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FIFA World Cup

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium (ATT 36,893) 23rd June 2010 - Kick off 15:00

Slovenia Slovenia vs England England


England 1

J Defoe (22)

Live Commentary

Last Updated at 4:57 pm, June 23rd 2010

  1. The USA have won. They top Group C. England are the runners-up. Thank you all for your many, many comments. Stay with us for player ratings, post-match reaction and a reflection piece from yours truly. Until next time.

  2. If the USA hang on and win, they top the group with England as runners-up.

  3. Many of you are saying you reckon Rooney should be dropped for the next game. The striker did come within a whisker of scoring when he hit the post.

  4. More drama: the USA have scored against Algeria, this would mean Slovenia miss out.

  5. Full-time. Slovenia 0 England 1. The Three Lions are through to the last 16 of the 2010 World Cup!!!

  6. 90+3

    Slovenia have a free-kick near their own corner flag.

  7. 90+3

    Corner to England.

  8. 90+2

    Milner draws another foul. The Villa man has been fantastic today.

  9. 90+2

    Lampard wisely draws a foul in the corner. Well played the midfielder.

  10. 90+1

    Three minutes of added time will be played. Upson just made a goal-saving tackle. Incredible,

  11. 90

    Terrible pass from J Cole gifts Slovenia a goal kick.

  12. 90

    Capello is going nuts on the sideline. He wants his team to play higher up.

  13. 89

    England throw bodies at the ball and do clear. Slovenia are pressing hard. James has the ball at the moment.

  14. 88

    Free-kick to Slovenia in a dangerous position after a foul by Johnson.

  15. 88

    It comes to nothing. A real waste.

  16. 87

    England corner...

  17. 87

    Gerrard slips in J Cole on the left. But the midfielder opts for an ambitious strike with the angle very acute. Goal kick.

  18. 86

    The corner is long and eventually half-cleared. The ball falls at the edge of the area but the strike at goal is wayward.

  19. 85

    ...Heskey is on for Defoe prior to the corner...

  20. 85

    Corner to Slovenia...

  21. 84

    Milner looks to be struggling with cramp. Heskey is about to come on, apparently.

  22. 83

    Defoe's chasing has been excellent today. He has run at so many lost causes.

  23. 82

    Decent popping of the ball around by England but the final ball is a little too heavy.

  24. 81

    Dedic is carded for a late lunge on Lampard.

  25. 80

    Clever play from J Cole as he draws a foul to frustrate Slovenia.

  26. 79

    Birsa goes into the book for kicking the ball away.

  27. 79

    Slovenia bring on Matavz for Kirm.

  28. 77

    Don't forget to email in via with your thoughts on who shone and who struggled during this encounter.

  29. 76

    It's all gone a bit scrappy now. England need a second to ease their nerves. Slovenia are pushing up higher now.

  30. 74

    Barry looks very tired to me. Trouble is, England have no other defensive midfielders available.

  31. 73

    As expected, J Cole will play just off Defoe.

  32. 72

    Joe Cole comes on to a massive applause. Rooney is replaced, likely struggling from an injury. Will update you on how England now line-up in a moment.

  33. 70

    Joe Cole is about to come on...

  34. 69

    Rooney seems okay now. A change for England looks forthcoming.

  35. 68

    Goodness me. Slovenia almost score. Barry is looking very leggy and a shocking pass gifts Slovenia possession. They attack and have to shots at goal inside the box. But Terry makes a stunning block to deny the Slovenians. Johnson also involved to hack the ball away.,

  36. 66

    Rooney is limping.

  37. 65

    Very loose by Barry allows Birsa to run at the defence. His shot is central and James is there, cool as a cucumber to gather.

  38. 64

    Rooney flicks a header at goal but the ball is deflected behind for a corner.

  39. 63

    Milner draws a foul from Jokic, who is of course on a yellow. No second booking just yet.

  40. 62

    Ljubijankic is replaced by Dedic.

  41. 61

    England are playing very well indeed and Slovenia are struggling. But still the second goal eludes them.

  42. 60

    Just seen the replay of Rooney hitting the woodwork, turns out Handanovic got a key touch on the shot. Super stop from the keeper.

