A good number of English people are happy this morning not to have to face waking up to the headlines that would spell our exit from the World Cup. James Milner
supplied the cross for Jermaine Defoe to stab in the solitary goal of the game. While I was very happy at the time, and am content now about it all, there is still the inquest.
Milner, to start with, started very lacklustre. He seemed to be sluggish in his approach and little of the dynamic energy you see him exert for club. With a yellow card hovering over him, I felt it was a risk playing him and when it came to the first 15-20mins Milner was not at the races. Obviously he came good for the goal and that was practically it for the first half from Milner. Wayne Rooney was far more flexible with Defoe as lone striker, he and Gerrard seem to have this telepathy between them both which almost ended up with a second goal. Rooney was more lively than previously, which was better to see.
We had a good half, not because of the goal but of the playability too. The Slovenians topped the group with no defeats so letting them have possession would be dangerous, and we kept at them to prevent that. We were still missing Frank Lampard. The central midfielder who was pivotal to Chelsea's season, was quiet. Again. Got himself involved because he had to, and for his EPL reputation he remained on the pitch.
Gareth Barry was standard, showed up in attack and cleaned up somewhat under it. Still hesitant in coming forward with the ball. Glen Johnson, again, looked short of some sharpness in defence and for someone who is fit and has pace, Johnson was almost taken over by their left winger. But he came good overall and defensively, we held ourselves well enough for the lead at half time.
The second half wasn't as good as the first. The first 20mins gave us two excellent chances to increase our lead through first Defoe then Rooney, and we showed some of the guile from the first half. But from that point on, we laboured, and Slovenia came onto us, resulting in one point where first Terry then Johnson blocked out two efforts and the follow-up from that went wide. From then on it was equal for both sides and it was fortunate, maybe even just, that we emerged winners.
Now don't fool yourselves. We won, three points well needed and we got it but the response, in my opinion, was half of what we wanted. The Germans have played well, even with 10-men against Serbia, and they have good dangermen in Lukas Podolski and Mezut Oezil, not to mention Bastian Schweinsteiger (their version of Gareth Barry), and Miroslav Klose.
England will have to step up their stamina and pace because the Germans simply industrialise. In other words, they will pass and move efficiently and quietly, which made the difference in their last game with Ghana, who were strong and pacey. We will have to play like Ghana and I think changes are still required from that of yesterday:
Would still stick with Rooney as it may well relish playing against the Germans, which is all dependent on his fitness. I heard he is a doubt but I suspect he will be fit for it. If not, I don't see the partnership of Crouch and Defoe putting us out of place and I think Crouch would be good to put up against the frame of 6'6" Per Mertesacker. I think without Rooney, actually, we would stand a good chance nonetheless.
But let's not get carried away from yesterday. Many radio 'pundits' and presenters seem to be.