World Cup Soccer 2010 – England vs. Slovenia: Road to Final 16

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World Cup Soccer 2010 – England vs. Slovenia: Road to Final 16

England started off South Africa 2010 with the game against USA in Group F’s opener. They took off to a very good start when their stand in skipper for this tournament Steven Gerrard scored from a through ball in only the fourth minute. The major highlight of the match came later in the first half when English goalkeeper Robert Green made an infamous blunder – allowing the ball through his arms and into the goal mouth. It was a mere speculative shot from outside the penalty box by Clint Dempsey which allowed USA to claw back into the match.


Algeria was defeated by a goal from Slovenian skipper Robert Koren in their opening match. Algeria was making their third appearance at FIFA World Cups after their golden period in the first two editions which saw them win two soccer World Cups. On the other hand, England initially failed to promise their fans a World Cup victory.


Millions of English fans back home who watch their players week-in-week-out in arguably the most competitive English Premier League were hopeful that their super stars will prove their title winning credentials against the much lower ranked Algerian side and prove that their poor show against the USA was a mere blip. Algeria, on the other hand, is just happy to be a part of a World Cup and have nothing to lose. They would be playing to keep their heads high after the match and make it tight at the back to make themselves less vulnerable to any English threats. England was clear favourites to come out victorious from this first ever meeting between the English and the Algerian national teams in international football.


England made a change in the goal, replacing Robert Green with David James. But the change brought no change, at least in terms of performance from their last match against the USA. They were frustratingly out of sorts and failed to create a single clear chance to score a goal. The best effort of the match came from the Algerian side when Karim Ziani had a long range shy on goal.


Steven Gerrard had started the match on the left wing after Gareth Barry was passed fit to play. But it is no secret that Gerrard’s best place is right in the heart of action, behind the strikers. England’s problems of having two world-class midfielders in the shape of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard seemed to be haunting them once again and it would continue do so until they switched to a 4-5-1 formation. Wayne Rooney has been another big disappointment.  The English supporters were counting on him to win them the World Cup but the striker has been miserably out of form and nowhere near to his usual best.


Although Algeria wasn’t very adventurous going forward but their major aim in this match was to get a clean sheet. They have made themselves and their fans back home proud in keeping the English world class players frustrated for the whole match, and also the football-inventing English nation.


England will face Slovenia in their last group match which they need to win in any case to keep their title hopes alive. A very high scoring draw will also do for England but only if America and Algeria share points in their last group match. Slovenia only needs a draw from this match for progressing through this group and a possible top spot in the group table. This situation for Slovenia will make things even more difficult for England who has struggled to find rhythm and understanding in their attacking movement. Although Slovenia conceded two goals against USA in counter attacks but they have shown discipline in their defensive side of the game and will make it really hard for England to break them down. Algeria, on the other hand, face a must win situation in their last group match against the USA to extend their stay in the 2010 World Cup till the Round of 16 stage at least.


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