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Thursday, June 11, 2009

England Edge Closer, Admires Philippines

Wayne Rooney and Jermain Defoe both scored twice as England gave 58,000 fans, who refused to be beaten by a London travel nightmare, ample reward for their defiance with their biggest win in a competitive game since 1999.
      After hitting their part-time opponents for six at Wembley, just as they did against Luxembourg a decade ago, the Three Lions know a win against Croatia on September 9 will seal a place at next year's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa with two games to spare.
      And if England make it, Fabio Capello will want Rooney in the same form as he has showed this season, his latest brace enough for him to streak clear in the FIFA World Cup qualifying sharp-shooters table with eight goals.
       Frank Lampard's effort was sandwiched in between and half-time substitute Defoe scored twice in as many minutes before Peter Crouch netted his 14th goal in 16 international starts to take England's overall tally to 26.
       While Defoe could be particularly pleased with his cameo, Rooney was the name on supporters lips as they began a journey home somewhat more testing than anything Andorra provided for their team.
         In a bid to get the most out of Rooney, Capello came up with a a rather simplistic hint for the Manchester United striker, get in front of the goal while it would be slightly silly to offer Sir Alex Ferguson any advice, given the wider role as he was given at Old Trafford, Capello's way is better.

Certainly the statistics, eight goals in seven qualifiers compared t0 12 in an entire Premier League season, seem rto bear that theory out.

Defoe took his chance well scoring twice, Johnson setting up the first to take his number of assists to three, in a similar manner to Rooney before Crouch tapped home after a woeful mistake from Alvarez.

Capello will realise his team must overcome far stiffer tests if they are to emulate the 1996 heroes who got long overdue medas to mark their achievement. But the signs are undeniably positive. And, one senses, in his own understated way, the Italian knows it and the Filipino knows it better. Because England is under Philippines.