Another tie is as good as a loss for England

England's Wayne Rooney walks off after his team managed only a draw against Algeria. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

England is looking nothing like the soccer power it's supposed to be.

Underdog Algeria held the Three Lions to a second disappointing World Cup draw, a 0-0 tie yesterday in Cape Town, that left Group C wide open and is sure to have English fans furious after their team arrived in South Africa as a pre-tourney favorite.

"If we want to stay in this tourney to the later stages we have to improve," England captain Steven Gerrard said. "We know the job we've got to go do, win the last game. You know to play at this level you've got to handle it, play under the pressure."

With Wayne Rooney held scoreless for the seventh straight match for his country, England lacked its touch against an opponent fighting to avoid becoming the first nation eliminated from the World Cup. England hasn't scored since the fourth minute of its opening match against the United States; Algeria hasn't scored at all.

Even Desert Foxes coach Rabah Saadane was surprised at England's poor performance.

"I thought they would be better," Saadane said. "They were not at their best."

"We weren't aggressive enough," Gerrard said. "We never had the cutting edge."

England coach Fabio Capello started 39-year-old goalkeeper David James to boost confidence in the team's defense. But it didn't matter on the offensive end. Rooney struggled again, was often too slow, and failed to muscle his way past the Algerian defense.

Fighting for World Cup survival, Algeria never dug in defensively as so many underdogs do. Instead, it took the game to England and looked to be as good as the English.

In another game yesterday:

* At Port Elizabeth, Milan Jovanovic scored 1 minute after German striker Miroslav Klose was ejected, giving Serbia a 1-0 upset win over the three-time World Cup champions.

In a game with a tournament-high nine yellow cards, Serbia goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic stopped Lukas Podolski's penalty kick for Germany in the 60th minute after Manchester United star Nemanja Vidic received a yellow card for a hand ball in the penalty area. The last time Germany failed to convert a non-shootout penalty at a World Cup was in 1974, a miss by Uli Hoeness against Poland.

The victory gave Serbia its first World Cup win as an independent nation. Both teams have three points after two games in Group D. Ghana also has three points, and plays its second match, against Australia, today.




* South African police have boosted their presence at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane amid concerns that stadium security guards might join colleagues at other World Cup venues who went on strike this week following a pay dispute with a contractor. Police have taken responsibility for stadium security at venues in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth since stewards began protests Sunday night.

* Spain has enlisted the help of local soccer fans to help the players get used to the sound of the vuvuzela. Potchefstroom mayor Andrew John Maphetle said the Spanish federation wants people to bring the plastic trumpet to its team's training sessions so it can get used to the blaring sound.

Spain plays Honduras on Monday after opening its World Cup with a stunning 1-0 loss to Switzerland on Wednesday.

* Jerry Palacios joined his two brothers on the Honduras squad at the World Cup yesterday, marking the first time a World Cup squad contains three brothers, with Jerry joining Wilson and Johnny.