Group C Cape Town Friday June 18 20.30 SA Time
England opened well, more aggressively, more incisive, playing the ball around the park and arriving in the final quarter of the field. For a quarter of an hour, team coach Fabio Capello was enjoying his 64th birthday.
After this, the second quarter of an hour belonged to Algeria, the experience of coach Rabah Saadane, present in all three of his country’s appearances in World Cup finals (Spain 1982, Mexico 1986, previously) showed through, in wave after wave of very mobile Algerian attacks.
England tried to fight back in the last 15 minutes of the first half, Gerrard seeing his shot saved by Mbolhi on the half hour. Two minutes later, the Algerian keeper made a great save, denying Lampard from close range. England seemed to have woken up, realizing that they had to up the tempo of their game to have any chance of taking it to the Algerians. On 39’, Mbolhi easily caught Barry’s shot and four minutes later, one from Rooney, both from outside the area because the England attack found it do hard to penetrate.
70’ – Heskey’s shot was blocked in front of goal by Halliche. England had nine corners in the second half, against Algeria’s one, witness to the way the game ran. The 0-0 is witness to the fact that England underestimated the group, calling it “EASY” (England, Algeria, Slovenia, Yanks) and if after two games, against the USA and Algeria, they have scored one goal and drawn two matches, the team has everything to prove against Slovenia.
Algeria: Mbolhi, Bougherra, Belhadj, Yahia, Halliche, Boudebouz (Abdoun), Lacen, Matmour, Ziani (Guedioura), Yebda (Mesbah), Kadir
England: James, Johnson, Ashley Cole, Gerrard, Terry, Lennon (Wright-Phillips), Lampard, Rooney, Barry (Crouch), Carragher, Heskey (Defoe)