Friday, June 18, 2010
Game 23: England vs Algeria
In truth, Algeria were the better team for much of the match. They connected their passes well, stood up to the tough English center-forwards, and made good runs on offense. Karim Ziani was a maestro on the offense, tormenting the English backline and constantly trying to set up opportunities for his fellow countrymen.
On the other side, Rooney could do very little. Because of the usual double-marking, Rooney had to constantly track back to the center of the field just to even get touches on the ball, something you generally don't want to see your central-forward and main goal-scoring machine doing.
"No excuses," said captain Steven Gerrard, "we weren't aggressive enough."
Constantly the English attackers would try to lay the ball off for each other, rather than going for goal on their own. The few times they did have shots on target, such as from Lampard, Gerrard, and Rooney, the ball had little strength behind it, making them comfortable saves for Algeria keeper Rais M'Bolhi.
Much like the United States, England now goes into their final game against Slovenia in a win-or-die situation. Even if England pull off a draw, they would more than likely not go through provided the Yanks also draw. If the United States win, England is out regardless, if the United States lose then England will go through with a win.
In other words: to move on, England has to win.
Algeria will be going into their final game against the United States with renewed confidence, and if they win then they could conceivably go through provided England also loses.
Group C is turning out to be one of the most exciting groups of this years tournament.