  43. 59

    Woodwork! Ah, Rooney is threaded straight in as the flag stays down. He somewhat scuffs his shot and the strike hits the post. England are laying siege to the Slovenia goal.

  44. 57

    A top save! Terry thunders a header at goal following a corner but Handanovic is there parry away.

  45. 56

    More fine work from Milner as he continues to cause havoc down the right. His crossing has been first-class.

  46. 55

    Slovenia are buying a lot of free-kicks in advanced areas. England need to be more careful.

  47. 54

    Another chance from England after Slovenia slip in the middle. Gerrard bombs forward but the defence squeeze the ball clear.

  48. 52

    Birsa whips in a free-kick but it is straight down James' throat. A warning sign though.

  49. 51

    A decent ball in by Novakovic is scooped up by James. That was dangerous. As I type, Rooney looks to reach a cross but the ball is just too high.

  50. 49

    Goal disallowed. A really good move from England sees Lampard thread in Rooney, who is only just offside. He cuts back to Defoe who taps in, but the flag is up.

  51. 48

    Johnson is booked for a dive, I believe. The ref has seemingly got that wrong though after the defender appeared to block him off.

  52. 47

    Crikey. Sitter. England win an early corner which is taken quickly. Handanovic punches and the ball is nodded back in. Defoe must score but somehow flicks wide of the post. Somehow.

  53. 46

    England get the second half started.

  54. Roy Hodgson's giving his thoughts on the first-half display. He's happy, and that's good enough for me. Good old Roy. We're almost ready for the second period.

  55. So, England in front, and deservedly so. They really upped their game in the middle of that first half. Capello's decision to play Defoe and Milner looks justified too. More of the same, England fans will be hoping.

  56. Half-time. Slovenia 0 England 1.

  57. 44

    Defoe is in some pain after a challenge during an aerial battle. Definite foul for me, but the ref waved play on. Defoe should be okay.

  58. 42

    James is forced into a brave punch. Birsa drives a free-kick into the box and it catches a deflection. James flies out and makes the stop but the flag is up nonetheless for offside.

  59. 41

    Suler gets lucky as he blindly plays a backpass to the keeper. The header is a little short and for a moment Defoe looks in. But the ball bounces through to Handanovic. Meanwhile, Jokic goes into the book for a rash tackle on Johnson.

  60. 39

    Upson does seem leggy. A lull in the action for the moment. As it stands, Slovenia would also be going through as it is goalless in the other match.

  61. 37

    Ropey kick from James, although the surface appeared to play a part. It's all about the high pressing from England.

  62. 36

    Another terrific cross from Milner, this time Brecko pushes the ball out for a corner with his chest.

  63. 35

    Birsa's ball in is terrible and Cole hacks away. Rooney almost latched onto a counter but was denied by a fine last-ditch tackle.

  64. 34

    Free-kick in an interesting area on the right for Slovenia after a foul by Cole...

  65. 33

    Better from Upson, who first wins a towering header than thumps clear. Rooney is thoroughly involved at the moment.

  66. 30

    Amazing. Just amazing. All hell breaks loose as Gerrard's low show is superbly saved. But the keeper momentarily spills it and has to react quickly to scoop up. England should be two in front. Defoe had initially called Handanovic into action with the first shot.

  67. 29

    Johnson this time fires in a wicked cross and the ball finds its way to Gerrard at the back post. But the midfielder was not expecting to receive the pass and the move breaks down. Upson update: still shaky.

  68. 29

    Sixty-one per cent ball possession for England. More importantly, the pressing has been far better than in the last two games.]

  69. 27

    Ah! Milner delivers another brilliant cross and the keeper spills the ball. Lampard follows up but his effort zooms over the bar. Perhaps he should have scored. Milner is now performing superbly.

  70. 25

    If it stays like this, which I do not believe it will such is the openness of this game, England go through as group winners.

  71. England are in front after two of the new inclusions combine. Milner curls in a lovely cross from the right channel and Defoe powers the ball in with a flick of the boot. The keeper got something on it, but could not keep it out.

  72. 22


  73. 21

    More heart-in-mouth stuff for England as a corner is flicked back in. James is there to gather though.

