England through, but dramatic US win sends them on top (Second Lead)June 24th, 2010 - 12:03 am ICT by IANS
Port Elizabeth, June 23 (DPA) England finally found their form at the Port Elizabeth stadium Wednesday and reached the last-16 of the football World Cup with a 1-0 over Slovenia.
But they have to content themselves with second place after an injury-time goal from Landon Donovan gave the United States a 1-0 win over Algeria and top spot in Group C.
As the Fabio Capello counter-revolution gathered pace in Port Elizabeth, England could have won far more comfortably.
Here, at last, after two disappointing draws, the England of the qualifiers was in evidence, vindicating the manager.
“Their minds were free,” he said. “They played without fear, without anything. So we go forward.
“I wanted to see this team, their spirit, see them fight together. I am very, very happy,” said Capello.
Having effectively stifled the dissent at which John Terry had hinted Sunday, Capello also ignored the Chelsea captain’s pleas to select Joe Cole, and then saw two of the players he had brought into the side combine to set up the only goal after 23 minutes.
Gareth Barry released Milner, preferred to Aaron Lennon on the right, and the Aston Villa midfielder sent in a perfect cross for Defoe, in for Emile Heskey, to volley through Samir Handanovic’s hands.
The change in England was remarkable, and suddenly their passing became crisper as the psychological shackles were released. Milner, in particular, prospered on the right, providing a quality of delivery England had been lacking.
Lampard fired over an open goal after Handanovic had punched out another Milner cross, and then Defoe and Steven Gerrard in quick succession drew smart saves from the Udinese goalkeeper.
The chances continued to rack up at the beginning of the second half. Defoe hooked a Barry header just wide, Handanovic reacted superbly to parry a Terry header, and then got fingertips to a Rooney shot to turn it against the post.
While the lead remained one, England remained nervous, and it took blocks from Terry and Glen Johnson to deny Mile Novakovic and Zlatko Dedic after the latter had flicked on a cross from Andraz Kirm.
For all their late twitchiness, though, England were never really threatened.
But in scenes of intense late drama in Pretoria, the US took leadership of the group, as Donovan pounced after Algeria goalkeeper Rais M’Bohli had palmed out Jozy Altidore’s cross.
It was the simplest of finishes, but it meant the difference between going through as group leaders and being eliminated.
The US began nervously, slips from Jay DeMerit and then Steve Cherundolo giving Rafik Djebbour two chances in the opening 10 minutes.
The Algeria striker thumped the first against the bar, and dragged the second into the side-netting.
Neither side really settled in a bitty first half, but the US, mysteriously denied a winner in the final minute against Slovenia, again suffered a wrongly-disallowed goal.
After Donovan’s shot had been blocked, he seemed to have recovered well to cross for Clint Dempsey to score, but the Fulham forward’s strike was incorrectly ruled out for offside.
Dempsey then hit the post and contrived to slice the rebound well wide, but just as it seemed the US would be left to rail against the match officials, Donovan brought catharsis.
- Defoe gives England win over Slovenia to send them through (Lead) - Jun 23, 2010
- Donovan's last gasp goal beats Algeria as US win group (Lead) - Jun 23, 2010
- US, England qualify for last 16 - Jun 23, 2010
- England look to Barry for inspiration against Algeria - Jun 17, 2010
- Goalkeeping blunder costs England victory over US (Lead) - Jun 13, 2010
- Slovenia beat 10-mn Algeria to top Group C (Lead) - Jun 13, 2010
- Algeria hold England to 0-0 draw (Lead) - Jun 19, 2010
- US draw 2-2 with Slovenia, keep qualfication hopes alive (Lead) - Jun 18, 2010
- Euro 2012: England win over Ukraine - Jun 20, 2012
- England need victory in tense Group C - Jun 22, 2010
- England's Lions seek to devour past demons against Germany - Jun 26, 2010
- Carroll may start against France in Euro 2012 - May 30, 2012
- England announce 23-man squad for Euro Championship - May 16, 2012
- Capello leaves out Rio, Crouch from England squad - Aug 29, 2011
- Rooney kept out of England squad for Spain, Sweden friendlies - Nov 07, 2011
Tags: aaron lennon, aston villa, defoe, dissent, emile heskey, fabio capello, fingertips, football world cup, injury time goal, joe cole, john terry, landon donovan, open goal, port elizabeth, rooney, samir handanovic, shackles, steven gerrard, udinese, volley