Slovenia vs England – Defoe the poacher sends England through
England made it through to the last 16 with a vastly improved performance in a 1-0 win over Slovenia. They have moved to 9/1 to win the World Cup.
Jermain Defoe (33/1 tournament top scorer) put England in front midway through the first half and, a couple of last-ditch tackles aside, Fabio Capello’s side were untroubled by Slovenia, who go out after USA’s last-minute goal against Algeria.
Those results mean England finish second and now face a potentially tougher run in the knock-out stages, possibly starting with Germany in the next game, and Argentina in the quarter-finals.
After two under-par performances in their opening games, Capello will just be pleased that his side have made it through, and particularly that his changes made telling contributions against Matjaz Kek’s side.
James Milner whipped in a number of superb crosses and the one that picked out the diminutive Spurs striker was a peach. Defoe simply prodded it home on the volley – his first goal for England when starting with Wayne Rooney (33/1).
With the match drawing to a close Matthew Upson made a great tackle on a Slovenian player preparing to shoot and the West Ham defender should have done enough to keep his place ahead of Jamie Carragher for the next match.
The trademark nerviness kicked in around the 80-minute mark but prior to that England played with a pace that had been lacking in earlier games, with Rooney markedly more invigorated.
Steven Gerrard brought a good save from Samir Handanovic after a clever lay-off from the Manchester United man and Defoe should have added a second from a quickly-taken Rooney corner.
The goal that England’s star player so desperately craved almost came when put clean through. But his shot was tipped agonisingly onto the post by Handanovic.
Attention now switches to the evening’s matches with runners-up England playing the winners from Group D. If Germany beat Ghana that should mean the two old enemies face each other, but Serbia and the African side could also be England’s next opponents.
Will that win be the start of beautiful things to come? England are 9/1 to win the World Cup. See the full England Specials market.