2010 FIFA World Cup: England VS. Slovenia
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2010 FIFA World Cup: England VS. Slovenia

The 2010 FIFA World Cup\'s well-played match ended in a 1:0 win for England against Slovenia. England played much better than in its previous games against the USA and Algeria, and won a place into the next round of the World Cup.

As the much-contested group matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup began to come to an end on thousands of television and laptop screens across the world, the ever present pressure on the teams and fans only increased by match and by day.  For many of the original 32 qualifying national football (soccer) teams it was the last chance to advance into the next World Cup round (Round of 16). This was no different for the fourth match of FIFA’s Group C, as England played Slovenia on June 23, 2010 at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

The match was of considerable importance as it was England's last chance to gain enough points to advance into the next round of the World Cup, following England's mediocre performances against the USA and against Algeria.  For Slovenia, it was a test to see if it would remain the leader of Group C.  As such, there was as much hype built up for the game as during the previous matches involving the respective teams.  England had faced Slovenia in an International Friendly in September of 2009, with a 2:1 win.  England has had a much better "track record", having played 55 games, of which it won 25, tied 17, and lost 13. Slovenia can only attest to having played 36 games, of which it won 14, tied 7, and lost 15.

England’s best performance was in 1966, when Geoff Hurst scored 3 goals in the last four minutes against West Germany, leaving the score 4:2 and England the winners of the World Cup. England’s worst performance was in 1950, when it lost 1:0 to the USA.

Slovenia's best performance was in 1974, when Slovenia player Branko Oblak scored the seventh goal in a 9:0 win over Zaire.  Slovenia's worst performance was in 2002, when it failed to pick up any points in the tournament.

England was favoured to win the match beforehand based on the statistics of its qualifying matches, and during the game showed a peak in performance to support those very same statistics, in stark contrast to its previous matches against the USA and Algeria.  England played more aggressively and dominated the match, with Slovenia Goalkeeper Samir Handanovic at one point having to make several saves within seconds of each other.

Match Overview

England Midfielder and Captain Steven Gerrard leads his team out onto the pitch in front of thousands of cheering and screaming fans at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. (Image Source)

The England National Football Team, also known as the Three Lions.  From top left: James Milner (Midfield), John Terry (Defense), David James (Goalkeeper), Matthew Upson (Defense), Gareth Barry (Defense), Frank Lampard (Midfield).  From bottom left: Ashley Cole (Defense), Steven Gerrard (c) (Midfield), Wayne Rooney (Forward), Glen Johnson (Defense), Jermain Defoe (Forward). (Image Source)

The Slovenia National Football Team.  From top left: Samir Handanovic (Goalkeeper), Marko Suler (Defense), Milivoje Novakovic (Forward), Bostjan Cesar (Defense), Zlatan Ljubijankic (Forward), Valter Birsa (Forward).  From bottom left: Andraz Kirm (Midfield), Miso Brecko (Defense), Robert Koren (Midfield), Aleksander Radosavljevic (Midfield), Bojan Jokic (Defense). (Image Source)

England's Goal 23 Minutes In

Top: England Striker Jermain Defoe shoots under pressure from Slovenia Defender Marko Suler (Image Source).  Bottom: England Striker Jermain Defoe scores the first goal of the match past Slovenia Goalkeeper Samir Handanovic (Image Source).  England Midfielder James Milner had made a cross to England Striker Jermain Defoe, who made a right-footed shot from five yards past Slovenia Goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.  It was England Striker Jermain Defoe's first goal since September of 2009, when he (coincidentally) played Slovenia.

England Midfielder Steven Gerrard (c) evades a tackle from Slovenia Defender Miso Brecko during the heated match. (Image Source)

England Striker Wayne Rooney is pressured by Slovenia Defender Bostjan Cesar.  Rooney missed an opportunity to give England a 2:0 win when his shot glanced off Slovenia Goalkeeper Samir Handanovic's fingers. (Image Source)

Match Aftermath

The well-played match ended in a 1:0 win for England.  England was ecstatic about winning the match, celebrating the match as if they had just conquered Brazil.  Slovenia felt downtrodden, packing their bags for an early departure from the World Cup.  The victory gave England enough points to advance into the next round of the World Cup (Round of 16), earning second place in Group C behind the USA.  Slovenia and Algeria were permanently eliminated.  This came as a surprise, because only the day before Slovenia was the leader of Group C, with the USA in second place.  England will now have to face Germany, the winner of Group D, to advance any further in the World Cup.

Members of the England National Team gather together to celebrate with a group hug after winning the match. (Image Source) - Cover Photo

Of the match, Slovenia Coach Matjaz Kek has said, "This is indescribable, but this is sport.  I can only hope our sport will be able to gain from this defeat."

Of his goal, England Striker Jermain Defoe has said, "I'm lost for words to be honest.  What a moment.  Everyone was focused before the game.  We are through, that's the most important thing."

Of the match, England Midfielder Frank Lampard has said, "I think it was just a show of unity in the team and the determination we've had before this game.  No one wanted to go home with their tails between their legs after the group stage.  We wanted go further that that, we want to go all the way."

Of the match, England Coach Fabio Capello has said, "This team, this spirit, played together and tried together.  I am really happy because I found the team I know.  We now go forward.  We can play against all the teams because the mind is now free."

Read More About The 2010 FIFA World Cup Matches, Covered By The Same Author:

Spain VS. Netherlands

England VS. Germany

England VS. Algeria

England VS. USA

Read DeeBee's Article On The FIFA Women's World Cup:

The FIFA Women's World Cup Tournament

© 2010 Gregory Markov

    

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