England Struggle To Goalless Draw Against Algeria
Saturday, 19th June 2010 at 07:53am
England's hopes of topping their World Cup group were dealt a blow last night following an abject performance against a disciplined but limited Algerian side.
The England players were booed from the field of play after the final whistle as England's travelling supporters made their feelings clear to Capello's charges.
As expected, Gareth Barry returned to the starting line up and Capello opted to replace goalkeeper Robert Green after his clanger against the US and named the veteran David James, the tournament's oldest player, as his replacement.
England failed to find any rhythm, struggled to create any chances of note and rarely troubled Algerian stopper Rais M'Bolhi.
England must now beat Slovenia in their final group match to stand any chance of topping their group and to qualify for the Round of 16.
In the other Group C fixture, the USA fought back from two goals down to snatch a draw with Slovenia, a result which leaves the European side top of the group.
The Slovenians in their first World Cup raced into a two-goal lead after strikes from Valter Birsa and Zlatan Ljubijankic, the former a delightful curling effort that gave Howard no chance.
US Coach Bob Bradley made two changes at the interval and his endeavour was rewarded when Landon Donovan pulled a goal back early in the second half.
Bradley's side now had the bit between their teeth and their dominance eventually told when Michael Bradley, son of coach Bob, levelled the scores with eight minutes remaining.
The States thought they had won the match when Maurice Edu volleyed home but the goal was disallowed for a questionable infringement.
In the first game of the day, Serbia upset group favourites Germany with a one nil victory over Joachim Loew's side in Port Elizabeth.
Germany came into the match in high spirits after a hugely impressive 4-0 win against Australia but found themselves up against a fiercely determined Serbia side looking to bounce back after a late defeat to Ghana in their opening match.
Germany had the better of the early play but it was Serbia who took the lead when the Liverpool-bound Milan Jovanovic slotted home from close-range.
Germany then saw Miroslav Klose sent off for two debatable yellow cards in the second half but then had a fantastic chance to level the scores when the Germans were awarded a penalty after a thoughtless handball by Nemanja Vidic.
Lukas Podolski, a goal scorer in the opening fixture, took the penalty but placed it too close to the Serbian 'keeper Vladimir Stojkovic who dived to his left to keep it out.
The result leaves the group wide open and a win for Ghana against Australia today will give the African nation a tremendous chance of reaching the knock out phase.