Monday, 7 June 2010


England cruised to a 3-0 win over South African club side Platinum Stars as they completed their warm-up for the World Cup.

Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe got England off to a great start when he tapped home Steven Gerrard's lay-off in the third minute of the game but the Three Lions struggled to find their form in the first half.

The Platinum Stars had a chance to level from the spot shortly after Defoe's strike but Bradley Grobler fired his penalty harmlessly over the crossbar.

Joe Cole, the only England player to complete the whole ninety minutes, got the second after a quick break from Wayne Rooney before Rooney got himself on the score sheet as he volleyed home James Milner's cross to round off the best move of the match.

The match had many pundits and fans fearing the worst due to the close proximity of England's opening game against the USA on Saturday but the team managed to come through the game without picking up any injuries.

Many questions remain unanswered as to Capello's preferred starting line-up with few England players doing anything to confirm their place on the team sheet in this final warm-up game.

All four strikers got forty five minutes on the pitch with Spurs striker Peter Crouch partnering his club mate, Defoe, in the first half before the pair were replaced by Emile Heskey and Rooney at half time.

This leaves the question unanswered as to who will partner Rooney against the USA with neither Crouch nor Heskey having an impact on the game. It would be something of a surprise should pint-sized Defoe make the first eleven as that would surely see Rooney play a deeper role to support his strike partner, something Fabio Capello has shied away from in the past.

There also remains questions as to who will start on the flanks for England with Shaun Wright-Phillips and Aaron Lennon both desperate to fill the right midfield berth. However Joe Cole's performance may have done enough to convince Capello he is worthy of starting on the left with Steven Gerrard moving into the middle to partner Frank Lampard.

Ledley King seems set to partner John Terry in defence after Rio Ferdinand's heart wrenching injury in training, while it still remains a mystery who will wear the gloves for the Three Lions.

Joe Hart started today's game and was replaced by Rob Green at half time although neither were given much of a chance to prove their worth. Portsmouth's David James is the most experienced of the three and has been handed the No. 1 by Capello which would make him the favourite to start in Rustenberg.

There's certainly plenty of decisions left for Fabio to make.

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