Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Slovenia 0 England 1
Oh good Christ, they do like to make us suffer, our brave England boys.
Fresh off the press, England have just beaten Slovenia 1-0, although we should have got even more, their keeper Handanovic is a legend and kept out plenty of our sterling efforts. England played so much better than the two previous games, great passing, dominant play, nerves towards the end took the shine off but we played very well indeed, especially in comparison to the two previous matches.
All that matters is that England are through to the second round, who we will face we do not know yet, hopefully we will avoid my bredren Germans but for now, we can rejoice that England have not been kicked out and that our World Cup dream goes on.
James was, once again, awesome in goal; never had much to do but so solid, great handling and dealt well with an awful pitch. I have confidence that he will serve us well for the rest of the competition.
Our defence was epic, as it has been for the entire tournament, it is hard to beat, the only goal conceded so far has been an error. Cole was once again outstanding in defence and attack and Johnno on the right looked secure. Terry was an English lion, at one point throwing himself head first at a shot and Upson, in for Carragher, pulled off some great tackles.
Lampard and Gerrard, our two finest midfielders in the last 20 years, were far better, Gerrard especially, threading passes left, right and centre and driving hard whilst Lampard, still off for me, contributed far more. Milner was a revelation on the right, great in the tackle, can beat a man and can pass beautifully, my man of the match. Barry was strong, a few loose passes but overall a solid performance.
Rooney was better but still under par, he is getting there so let's hope his ankle holds up. His partner in goals was Defoe, of whom I am not a fan but although he touched the ball about twice, one of those was a goal and the second should have been.
I'll leave the final word to Fabio Capello:
"This is what I wanted to see - the spirit, see them fight together. I am really, really happy. I rediscovered the team I knew from qualification."