Defoe confident of winning


Without straying completely into Brothers Grimm territory, the gist of the German saying is that those who are scared of walking through a forest whistle to keep up their spirits, pretending they are fine.
Defoe sounded commendably full of belief when discussing shoot-outs, arguing it was time the English “forgot” a record that lists spot-kick defeats to the Germans at Italia 90 and Euro 96, to Argentina at the World Cup in 1998, and to Portugal at Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
A new spirit floods the England camp, following the cathartic victory over Slovenia, and a welcome commitment to practising penalties in training gives England hope going into Sunday’s round of 16 game in Bloemfontein.
If England line up with Jamie Carragher replacing Matthew Upson, then Fabio Capello will have plenty of players experienced at penalty-taking, albeit not always successfully.
Capello has 23 names in order and those on the pitch at the end of extra time will not be allowed to shirk their responsibility.
“I can understand when you look at what’s happened over the years that people remember losing on penalties to the Germans but it’s a different game, a different time,” argued Defoe.
“I would think ‘forget about that’.” Defoe has missed six of his last 11 penalties for Spurs but was upbeat, focusing on events in England training.
Asked why some players are better at penalties, Defoe replied: “Maybe they practise more.” Running counter to the philosophies of previous coaches like Glenn Hoddle and Sven-Goran Eriksson, Defoe’s premise makes sense.
“The more penalties you take in training the more confident you feel going into the games,” he added. “Most of it is in the mind to be honest.”
At the end of every session since the pre-tournament camp in Austria, Capello has staged a shoot-out, rotating his three keepers.
“You’ve got Jamo (David James) standing there screaming ‘Come on, are you boys up for it?’ We aren’t doing the walk from halfway as some countries do. You do feel the pressure because you’ve got all the lads standing there. If you miss you are going to get a little bit of banter.”—Reuters