Jermain Defoe’s goal in the 22nd minute beat Slovenia 1-0 and helped the three lions move into the knockout stages of the World Cup. But is his miss in the 47th minute that might ultimately decide how far England go in the tournament.
Defoe was all alone, less then ten yards from goal and has flick went just wide of the goal. If it had went in England would have won the group and the U..S. would have finished second.
What is the difference you ask?
Well as the group winners the U.S. plays Ghana in the round of 16, and the winner of that game gets the winner of Uruguay and South Korea in the quarter-finals. Not to underestimate any of these sides, but England would have been favored to beat them all and move into the semi-finals where they would meet Holland or Brazil.
Ghana is a good side, but not a great side, and the U.S. has to feel confident that they can win on Saturday and progress to the quarter-finals. Uruguay has Forlan up front but they are far from being the best team in South America. I would put Brazil, Argentina and Chile ahead of them. That means the U.S. has a decent chance of beating Uruguay in the quarter-finals and all of a sudden they are in the semi-finals of the World Cup.
Instead of that passage to the semi-finals England must now go through some of their biggest rivals. First England will play Germany in the round of 16.England v Germany is never an easy game and this is a good German team. if England wins then they will play the winner of Argentina v Mexico in the quarter-finals.
There are few bigger rivals in world football than England v Argentina, especially with Diego “Hand of God” Maradona coaching Argentina. The build-up to this game would incredible.
Then if England beat Argentina waiting for them in the semi-finals will probably be Spain. That is three extremely tough games in a row for England. But for one miss, it could have been so much easier for England.