Slovenia vs. England Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth South Africa 10 AM EST Wednesday June 23, 2010 on ESPN2
by Jason Green of Predictem.com
Match Odds: England 1.45 / Slovenia 7.00 / Draw 4.20
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
Moneyline: England -222 / Slovenia +550 / Draw +320
In the last Group C match for each team on Wednesday afternoon England faces Slovenia. It is pretty easy for each team, as the team that wins will advance to the knockout phase. Since Slovenia has a win and England has played 2 draws Slovenia will make it out of Group C if this match ends in a draw.
In their last Group C matches England drew with Algeria 0-0 and Slovenia played to a 2-2 draw against the USA after taking a 2-0 lead at halftime.
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England looked far from a world power in playing to a scoreless draw against Algeria and they have to play much better in this match to have any chance to win.
Slovenia looked awesome in the first half against the USA taking a 2 goal lead in the first half, but after the Americans scored a goal the Slovenians dropped back on defense and stopped attacking as often. Slovenia was lucky to come away with a draw in the match, as the Americans scored a goal in the 86th minute that was controversially disallowed.
England was out-hustled to balls in the draw against Algeria where the English fans actually booed their squad. Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, and Steven Gerrard need to step it up, as they are some of the best players in the world, but so far this World Cup have only helped England score a grand total of 1 goal.
All the pressure is on England, who was the favorite to win Group C and had the third best odds to win the World Cup, facing a Slovenian team whose nation only has 2 million people.
I sat with a couple of English guys watching the Algerian match and they simply said the stars for England can’t play well as a team and there were not surprised they played to a draw against an inferior squad.
England Recent Form:
6/18/2010 England 0 Algeria 0 (World Cup)
6/12/2010 England 1 USA 1 (World Cup)
5/30/2010 England 2 Japan 1 (Friendly)
5/24/2010 England 3 Mexico 1 (Friendly)
3/3/2010 England 3 Egypt 1 (Friendly)
Slovenia Recent Form:
6/18/2010 Slovenia 2 USA 2 (World Cup)
6/13/2010 Slovenia 0 Algeria 1 (World Cup)
6/4/2010 Slovenia 3 New Zealand 1 (Friendly)
3/3/2010 Slovenia 4 Qatar 1 (Friendly)
Peter Crouch may get the start at striker for England in this match since Emile Heskey has not done much of anything in South Africa. Joe Cole may get the start as well and he did not even get on the pitch at all in the Algerian match. The English need a spark and head coach Fabio Capello may mix things up.
One of the main strengths of the English is their midfield, but they were out-numbered constantly in the Algeria match and cannot let that happen in this one.
Slovenia, surprisingly, came out on the attack in the match with the USA and they may do that again in this match to keep England off-guard. England needs a win and will attack all match long, but when the Slovenians stopped attacking in the USA match and dropped back on defense they seemed to be a different team and gave up 2 second half goals.
Wayne Rooney has been frustrated in both matches not getting space, but he will do so in this important match and score at least one goal.
Slovenia has big and tough defenders so England will have to use their speed and passing skills. Gerrard and Lampard will come alive in this match and set up the front line guys and Gerrard may tack on his second goal of the tournament since he will be up front on the attack.
Samir Handanovic is a decent G for Slovenia, but he will not keep a clean sheet in this match.
Jason’s Pick to Win: England has all the pressure and a lot of people are writing them off. I am not one of them. I think they will come out and play well and the stars will play like, wellthe stars they are. Rooney will break out of his slump and the midfield will control the field and the time of possession. Look for England to look like a different team and they will come out and win 2-0 or 3-0 and advance to the knockout stage.