The clock is ticking as the World Cup prepares for familiar battle.
Jermain Defoe says the England players have been practising penalties “pretty intensely” ahead of their World Cup last-16 clash with Germany on Sunday.
The Germans have twice beaten England on penalties at major tournaments – in the 1990 World Cup and at Euro 96.
Striker Defoe said the squad have taken penalties every day in South Africa.
Reports suggest manager Fabio Capello’s first five penalty takers will be Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, Gareth Barry and James Milner.
And Defoe, who scored in England’s 1-0 win over Slovenia which secured their place in the last 16, said although he hopes Sunday’s game is not decided by penalties, he would be happy to step up if required.
However, the Tottenham striker has missed six of his last 11 penalties, while Lampard and Gerrard both missed penalties for England in the World Cup quarter-final defeat by Portugal four years ago. (BBC Sport)
So there you have it. It seems inevitable that the game will go to penalties, if not all this penalty taking practice will come to nothing. David James can be handy at stopping spot kicks though so that’s half the battle if the 120 minutes amount to a stalemate England could be in with a shot.
John Terry has not been named in the initial five penalty takers apparently and that can only be a good thing. Of the five that have been selected I would have serious question marks about Gareth Barry, I know he can put away penalties with aplomb but I can see him being this year’s Gareth Southgate and Chris Waddle. I hope to god I am wrong.