal to groans from England's fans.
That was the cue for more chants of 'Rooney, Rooney' and after John's near-miss in stoppage time, England's players trudged in at half-time to the sounds of boos from sections of their fans.