Jumat, 18 Juni 2010

Group C: Entertaining draw, England disappoint

Group C looks wide open with chances for all sides.

(to be updated after the second game)

Slovenia 2-2 (2-0) USA
Goals: 1-0 Valter Birsa (13'), 2-0 Zlatan Ljubijankic (42'), 2-1 Landon Donovan (48'), 2-2 Michael Bradley (82').

Slovenia held the USA to an entertaining two-all draw at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. The first half belonged to the Slovenians, while the second session was most of the time USA.

Slovenia started off where they left off against Algeria and shocked the USA when a beautiful Valter Birsa left footer went into the USA goal with keeper Tim Howard not able to react. The team from the Balkans continued to control the match and doubled their lead in the 42nd minute when Milivoje Novakovic found his strike partner Zlatan Ljubijankic, who placed the ball past Tim Howard. It looked like the Slovenians were on their way to the knockout stages. After going two goals down the Americans finally woke-up and started to pressure the Slovenian goal before the break, but they didn't get the desired result.

After the breather the USA continued to push forward and Landon Donovan reduced the deficit in the 48th minute when he got past Bostjan Cesar and hammered the ball past keeper Samir Handanovic into the Slovenian goal in the 48th minute. Thereafter it was end to end football as the USA were looking for the equaliser, while Slovenia were looking to seal the match. The USA increased the pressure towards the end of the game and get a deserving equaliser in the 82nd minute when Michael Bradley scored past Handanovic off a Josie Altidore pass. And then came the climax in the 85th minute. The USA score a goal through Maurice Edu, but referee Koman Coulibaly from Mali calls a foul on a Slovenian defender. But there wasn't any foul anywhere near the ball, the USA are denied a genuine comeback win. On The other side Slovenia have two late chances through Novakovic and Radosavljevic, but it remains two-all.

England 0-0 Algeria
Goals: none.

England were held to a goalless draw by a fighting Algeria at the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town. The big topic before this game where the goalkeepers as both the English and Algerian keepers had gifted goals to opponents due to blunders. And both coaches decided to change their keepers, which we now know was a wise decision.

England were nowhere their best in the first half against Algeria. And the North African surprised the English with their free flowing and attacking game. Algeria weren't as defensive and scarred as they looked the other day against Slovenia. And England seemed to have no real self-belief in their capabilities.

Algeria were the better side for the first half hour, but they didn't really threaten the England goal, while the Three Lions had their first real chance in the 30th minute through a Steven Gerrard shot which the Algerian keeper Rais MBohli cleared like a chance from Frank Lampard a few minutes later.

Things didn't change after the break as Algeria kept on fighting and clearing often before England could get a chance goalwards, while England often continued to lose the ball in their build-ups. Surprisingly Wayne Rooney was the biggest culprit often giving the ball away against Algerians who were alert in their defensive game. But after the 70th minute England had more of the game as Algeria seemed to be tiring still they didn't create chances which could have won them the match.

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