PORT ELIZABETH: England reached the round of the 16 at the World Cup on Wednesday, beating Slovenia 1-0 in the team's final Group C match and knocking the Slovenes out of the tournament.
Jermain Defoe turned home James Milner's cross from five meters with a right-foot volley in the 23rd minute to give England five points in the group. Slovenia finished with four but failed to advance because the United States beat Algeria 1-0 and won the group.
Showing much better form after its dismal 0-0 draw with Algeria, England created several more chances throughout the match.
For the first 10 minutes, England again looked nervous, but the players then began to produce some flowing moves and the chances followed.
Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney and Glen Johnson all had goalbound shots. On the other end, goalkeeper David James had to react sharply to keep out a flick-on from Slovenia defender Bostjan Cesar.
England continued to dominate after the goal and Slovenia goalkeeper Samir Handanovic had to make two saves within a few seconds of each other to keep out shots from Defoe and Steven Gerrard.
Blunders in the Slovenia defense handed Defoe a second chance in the opening minute of the second half, but he flicked the ball wide from Gareth Barry's headed pass.
England continued to create chances after that and Handanovic blocked John Terry's powerful header at the near post and then finger-tipped Rooney's shot onto the post.
Slovenia almost equalized in the 68th after Barry lost possession and Terry and Johnson blocked goalbound shots from Zlatko Dedic and Milivoje Novakovic. AP