Algerian spirit tightens up table

[ENGLAND-ALGERIA] England was outfoxed by Algeria in a game that ended 0-0 and left all four teams in Group C with a shot at reaching the round of 16. Here's what we liked and didn't like about the game ...

What we liked ...

Algeria gave England more than it wanted in tightening up Group C with a 0-0 tie. Defenders Madjid Bougherra and Nadir Belhadj, and forward Karim Matmour all looked far more deserving of a fat Premier League salary than their opponents, who outshot Algeria, 12-4, while never looking particularly fluid or confident. The Algerians also gave the U.S. a warning that the final day of group play isn’t going to be any less intense.

Former English international Steve McManaman banged his head on the ESPN desk in exasperation over England’s torpid play. He named names, too, calling out Wayne Rooney for a particularly dreadful performance and stating quite clearly where he thought the English were deficient. Now, he’d probably be insufferably smug if England had played well, but kudos to him for not playing apologist for his countrymen.

What we didn't like ...

Rooney struggled through an off-day against the USA, yet simply stunk in the Algeria game and took out his frustration on the irate English fans. He short-circuited promising sequences with terrible touches, ran into double-teams and blind alleys, and rarely linked competently with any of his teammates. “Roo-bish!” and "Roo-boo-zela!” appeared in the tabloids after he’d ripped into the England fans for booing their team off the field. Really, Roo, what did you expect?

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