England 2 : 1 Italy

I have a say

Posted Thursday, August 16, 2012 by The Sun

England 2 : 1 Italy
HOLDING ROLE ... Lescott celebrates with Defoe

JERMAIN DEFOE is England’s most natural finisher since Michael Owen in his heyday.

But he has never been truly appreciated by either his club or his country.

Defoe managed 17 goals last season for Tottenham, despite spending half the time as a sub.

And, here in Berne, he came off his familiar perch on the bench to unleash a rasping winner from the edge of the box 11 minutes from time.

It was Defoe’s 16th England goal in 49 games, yet 32 of those have been substitute appearances.

Who knows what damage he could do if he started a bit more often?

This was a first victory over the Azzurri in 15 years — not that it made up for the penalty shootout defeat in the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 back in June.

In the intervening couple of months, England have actually risen to third in the world in the FIFA rankings compared to Italy’s sixth, though nobody takes that lofty position seriously.

That said, manager Roy Hodgson was rightly encouraged by what he saw in front of a spartan crowd on neutral territory in Switzerland.

The Three Lions’ midfield managed to keep the ball so much better than at the Euros.

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