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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

England vs Slovenia: Live Blog

16:50 - Even more excitingly, USA have scored against Algeria via Landon Donovan and will win the Group. Rock and, indeed, roll.

16:48 - England are on the verge of the knock out stages. The fans are so, so loud. And that's it - England are through. Thank God for that.

16:46 - Slovenia break through but a fantastic last ditch tackle from Upson ensures that this match is still England's to lose.

16:44 - Still 0-0 for USA v Algeria. Looks like England and Slovenia are most likely to go through.

16:42 - Heskey is on for Defoe.

16:40 - I don't think Cole playing in the hole behind Defoe is the best use of either player. Time to Crouch or, whisper it, Heskey, methinks. Someone to hold the ball up would be a definite positive.

16:34 - Tim Matavz comes on for Slovenia in another attacking change.

16:32 - The England fans are urging their team on, but it's tense.

16:28 - Can't see Defoe staying on for much longer. I'm expecting Peter Crouch to replace him. I just don't think a Cole - Defoe combination is really going to deliver the killer blow.

16:26 - England are looking to bring on Joe Cole. Lots of tactical instructions from Stuart Pearce. Wayne Rooney, who picked up a knock, is going off.

16:23 - Barry's misplaced pass lead to a Slovenia break. Terry and Johnson finally snuff it out. Close, though!

16;20 - Credit where it's due: Slovenia 'keeper Handanovic looks a class act. Very solid for crosses and shots. Gigi Buffon rates him highly too, which I guess carries more weight than my opinion.

16:17 - Slovenia make a change with Zlatan Ljubijankic coming off and fellow striker Zlatko Dedic replacing him.

16:13 - England are completely on top now. Slovenia haven't got out of their half for the last five minutes. Rooney has just hit the post.

16:09 - Nice high tempo which is suiting England just fine.

16:03 - Glen Johnson picks up a yellow card, apparently for being body checked by a Slovenia defender. No idea what the ref is doing. Very odd decision.

16:01 - The second half kicks off and Defoe nearly scores within a minute. Slovenia are immediately on the defensive.

15:56 - It's half time and if you haven't yet bet on the World Cup Finals, now is the time to register at Bet365 and claim up to £200 in Free Bets.

15: 50 - Algeria and USA 0-0 in the first half. Algeria appear to have shaded this. If it stays like that, they are both out.

15:45 - Half time. Some very, er, liberal refereeing but the game has been better for it. England are on top and should go on to win.

15:40 - Slovenia's left back Bojan Jokic picks up a yellow for a foul on Johnson. He's out for the next match, so expect Milner and Johnson to bombard him down that flank from now on.

15: 33 - England are looking confident now, with Gerrard, Rooney and Defoe all very sharp. The Three Lions are firing on all cylinders. It could have been 3-0 by now.

15: 25 - If you fancy piling in for an England win, Bet365 will give you 1.16 on the win. Bet now at Bet365.

15:22 - Having had maybe one touch of the ball so far, Tottenham's Jermain Defoe does what he does best and puts England 1-0 up. Great cross from Milner.

15:19 - Incidentally, if you want to keep up with this live blog, you'll have to keep pressing 'refresh'. Don't blame me, I just write this stuff.

15:17 - Rooney gets into a good attacking position, but shot instead of passing to Milner who was free.

15:14 - First England shot on target with a well-struck Lampard free kick. England do need to relax and start playing though.

15:10 - Johnson is getting skinned by Slovenian full back Jokic. It just proves to me that Johnson is not an international class full back.

15:07 - First on target shot goes to Slovenia's Birsa. James was untroubled.

15:05 - Glen Johnson has flown in with two dodgy tackles in about a minute. He needs to calm down.

15:03 - It looks like a 4-4-2 with Gerrard on the left. The English supporters are very loud, drowning out the Vuvuzelas for the moment.

15:00 - And....we're off!

14:55 - Just about to kick off and the BBC's Phil McNulty is reporting that ground staff are still trying to repair pitch damage in both six yard boxes. God help us.

14:46 - 15 minutes to kick off and the nerves are getting to me. I could be sitting in the sun with a glass of White Burgundy instead of doing this.

14: 34 - All the latest England v Slovenia odds are right here.

14:23 - Apparently there are some other teams playing at 3pm as well. I take USA to beat Algeria, mainly because the fabulously named Hercules Gomez is starting upfront for the Americans.

14:17 - Some suggestions that England might line up as a diamond formation, with Gerrard behind Defoe and Rooney. Frankly, who knows.

14:06 - Just noticed that the Slovenia defence includes three players on a yellow card and one - Marko Suler - who has a rib injury. Could be telling as the game progresses.

14:04 - Slovenia Team: 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.

13:42 - Apparently Joe Cole isn't actually fit, according to John Motson, who probably knows better than we do. That would be a good explanation for him not starting the Slovenia match!

13:37 - Expected England team: James; Johnson, Terry, Upson, A Cole; Barry; Milner, Lampard, Gerrard; Rooney, Defoe

So, it looks like Heskey is dropped in favour of Defoe and there is no room for in the starting XI for Joe Cole. It also looks like 4-4-2. Typically stubborn Capello.

OK, let's kick this thing off.

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posted by mark_s at 1:27 PM


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