Slovenia vs England – Capello turns to Defoe in hour of need
England are set to recall Jermain Defoe as they desperately search for ways to resuscitate their faltering World Cup campaign. They take on Slovenia at 3pm.
Defoe, who is 5/1 to score first, is expected to partner Wayne Rooney in attack as Fabio Capello keeps faith with his favoured 4-4-2 formation.
Playing alongside Defoe may be a relief to Rooney, who has so far been burdened by England’s goalscoring responsibilities in South Africa. Should the two combine well, it could be worth backing England to score over 2.5 goals against Slovenia, at 2/1.
Despite his useful link-up play, Emile Heskey’s maladroit finishing seems to have cost him his starting place.
Heskey’s England record of seven goals from 60 caps is made all the more unimpressive when compared to that of his replacement. Defoe has 11 international goals from 41 appearances, most of which have been as a replacement.
And while he is occasionally wayward, Defoe’s penchant for shooting from more or less anywhere on the pitch makes him a far more potent goal threat than the ambling Heskey.
Capello may tinker with his strategy, and he may employ a 4-3-1-2 system with Steven Gerrard (6/1 to open the scoring) allowed to roam in a free role between midfield in attack.
Whatever the precise nature of the midfield’s appearance, the decision to start with Defoe is a clear indication of England’s attacking intent.
And with no margin for error, the onus is on England to stave off the Armageddon that would supposedly follow group stage elimination. England are 4/9 to win.