Adversity brought England together says Upson

Defender Matthew Upson is confident the rumour and speculation surrounding the England camp in recent days will simply serve to strengthen their resolve.

Upson and his team-mates turned in a committed display at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth yesterday to belatedly launch their World Cup campaign and book their place in the second round.



Their 1-0 victory over Group C rivals Slovenia came after former captain John Terry sparked talk of rifts within the camp with his outspoken comments in the wake of disappointing performances and results in the opening two games against the United States and Algeria.



However, there was no lack of unity on the pitch last night, and certainly not after the final whistle when manager Fabio Capello joined his players in their celebrations, and Upson believes a stronger bond has been formed.



He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "You can use all those things and use all the rumours and all the accusations as fuel to improve and succeed and get tighter together.



"That's something we have improved on as a team and I think we can still get better at it, as we can in a lot of other areas.



"It's the key to winning, for me. Forget everything else, tactics, the lot - it is about you as human beings and people and what you are willing to commit and your attitude, and I thought we did that really well."



England's joy was partially tempered by the news of the USA's late winner against the Algerians in Pretoria, a goal which saw them top the group and pitch Capello's men into a potentially epic battle with old rivals Germany in Bloemfontein on Sunday.



But West Ham defender Upson is not unduly concerned at the prospect.



Asked if it mattered his side had not won the group, he replied: "To me it doesn't, personally.



"Some people say you need the best route to the final, which you would agree with - you want to play as weak teams as you can.



"But eventually, you are going to have to beat the best teams and Sunday will be a great opportunity for us to go into another situation where it is a win-only opportunity.



"That doesn't bother me."



Upson, of course, was in the team because of Ledley King's persisting fitness problems and Jamie Carragher's suspension, and he knows he may have a fight on his hands to line up against the Germans.



But whether he makes it or not, the 31-year-old will be able to reflect back upon an eventful World Cup finals debut, which saw him make a nervous start, but grow into his role.



Indeed, he contributed a vital late block to preserve England's hard-earned clean sheet as Slovenian made a final desperate push.



He said: "It was just an opportunity to win the ball. It had been flicked on and knocked down inside of me, and it's a reaction more than anything.



"You don't think, you just see it and you make the play for it. I got there, thankfully, and we saw it through.



"It was kind of straight into the cauldron, really and difficult circumstances in a way, but in others it was an opportunity to shine and to step up.



"I was pleased with the way things went and I thought we thoroughly deserved the win."



Terry and Wayne Rooney had earlier been denied by keeper Samir Handanovic, who pushed the striker's effort against the post, and England created more than enough chances to have won the game comfortably.



However, they had to endure a nervous final few minutes before eventually getting their reward.



Upson added: "I am sure it's a lot easier on the pitch, the blood pressure. You don't feel it, you just focus in on what is coming at you next.



"But I can imagine watching it is not a pleasant experience.



"We didn't quite kill the game off, maybe, how we would have liked. We created some good opportunities.



"But as long as we are creating those opportunities and our players are getting in there and in the right positions and are hungry to score, which they were, it's great for the team."



PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas