South Africa, the 18th of June 2010 [PDN]: England must now beat Slovenia in their final Group C match to guarantee themselves a place in the last 16, after Fabio Capello’s side drew 0-0 with Algeria in a dire match in Cape Town on Friday night.
England toiled hard for most of a forgettable 90 minutes, but eventual failed to break down a resolute Algerian defence, dependent on putting men behind the ball and striking via ineffective counter-attacks. England’s best chance of the match fell to Frank Lampard on 32 minutes when a long range drive was deftly touched round the post by the Algerian keeper.
The United States staged a second half-fight back to deny European minnows Slovenia a deserved victory. Entering the break 2-0 down, the USA struck back in a resurgent performance, ending the tie in a 2-2 draw. Had Slovenia succeeded they would have become the first team to qualify for the second round following the result between group rivals England and Algeria.
Valter Birsa gave the Slovenians a 13th minute lead before Zlatan Ljubijankic extended the advantage putting the unfavoured Europeans in a commanding 2-0 lead going into the break. Landon Donovan reduced the deficit three minutes after the interval and Michael Bradley equalised eight minutes from time in what must surely have been the result of a half-time dressing down by the USA coach.
In yet another upset involving a tournament favourite, Germany went down to Serbia in their second match of Group D which also includes the likes of Australia and Ghana. Miroslav Klose was sent off and Lukas Podolski missed a penalty as Germany failed to match their 4-0 disposal of the Australian side in their opening match.
The game really only came alive after the 36th minute dismissal of Klose for his second bookable offence, within two minutes Milan Jovanovic had given Serbia the lead which they took into half-time. Podolski then missed a second-half penalty which saw Germany never really push to force an equaliser. The group is now left wide open with three teams on 3-points and Australia on 0 ahead of their match with Ghana tonight.
Tonight’s matches include and entertaining matchup between top of Group E sides Netherlands and Japan, whilst the bottom two teams Cameroon and Denmark also face off at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria. Also Australia will face Ghana in their second match of Group D in Rustenburg.
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