  74. 20

    Goodness. Ljubijankic looks in and strikes but Terry charges across and makes a vital block.

  75. 20

    Another effort on target from England. Johnson shoots at goal and the ball bounces just before Handanovic catches.

  76. 18

    Ooo. Barry curls in the corner and the ball is flicked out for another. Terry almost got there.

  77. 18

    Corner to England after Rooney's strike is blocked wide. Milner was arguably in a better position for the pass.

  78. 16

    Gerrard hits a peach of a switch to Milner, but the Villa man hesitates and then loses the ball.

  79. 16

    Much more invention from England after a bright run from Cole. Rooney then looks for Lampard but the ball is just too strong.

  80. 15

    Lampard has a pop and the ball swerves. Handanovic falls low to smother the ball. The pitch, meanwhile, is cutting up something rotten.

  81. 14

    Novakovic just went down looking injured but soon picks himself up. Should be fine. Rooney wins a free-kick for England around 35 yards out.

  82. 12

    Barry slices a long ball out of play. England need to retain possession better. Has Defoe touched the ball yet? No, I don't think so.

  83. 11

    That really was a sensational ball from Johnson. Rooney looked a lot sharper too. Promising.

  84. 10

    Much better as Johnson fires a ball to Rooney. The Man United player dinks to the back post and the ball is headed out for a corner, which comes to nothing.

  85. 9

    Crunching tackle from Barry is seen as a foul. No card from the ref. I am sure other officials would have given a yellow there.

  86. 8

    A Cole makes a decent sliding tackle as Slovenia look to attack after Gerrard lost the ball in midfield. Not a great start for the Three Lions.

  87. 7

    Much of England's work has come down the right so far. Milner needs to deliver better. Upson has looked particularly shaky so far.

  88. 5

    England keep the ball well but then sloppily give it away. Slovenia have just struck at goal. James saves with ease.

  89. 4

    Johnson is almost carded for a late challenge. It was a late lunge from the right-back. Fortunate perhaps.

  90. 3

    After a shaky start, England find their feet with some decent pressing. Milner cross low but it is thumped clear.

  91. 2

    Nervy start from Upson as his clearance is poor. England do finally hack away.

  92. 1

    Slovenia kick-off the match.

  93. 14.55

    God Save the Queen rings around the stadium. Here we go, people...

  94. 14.54

    Slovenia's national anthem first...

  95. 14.53

    England captain Steven Gerrard leads out the troops to a fine atmosphere.

  96. 14.52

    In case you did not know. England are wearing an all red strip today.

  97. 14.51

    Can you feel them? The hairs on the back of the neck? The heartbeat quickening? It can only be England at a World Cup. The players are due to enter the field any moment before the national anthems get under way.

  98. 14.48

    I can tell the nerves are really jangling now as swear words of encouragement or fear are becoming more frequent in your emails. Ten minutes...

  99. 14.36

    David James has insisted things are 'not desperate' for England, despite their plight. As always, the shot-stopper looks a confident customer in this interview.

  100. 14.30

    Right, 30 minutes to go until kick-off, when of course I will paint a picture of matters as the minutes tick by. Emails to with your final rallying calls. I will copy in the best Brian Blessed efforts.

  101. 14.28

    Nervous: that's the main theme in the emails at present. It's an understandable emotion.

  102. 14.26

    Mark has told me he is currently at the hospital with his due to give birth wife. He is asking for permission to nip out to watch the game.

  103. 14.23

    I am swamped in your emails at the moment - many thanks for the input thus far. Said terrestrial channel are championing a 4-3-1-2 system today. We have yet to discuss the state of the pitch, which is allegedly not great. Could this play a factor or will England's experience of Wembley's surface serve them well?

  104. 14.20

    A certain terrestrial channel reckons we are looking at a diamond formation today with Gerrard behind the front two and Lampard left.

  105. 14.19

    Parth, a rarity today, is actually backing Capello's team selection. But the frustration, with Edward Key involved, continues to rumble my way. Fans cannot comprehend why Gerrard, arguably our best performer so far, is again likely to be plonked on the left.

