Tournament News

Defoe sees England through

2010-06-23 18:01
Jermain Defoe and Frank Lampard celebrate. (AP)

Port Elizabeth - Striker Jermain Defoe rescued England's stuttering World Cup campaign with a first-half strike that was enough to beat Slovenia 1-0 in Group C on Wednesday and book a place in the second round.

Defoe started for the first time in the tournament and converted James Milner's perfect cross in the 23rd minute to put England ahead and send their suffering fans into a frenzy.

England were always in control and looked like a completely different team to the side that struggled to successive draws in their opening two games, with Wayne Rooney in battling mood and Defoe proving a menace for the Slovenia defence.

Defoe had started in place of Emile Heskey in attack with Milner in the lineup for the ineffective Aaron Lennon. Matthew Upson started in central defence with Jamie Carragher suspended.

England started nervously but soon found their feet, with Rooney working hard and linking up with Defoe, Milner and Gerrard in a series of attacks on the Slovenian goal.

Rooney, Frank Lampard and John Terry all came close but England's pressure finally paid off when Milner broke free on the right and superbly picked out Defoe for a clinical finish.

Defoe almost scored again three minutes later when his shot from outside the area was palmed away by goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, with Lampard blasting the rebound over the bar.

England could have doubled their lead on the half-hour when Handanovic pulled off a superb double save from Defoe and then Gerrard before leaping on the loose ball as it spun precariously towards the goal line.

England kept up the pressure after the break, with Defoe having an effort disallowed for offside and Terry almost getting on the scoresheet when his close range header was saved.

Rooney, heavily criticised in the first two matches, continued to trouble the Slovenian defence in the second half, riding out the tackles and hitting the post on the turn when Handanovic got the slightest of touches to his effort.

Slovenia had few clear chances but England were worried after 67 minutes when Bostjan Cesar picked up a loose ball and shot narrowly wide. They kept up the pressure until the end but could not find a way through a resilient England defence.

Read more on:    jermain defoe  |  slovenia  |  england


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Updated: Hottest SWC WAGs

Updated: Hottest SWC 2010 WAGs


World Cup 2010 is over and the country is returning to normal - but have you moved on yet?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.