- Play by
- Man of
Three Lions Scrape Into Last 16
England's Jermain Defoe (left) celebrates with team mate James Milner after he scores the opening goal of the game
A 1-0 victory for England over Slovenia at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday afternoon was enough to secure their place in the last 16.
The only goal of a game which was dominated by England came from Jermaine Defoe came midway through he first half.
Defoe, along with James Milner and Mathew Upson, came into the team for Emile Heskey, Aaron Lennon and Jamie Carragher respectively.
For all Englandís dominance over a Slovenia side not on top of their game, they missed several good chances and it was a far more nervous ending to the game than it should have been, while the continued lack of form from Wayne Rooney will be another concern.
Early stages of the game lacked goal-mouth action and a fairly dour start saw England enjoying more possession, but for the most part they lacked creativity on the ball and often ended up giving away possession cheaply.
Their were shots from range for Frank Lampard (a free kick) and Glen Johnson, but other than that England didnít do too much in attack to suggest a goal was on the way.
Milner struggled down the right flank early on, but he got his radar spot on in the 22nd minute when he whipped in an excellently-flighted cross, which was gratefully accepted by Jermaine Defoe, who slotted home from around eight-yard out, with the help of his shin.
Lampard should really have made it 2-0 five minutes later, but he fired over an unguarded net after goal keeper Handanovic won the ball ahead of Defoe but parried it right into the Chelsea manís path.
And in the 30th minute England came close again when the lively Defoe stung Handanovicís palms with a powerful drive.
The ball came back into play and Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard combined nicely before the latter had his shot saved by Handanovic at the second attempt.
The Three Lions maintained superiority for the remainder of the half against a surprisingly flat Slovenia side, but could not conjure up any clear-cut chances.
England should really have gone into the second half with a greater lead, but to their credit they came out firing after the break.
It should really have been 2-0 in the 46th minute when Rooneyís quick corner was not cleared properly. The ball came back in for Defoe, but his flick with his back to goal from six yards out went a foot wide of the upright.
Rooney had a wonderful chance to double the score-line in the 58th minute when he beat the off-side trap, but with only goal keeper Handanovic to beat, he failed to get clean contact on his shot and the ball bobbled against the upright and back into play.
A couple of mistakes then crept into Englandís play and after Gareth Barry gave away the ball in the 68th minute, Slovenia nearly capitalised as they swept up field quickly.
If it were not for a double block by John Terry and Johnson from Novakovic and Dedic respectively, England could well have found their slim advantage nullified.
With Rooney replaced by Joe Cole, who made an impact during his time on the field, the closing stages remained anxious moments for England as they did their best to wind down the clock.
There was a late challenge from Upson which stopped a potential equaliser two minutes from time, but in the end it was a deserved win for an England team who played well but still lacked confidence in the opposition defence.
The USAís late win against Algeria means that England finish second in Group C and will now face the winners of Group D.