  106. 14.13

    With around 45 minutes until kick-off, continue to send your thoughts my way via Nervous, confident, inebriated? Let me know.

  107. 14.10

    Gary Nall makes the point that Joe Cole is not necessarily the country's 'messiah'. Remember, the midfielder struggled to play for Chelsea last term. That said, if reports of an injury are untrue, you would surely presume Cole will be thrown on if we are struggling for chances.

  108. 14.08

    The more I look at the starting Xi, the more I am inclined to suggest we won't play 4-4-2. Perhaps we will be looking at more of a 4-1-3-2, with Barry the holding player and a central attacking three of Gerrard, Milner and Lampard - our width coming from the full-backs?

  109. 14.05

    Let's not forget that Slovenia only need a draw to go through. Therefore, expect a proper backs-to-the-wall display. Might Capello rue not playing Crouch, who would likely have given us something different as one would imagine Slovenia will operate with a deep line.

  110. 14.04

    I am receiving a surprising number of emails claiming of a conspiracy involving Capello, suggesting that he simply does not England through because he is Italian. One presumes these are all in jest...

  111. 14.03

    FYI, the referee for today's game is German official Wolfgang Stark.

  112. 14.02

    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.

  113. 13.58

    Many of you appear to be bracing yourselves for an early exit from work. That's the spirit, managers up and down the country. Don't forget, those of you tuning in via our website can get involved with editor Chris Harvey's chat.

  114. 13.54

    The general consensus is disdain at the team selection. It does look as if it will be 4-4-2 once again, despite general consensus being that a 4-5-1 formation would favour the current crop. Brave move, Fabio.

  115. 13.46

    Rob has ironically labelled Capello a 'tactical genius'. Tom has given his thoughts on England versus Slovakia... wrong game there, Tom. Too much lager already? A left-field comment from Edd, who reckons Michael Owen should be in this squad. In other news, reports are suggesting J Cole might have sustained an injury, hence his absence. Will bring you more on that when it reaches me.

  116. 13.40

    Let's put some colour to this commentary. Let me know where you are turning in from via Presumably you have opted against pulling a sickie, otherwise you would be glued to a television set with an ice-cold beer.

  117. 13.36

    England starting XI: James, Johnson, Terry, Upson, A Cole, Milner, Barry, Lampard, Gerrard, Defoe, Rooney.

  118. 13.30

    Oh goodness, here we go. Welcome to our live commentary of England's make-or-break World Cup clash against Slovenia. The breaking news is that, as expected, Jermain Defoe and James Milner start for England. With that team selection in mind, fire your thoughts on the encounter ahead to - preamble and starting XIs to follow.



FIFA World Cup Group A

FIFA World Cup
Pos Team P Pts
1 Brazil 3 7
2 Mexico 3 7
3 Croatia 3 3
4 Cameroon 3 0

FIFA World Cup Group B

FIFA World Cup
Pos Team P Pts
1 Netherlands 3 9
2 Chile 3 6
3 Spain 3 3
4 Australia 3 0

FIFA World Cup Group C

FIFA World Cup
Pos Team P Pts
1 Colombia 3 9
2 Greece 3 4
3 Ivory Coast 3 3
4 Japan 3 1

FIFA World Cup Group D

FIFA World Cup
Pos Team P Pts
1 Costa Rica 3 7
2 Uruguay 3 6
3 Italy 3 3
4 England 3 1

FIFA World Cup Group E

FIFA World Cup
Pos Team P Pts
1 France 3 7
2 Switzerland 3 6
3 Ecuador 3 4
4 Honduras 3 0

FIFA World Cup Group F

FIFA World Cup
Pos Team P Pts
1 Argentina 3 9
2 Nigeria 3 4
3 Bosnia and Herzegovina 3 3
4 Iran 3 1

FIFA World Cup Group G

FIFA World Cup
Pos Team P Pts
1 Germany 3 7
2 United States of America 3 4
3 Portugal 3 4
4 Ghana 3 1

FIFA World Cup Group H

FIFA World Cup
Pos Team P Pts
1 Belgium 3 9
2 Algeria 3 4
3 Russia 3 2
4 Korea Republic 3 1