On a Warm, but overcast Saturday evening in London England Took on Slovenia. England were looking to prepare for the World Cup qualifier against Croatia at Wembley on Wednesday 9th of September which could see England book there place at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
England went into the game without some of there regulars including: Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole, David James.
Fabio Capello decided to start with his strongest available line up :
Johnson Terry Upson A.Cole
Wright-Philips Lampard Barry Gerrard
The game start off at quite a pace with England dominating possession and pressing the Slovenian side but when they did get hold of ball they caused England a few problems on the counter attack by exploiting space between the England backline. The first major talking point happen only a couple of minutes into the game when Robert Green the England Goalkeeper seemed to handle a good yard or so out side of his penalty box but neither the lines man or referee seemed to pick up on the incident.
England almost took the lead when Wayne Rooney shot was deflected over the bar and from the resulting corner John Terry slammed his headed shot onto the crossbar. The ball then found its way back to John Terry who then with an acrobatic effort sent the ball just wide of the right hand post.
On 29 Minutes England were awarded a controversial penalty as Slovenian defender Cesar and Rooney tussled to get to the same ball both players went down and the referee awarded a penalty kick. The incident looked more like a 50-50 challenge with both players shoulder to shoulder and holding each other shirts. The decision was a very soft penalty which Lampard duly struck beyond the Slovenian keeper. The resulting challenge between the two players saw Cesar pick up and Injury in which he was replaced .
Rooney Should have doubled England’s lead three minutes later when he side footed a chance into the side netting from 6 yards out and the keeper stranded . Just before half time Steven Gerrard created some space and saw his 20 yard effort fly inches wide of the post.
The second half saw Defoe replace Heskey, Carrick replace Gerrard, Milner replace Lampard and Lennon replace Wright-Phillips.
England again started in good spirits pressurizing the Slovenian back line but with all the possession England were having Slovenia were begging to find holes in the England rear guard and hoping to hit England on the counter attack.
On 63 minutes some fantastic Interplay between Tottenham’s Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe saw England double the lead with a wonderful 20 yard strike from Defoe. It didn’t seem like to be Rooney’s day as in the 70th Minute Rooney’s Goal bound shot was cleared off the line by a Slovenian Defender.
Charlton Cole replace Rooney in the 80th Minute and a couple of minutes after coming on nearly he powered passed the Slovenian fullback and managed to get a shot on goal but it was comfortably dealt with by the goal keeper.
Slovenia almost managed to pull one back when Dedic met a Birsa corner only to send it wide of the mark. As the game seemed to up
Ljubijankic managed to get in front of Substitute Lescott and steer the ball beyond Robert Green to make the Final Score 2-1.
England thoughts will now turn to Croatia on Wednesday evening and hopefully securing there place in next summers World Cup.