England and USA both qualified from their World Cup Group this afternoon but neither team had an easy ride and both had their fans biting their nails to the bitter end.
England, who needed a win, were up against Slovenia who just needed a Draw to advance. England have received a lot of criticism in the press over the last two weeks but they put that to bed early on with some neat football and good play. Milner was excellent on the wing and it was his cross that picked out Defoe on twenty-two minutes, leaving the Tottenham striker to prod home.
Defoe nearly grabbed a second in the second half, whilst Rooney hit the post and Gerrard came close as England looked for a second goal that would make the game more comfortable. That goal never came though but Slovenia didn’t really push for an equalizer because, as things stood, USA were drawing and that meant Slovenia would qualify.
Playing against Algeria, the USA also needed a win. Algeria came very close to opening the scoring and grabbing their first World Cup goal when they rattled the bar early on, but the rest of the game belong to USA who peppered the Algerian goal. They hit the woodwork, Dempsey had a controversial goal ruled out, Gomez missed a couple of good chances and Altidore missed a fantastic chance to open the scoring early on.
As the whistle went for full time in the England game, the USA were still tied with a couple of minutes left to play. Donavan then broke Slovenian hearts and excited many American ones when he smashed in the winning goal in the dying moments of the game. A vital strike and one which sent USA to the top of the Group to qualify – ahead of England on goal difference.
Both teams will now eagerly await the results of the Group D games which kick off tonight. With Serbia, Germany, Ghana and Australia all still with a chance to qualify it is a group that is wide open to predictions.