England claim warm-up victory

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Football News

England warmed up for Wednesday's crucial World Cup qualifier with Croatia by overcoming Slovenia 2-1 at Wembley thanks to goals from Frank Lampard and substitute Jermain Defoe.

Lampard broke the deadlock from the penalty spot after 31 minutes when Bostjan Cesar was adjudged to have fouled Wayne Rooney.

Then substitute Defoe made it five goals in his last three internationals after 63 minutes before Zlatan Ljubijankic scored a late consolation for Slovenia.

Now coach Fabio Capello must decide whether to leave things as they are, or elevate Defoe into his starting line-up at Wembley next week, when the Three Lions know victory will book their place at South Africa 2010.

Capello has quite a lot of thinking to do as Wayne Rooney failed to convert three chances to score, having one shot blocked, another hit a post and a third booted off the line.

He could claim an assist for England's opener though as he was the man dragged down in the box to allow Lampard to drive home the penalty.

The Manchester United striker had already glanced a near-post header wide from Glen Johnson's cross when he cut inside Miso Brecko and Cesar, then opened up his angle for a shot that would have tested the Slovenian goal if Cesar had not recovered his ground.

It did seem Rooney was beating the ground more in frustration than expectation when he was sent tumbling by Cesar as the pair tussled to reach Steven Gerrard's cross, but referee Jonas Eriksson was well disposed to England and had spotted the shirt-pulling that preceded it. Lampard drove home the spot-kick.

As promised, Capello made four changes at the interval, which led to a rather disjointed opening to the second period, but within 18 minutes of Defoe's arrival, he had taken his tally to five in what constitutes three second-half substitute appearances.

Fellow new arrival Aaron Lennon returned a pass to his Tottenham team-mate. Defoe still had plenty to do but found a shot which sliced through a gaggle of Slovenian defenders and ended up in the bottom corner.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Tottenham Hotspur
Aaron Lennon
League One
Glen Johnson
Manchester United
Jermain Defoe
Wayne Rooney
Steven Gerrard
Bostjan Cesar

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