Defoe clinches come-from-behind England win

editorial image
0
Have your say

After gorging on an Olympic feast, Jermain Defoe’s 80th-minute served up another treat for England’s sporting public as they secured a rare win over Italy.

In truth, after the Lord Mayor’s Show, Boris Johnson would have had difficulty hyping this one up.

But with five debutants, including an excellent performance from second-half substitute John Ruddy, Michael Carrick easing himself back into the international fold and revenge, of sorts, for that Euro 2012 exit, Roy Hodgson’s troops can be delighted with their efforts last night.

Defoe’s 20-yard shot was enough to complete a comeback too, as former Sheffield United player Phil Jagielka also scored to give England their first win over Italy since 1997.

Fifty-two days since that shattering quarter-final shoot-out defeat in Kiev, the atmosphere could not have been more different.

A 30,000-capacity stadium in Switzerland that was barely half full for a game few had any appetite for.

Yet, with only Ashley Young surviving from the team that started that last eight defeat, so many had a point to prove.

Three would have gone to the Finals but for injury, Carrick made himself unavailable, Tom Cleverley never had a chance to prove his worth and four were in Poland and Ukraine but had only a peripheral role.

Amongst them was Jack Butland. The Birmingham keeper has had an amazing summer. League Two with Cheltenham, to third choice England keeper, Olympics and now this.

Indeed, when Hodgson’s squad was announced on Friday, the intention had been to send Butland back to Birmingham on Tuesday so he could feature in their Capital One Cup victory over Barnet.