Wednesday, June 23, 2010

England wins tense match to qualify

Group C, 14:00 GMT, June 23, 2010
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

0 - 1

Fabio Capello's decision to drop Emile Heskey and start Jermain Defoe paid off against Slovenia as the striker volleyed home to seal England's progress with a 1-0 win in Port Elizabeth.

Landon Donovan's injury-time effort in Pretoria meant the outcome was not exactly what England wanted in Group C, as it means they finish second and leaves them in the same quarter of the draw as Diego Maradona's dangerous Argentinians. But the main thing is they are still there.

Scoring Summary

 Jermain Defoe (23')

Man of the Match: James Milner


  • Man of the Match: James Milner - Made a shaky start but quickly recovered to provide an invaluable outlet on the right for England. His cross led to Jermain Defoe's goal and he combined well on the flank with Glen Johnson, both in attack and defence. A tireless performance. Honourable mentions must also go to John Terry and Steven Gerrard.

  • Slovenia verdict: Posed a threat from set pieces and kept England goalkeeper David James on his toes with some long-range strikes. Played a counter-attacking game and fought until the end to contribute to a nerve-jangling finale.

  • England verdict: After an understandably nervous start England got into the groove and rediscovered the form of old. For a 20-minute spell after half-time they looked like genuine world beaters and should have added to their goal tally - Wayne Rooney hit the post and Slovenia goalkeeper Samir Handanovic made string of good saves.

  • Could do better: Matthew Upson - Looked a little lumbering in defence and didn't catch the eye until a last-ditch tackle denied Slovenia an almost certain equaliser late on. Before that, he was a spectator to Terry's combative heroics.

  • Stat attack: Jermain Defoe's last goal for England was also against Slovenia on September 5, 2009.

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