England survives group by edging Slovenia 1-0

09:18, June 24, 2010      

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Steven Gerrard (R) of England breaks through during the 2010 World Cup Group C soccer match against Slovenia at Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, June 23, 2010. (Xinhua/Xing Guangli)

World Cup favorites England advanced to Round of 16 by edging Slovenia 1-0 in their last Group C match on Wednesday.

As the United States stunned Algeria 1-0 with an injury time goal, England had to stand in the second position. Both England and the United States grabbed five points from three matches but the latter boasts more goals. Slovenia were eliminated with four points, and Algeria got only one.

It was Tottenham forward Jermain Defoe who scored the winner for England. He tucked in on Aston Villa midfielder James Milner's brilliant cross in the 23rd minute. That was Milner's first real ball of quality and Defoe's first sniff of the match.

Four minutes lafer, another brilliant ball in from Milner forced Slovenian keeper Samir Handanovic to parry and as it broke to Barry, he blazed over.

England's star playmaker Steven Gerrard almost made it 2-0 on 30 minutes when Defoe whacked one on goal and Handanovic parried, then Manchester United striker Rooney fed Gerrard who tried for the far corner but Handanovic saved again. It looked like the ball maight squirm over the line before he was up to punce.

England had walked out of the shadow of the previous two group matches and improved greatly. Defoe and Milner played a key part in today's game. Milner's delivery was excellent and Defoe looked very sharp.

In the 58th minute, Chelsea defender John Terry made Handanovic come too far for the corner but he couldn't finish it, and then Rooney was clean through from Chelsea midfielder Frank Lamaprd's ball but hit the post.

Slovenia's best chance came in the 69th minute when they broke into the box and created three chances to score, but first Terry, then Liverpool defender Glen Johnson made vital blocks before Slovenian midfielder Valter Birsa smashed wide.

Before the game, Slovenia were topping the group with four points, followed by the United States and England, both two points, and Algeria, one point.

Source:Xinhua

Special Report: World Cup 2010

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(Editor:梁军)

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