Woeful England draw in CT
Cape Town - A woeful England failed to find the killer touch in a disappointing 0-0 draw with Algeria on Friday, putting them under huge pressure to beat Slovenia in their final World Cup group game.
Fabio Capello's team, under the cosh already after their much-criticised 1-1 opener against the United States, struggled to find any rhythm and gave the ball away far too easily, doing little to silence their detractors.
With the United States and Slovenia drawing 2-2 earlier, Group C is finely poised. Slovenia have four points, with England and the USA on two and Algeria with one.
It was a poor performance from Capello's team with players looking tired and devoid of spark.
The big news ahead of the game was the axing of West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green after his blunder against the USA with veteran David James taking over.
Gareth Barry also returned from an ankle injury, but he struggled and was largely ineffective.
England captain Steven Gerrard said afterward: “We weren't aggressive enough.
"We never had the cutting edge. We have no excuses and we have to go and win the last game.”
Instead of Wayne Rooney, it was Karim Ziani who thrilled the crowd with his good moves.
Drowned out vuvuzelas
High in the stands, Britain's princes Harry and William were looking on glumly despite being surrounded by almost nothing but England fans.
It was clear England was playing effectively a home game at the Cape Town Stadium when tens of thousands among the crowd belted out "God Save the Queen".
Shouts of "England, England" even drowned out the vuvuzelas.
It took more than a half hour for England to get a shot on goal, as Emile Heskey and Rooney proved to be an inefficient partnership.
It was left to the midfielders yet again and Frank Lampard had the best chance when he received the ball unmarked about 12 metres from goal after Algeria failed to clear a cross from Glen Johnson.
But Lampard's weak left-footed shot was well saved.
Skipper Gerrard was the first to trouble the Algerians with a shot that goalkeeper M'bohi Rais Ouheb, preferred to Faouzi Chaouchi after their 1-0 loss to Slovenia, had to jump high to collect.
James got into the game on 11 minutes when he punched clear a looping cross on his goal line, not entirely convincingly but good enough to avert the danger.
Shot on target
Some of the players were nervy and the heart of Jamie Carragher, playing in place of the injured Ledley King, would have been pumping even harder after his fluffed clearance had to be stopped by James.
England couldn't get going and Algeria was seeing plenty of the ball. It was clear that Capello, celebrating his 64th birthday, was none too pleased, angrily pacing the dugout.
James was tested again when his Portsmouth team-mate Nadir Belhadj whipped in a corner under the England bar, claiming it impressively this time under pressure from two Algerians.
Capello would have given them a piece of his mind in the dressing room but they didn't look much better when they came out, with a scrappy start to the second-half.
To make matters worse Carragher picked up a yellow card - his second of the tournament - meaning he is out of the Slovenia match.
The cumbersome Heskey, meanwhile, should have done better inside the penalty area with 18 minutes left but his shot was deflected over for a corner.
In a last role of the dice, Capello brought on Shaun Wright-Philipps for Aaron Lennon, Jermain Defoe for Heskey and Peter Crouch for Barry, but despite picking up the pace the breakthrough remained elusive.
Afterward England defender Ashley Cole was awarded FIFA Man of the Match honours.
The 29-year-old Chelsea star did his best with his rushes up the left side to help England score a goal, but it was not enough as England failed to live up to their status as title contenders.