Defoe on target as England progress

23 June 2010 05:30

England are through to the last 16 of the World Cup after Jermain Defoe's first-half goal was sufficient to overcome Slovenia 1-0 in Port Elizabeth.

Defoe justified his recall in place of Emile Heskey by turning home a 23rd-minute cross from James Milner in a much improved display by Fabio Capello's side.

England had chances to have won more comfortably, while Wayne Rooney struck a post, but they were indebted to Glen Johnson for blocking a goal-bound shot from substitute Zlatko Dedic.

Landon Donovan's injury-time effort in Pretoria - where USA defeated Algeria 1-0 - meant the outcome was not exactly what England wanted, as it sends them to Bloemfontein on Sunday and leaves them in the same quarter of the draw as Diego Maradona's dangerous Argentinians.

After 23 minutes Defoe justified his recall by putting England in front. Milner delivered a superb cross from the right flank and Defoe got in front of Marko Suler to volley the ball into the roof of the net from close range - his 12th goal for his country.

Defoe missed a great chance to double England's lead in the first minute of the second half. Rooney's quick corner was fisted out by Samir Handanovic but headed back into the danger area by Gareth Barry only for Defoe to flick the ball wide from six yards out.

Defoe had the ball in the net for a second time after 49 minutes but Rooney had strayed offside in collecting a pass from Frank Lampard.

John Terry brought down Aleksandar Radosavljevic to the right of the England box but Valter Birsa drilled his free-kick straight at David James.

Handanovic kept his side in contention by making a fine reflex save to keep out a Terry header from Barry's deep corner. Then Rooney squandered a great opportunity when he hit the post from 12 yards out after running onto Lampard's pass, although the keeper did get a faint touch on the ball.

Johnson then came to England's rescue late on when he blocked a goal-bound shot from Dedic with James well beaten.

Source: PA