It was somewhat of a relief to see a sharper, more fluid ,England overcome Slovenia by the slimmest of margins on Wednesday, 1-0. However, it was a match they should have won 3-0 if not for the wasteful finishing by, of all people, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney. All England fans had to sweat it out for the last half-hour knowing one slip or flash of brilliance from Slovenia and it would mean England were out. Nervous times, but still it made for exciting football.
The major consequence of not scoring one more goal is that fact England finished second in their pool and now face the winners of Group D, Germany, which without doubt will be a tough, tough game. (Please God no penalties). But if we are to live the dream of England reaching the final, even winning the World Cup (I know, I know wishful thinking beyond belief) they will have to beat some of the world’s top sides at some point. And if they do make it past Germany their next match will more than likely be against Argentina. Now there’s a great grudge match we’d all love to see!
But for all the joy of qualifying for the knock-out stages the biggest concern for all England fans is the form of Wayne Rooney. He has been outstanding all season and anyone would have bet on him having a major impact in South Africa. But alas, so far, he has been but as shadow of the guy that was cracking in goals all season.
If England are to beat Germany on Sunday they will need Rooney to be at his best and terrorize the German defence.