Port Elizabeth: England beat Slovenia 1-0 to advance to the last 16 of the World Cup as Group C finally shaped up for Capello’s men at the end of the first round.
England cut through the Slovenian defence at will in the early stages of the second half. Rooney and Gerrard combined again but Rooney was unable to find room to shoot. Frustration built up for the England star and he was finally taken off the field by Capello in the 72nd minute.
Joe Cole came in as Rooney’s substitute and it was fair to say that England lost their spunk in the field after his departure.
It was Jermain Defoe who stepped-up for England in the 23rd minute, hitting his first World Cup goal. It was the result of a superb swinging cross from James Milner that found Defoe, and the Tottenham man made no mistake from 5 yards out.
England and Slovenia were off to a nervous start but Capello’s men made inroads early on in the Slovenia half. The England outfit were truly fighting for survival, trying to dominate from the word go.
Their first chance to score came in the 10th minute as England broke forward with Rooney but his cross for Gerrard got a touch off a Slovenian defender and out for a corner which came to nothing.
England: 1-David James; 2-Glen Johnson, 15-Matthew Upson, 6-John Terry, 3-Ashley Cole; 16-James Milner, 4-Steven Gerrard, 8-Frank Lampard, 14-Gareth Barry; 19-Jermain Defoe, 10-Wayne Rooney. Subs: 12 Green, 23 Hart, 05 Dawson, 13 Warnock, 07 Lennon, 11 J Cole, 17 Wright-Phillips, 22 Carrick, 09 Crouch, 21 Heskey
Slovenia: 1-Samir Handanovic; 2-Miso Brecko, 4-Marko Suler, 5-Bostjan Cesar, 13-Bojan Jokic; 10-Valter Birsa, 8-Robert Koren, 18-Aleksandar Radosavljevic, 17-Andraz Kirm; 9-Zlatan Ljubijankic, 11-Milivoje Novakovic. Subs: 12 J Handanovic, 16 Seliga, 03 Dzinic, 06, Ilic, 19 Filekovic, 22 Mavric, 07 Pecnik, 15 Khrin, 20 Komac, 21 Stevanovic, 14 Dedic, 23 Matavz