England slips by Trinidad & Tobago
England snuck one out in its second game of group play yesterday in Nuremberg, and its a good thing.While England outplayed Trinidad and Tobago for the majority of the game, the Brits were lucky to come out of it with three points.As the chanting songs from the English fans came pouring over the pitch, the name of the game was defense. Englands solid back half made sure to not give up any chances or even much of the play to Trinidad while Trinidads back line and goalkeeper Shaka Hislop held Englands rather uninventive attack from any serious chances at least in the first half.The play of the game came during the close of the first half when England keeper Paul Robinson missed a cross, leaving Avery John to head the ball on target. It was John Terry who brilliantly hooked the ball out of the goal-mouth to keep the game even.In the second half, the Brits proved that they deserved the game, except for one menacing habit: a complete lack of finishing ability.Whether it was a poor cross into the box or a botched final touch, the ball was sent over the bar or over the box time and time again.Across the board Englands attackers missed golden opportunities. Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Micheal Owen and Peter Crouch all could have put the game away.By the time Crouch finally put one in the back of the net a lovely finish off an even more lovely long cross from David Beckham England should have been up by five goals.In the first minute of injury time, Gerrard finally made good on a chance, blasting a rocket into the upper-V to break the backs of the Soca Warriors.John answered for Trinidad a minute later with a cheeky little flick past Robinson. However, he was in an offside position, leaving Trinidad down by two to close out the match.While England did what it had to do, for the second time in a row Sven Goran Erikssons boys barely snuck by a lesser opponent, and could have very easily seen a different result.Englands inability to finish is not their only problem. While they did create a handful of good opportunities, their beat-the-whole-team-with-one-ball style will most likely fail against masterful teams such as Brazil, Italy or Germany.With no superstars on the squad boasting lightning speed or incredible talent, England cannot afford to bank on one pass and then something amazing from a single player.The Brits poster boy, Wayne Rooney, did bring something to the game when he was subbed in 15 minutes into the second half, but it was nothing spectacular enough to warrant overwhelming praise.However, with two wins England looks to have little worries left in group play. In the second round the Brits will most likely face either Germany or Ecuador, both teams capable of knocking England if they are allowed to hang around as along as Trinidad and Tobago was.Alex Close is a sports reporter with the Sierra Sun.
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