Capello mulling over strike combinations

Posted Thursday, March 04, 2010 by PA

Peter Crouch gave England manager Fabio Capello a World Cup dilemma when he came off the bench to score two goals in England's 3-1 victory against Egypt at Wembley.

Crouch, who also took the man-of-the-match award, replaced his Tottenham team-mate Jermain Defoe at half-time with England a goal down in a performance which could have booked the 6ft 7in striker his ticket on the plane to South Africa for the World Cup finals - but Capello was giving little away, instead insisting it had been vital to see Defoe playing alongside Wayne Rooney.

Capello said: "Peter Crouch is in one good moment of form. He played very well but it was not only he who played very well. All the team played a good game. Crouch is one of the important players and he has played a lot of matches for me. He is in an important moment of form but when I select the squad I will tell you all the players can play."

He added: "I wanted to see what happens with Rooney and Defoe. I know what happens when Rooney is with Crouch and Heskey and Carlton Cole. It is important for the World Cup to see how they can play together."

Crouch's two goals, however, mean he has struck 20 goals in 37 matches for his country, a prolific strike rate which puts him up there with the best.

His equaliser was especially important, coming in the 56th minute after Egypt had gone in 1-0 up at the interval thanks to a slip from central defender Matthew Upson which allowed striker Mohamed Zidan to open the scoring.

Crouch's second wrapped up the game after Shaun Wright-Phillips had also capped an impressive second half performance with a goal of his own.

It left Capello admitting Wright-Phillips' performance was "really important" and saluting the Wembley crowd for a night in which they put unity before abuse.

There were a smattering of early boos for former captain John Terry in the wake of the high-profile scandal going on in his private life but they were quickly drowned out as the crowd got behind the team which will carry the hopes of the nation to the World Cup in 14 weeks time.

Capello said: "Thank you for the crowd. They supported the team and John Terry. This was a most important game for him after what happened outside the pitch. He played a fantastic game like I know he can do at this level."

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