Sven-Goran Eriksson came under criticism while in charge of the England national football team for making a farce out of friendlies by his frequent substitution practice and it was on this day in soccer history in 2003 that the manager made 10 changes and had 4 captains in England’s 2-1 win over Serbia & Montenegro.

West Ham’s Joe Cole fired in the game winner off a 20-yard free kick after Nenad Jestrovic cancelled out Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard’s opening goal.

But the story of the game was the number of substitutes that Sven used which made the second half a poorly played half with no player cohesion.

The scoresheet read: England: James, Mills (Carragher 61), Southgate (Terry 45), Upson (Barry 85), Ashley Cole (Bridge 46), Phil Neville (Beattie 88), Gerrard (Jenas 46), Lampard (Joe Cole 61), Scholes (Hargreaves 46), Owen (Rooney 45), Heskey (Vassell 61). Subs Not Used: Robinson, Walker.

“One of the reasons I took out Gareth Southgate, Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes and Michael Owen was I did not want them injured for next week.”

The captains for the match were Michael Owen, Emile Heskey, Phil Neville, and Jamie Carragher.

The rotation had the local press up in arms at Sven for showing no respect for the captain’s armband and had FIFA questioning whether such a large number of substitutes in a friendly was good for the game.

And also on this day in soccer history, Pele signed with the New York Cosmos in 1975.

Soccer Birthdays

1956 – George Burley, Scottish football player and manager
1977 – Cris, Brazilian footballer