England 1-0 Slovenia
England qualified for the last 16 of the World Cup as Group C runners-up, which means a meeting with Group D winners Germany in Bloemfontein on Sunday.
Fabio Capello’s men gave their best display of the tournament to date and should have won by more than just Jermaine Defoe’s close range strike midway through the opening period.
Defoe met James Milner’s fine cross from the right at the near-post and forced the ball over the line with his shin.
But Slovenia keeper Sami Handanovic had a remarkable game. He made a terrific double save from Defoe and captain Steven Gerrard before half-time,
And he saved a John Terry header after the break before capping his performance with a stunning piece of goalkeeping to deflect a goalbound Wayne Rooney shot onto the post.
Frank Lampard and Defoe also squandered presentable chances as England dominated until the closing stages. And if any one of the above had been converted, England would have won the group and would face Ghana in the second round.
Fortunately, the Slovenes rarely threatened to make them pay for their profligacy. But they applied some pressure late on as England became more disjointed after Capello took off first Rooney, who looked a little troubled with an ankle knock, and Defoe.
Solid defending by Glen Johnson and Terry repelled one attack. And stand-in Matthew Upson justified his selection with a superb late block to deny Tim Matavz in the act of shooting, and keep England in the World Cup.
Tags: England, World Cup, Fabio Capello, Jermaine Defoe, James Milner, Slovenia, John Terry, Matthew Upson