England V/S Algeria
Algeria and England faced each other for the first time in International match. England was expected of winning this game comfortably. Nevertheless, Algeria had other ideas as they attacked England and did not let England to express their game. England made three changes to their first eleven, with Barry, Carragher and goalkeeper James coming into the team in place of Milner, King and Green respectively. While Matmour made it to the first eleven of Algeria. There was nothing much to choose between these teams. The match did not produce any creative spectacle as England had only six shots on target compared to Algeria’s paltry one. That sums up the story of the game.
In the first half Algeria started brighter by keeping possession and attacking England. For the first 20 minutes, Algeria almost kept England in their half. England captain Gerrard had a shot at goal in the 4th minute. In the 13th minute Algerian defender had a bursting run and then whipped a dangerous cross, which James punched away. In the 20th minute, Yebda induced a save from James with his shot. Matmour had a shot at goal followed by Yebda in 22nd minute. Algeria attacked through wings, with some crosses. In the 30th minute Gerrard had shot saved by Mbolhi. In the 31st minute, Belhadj’s shot took a deflection and James saved it. In the 32nd minute Mbolhi dived to his left to save a shot from Lampard. In the 39th minute Gareth Barry took a shot that Mbolhi saved. In the 42nd minute Rooney drilled a low shot from distance which keeper saved comfortably. Towards the end of the first half England kept decent possession.
In the second half Algeria continued their impressive passing. England tried to break down their shackles. In the 58th minute, Carragher received yellow card for fouling Yebda just outside the penalty box. In the 63rd minute Wright-Phillips replaced an ineffective Lennon. In the 65th minute, England had a scary moment as two Algerian players chased Terry’s casual back pass and English keeper James came out to clear the danger. In the 71st minute Gerrard hit a shot on goal that keeper Mbolhi saved. In the 72nd minute, keeper held on to a header from Gerrard. In the 74th minute Algeria replaced Boudebouz with Abdoun, while England replaced Heskey with Defoe. In the 75th minute, Gerrard and Lampard played one to one pass before releasing a ball towards Defoe, which Bougherra cleared with a sliding tackle. In the 84th minute, Peter Crouch replaced Heskey. In the 85nd minute, Algeria’s Lacen received a yellow card for a foul on Wright-Phillips. In the 88th minute, Belhadj took a looping free kick, which James caught safely. In the 91st minute, Defoe shot the ball way over the post.
In short, Algeria without threatening to score, kept England in bay with their overall performance. Rooney had a forgettable day and so was for many other English players. Wide players of England did not make use of the width unlike Algerians. For Algeria Bougherra, Belhadj and Ziani had great game. There were few fouls and only two yellow cards during whole of the match. England gave up ball too cheaply and there were no good co-ordination in attacks. With this draw England have only 2 points and they must beat Slovenia the group leaders to go through to the second round. Algeria with only one point in hand must beat USA for progressing.