Crouch makes convincing case for World Cup place

Peter Crouch came off the bench last night to give England victory over Egypt. Two second half goals took the Tottenham striker’s England tally to 20 in 37 games. More importantly, the first gave England a springboard for success in a World Cup warm up which had threatened to go the way of a skillful Egyptian side. So what have the papers got to say this morning?

“Peter Crouch substitutes goals for England's first-half sloppiness,” says Kevin McCarra of The Guardian. Early openings aside, it took a long time for England to dominate this match. They must learn to take their chances.

“Crouch on target to conquer Pharaohs,” is the headline in The Independent. Capello talks of the squad, not individuals, perhaps so he can avoid mentioning disappointing outings from Walcott and Defoe. By contrast, Baines and substitute Carrick hardly put a foot wrong.

“England are taking the high road to South Africa,” says Henry Winter in The Telegraph.

The Times prefers a John Terry angle: “Fabio Capello hails John Terry after England fans' jeers turn to cheers.” I can’t help think this does a massive disservice to Crouch. Let’s put the Terry story to bed now – please.

“Has he [Crouch] done enough to be a World Cup starter?,” asks the Daily Mail. Well, has he?

And Dan Silver’s Mirror Football Blog has “10 things we learned from England v Egypt.” The list includes “Wembley really is a Mecca for football. The Egyptian players' prostrate goal celebration merely confirmed what we'd known all along”. In addition, “The John Terry scandal has actually improved England's team spirit. It certainly explains why they played so badly in the first half - they wanted to give the Wembley crowd as many chances as possible to spread the booing around the whole team.” For more click here.

There were three other matches involving England’s Group C opponents last night:

Algeria 0 - 3 Serbia

Slovenia 4 - 1 Qatar

Holland 2 - 1 USA

On a different note, I understand Thierry Henry was booed at the Stade de France last night as Spain ran out easy 2 – 0 winners. Apparently even the French are embarrassed by his Handball antics in November. And Henry is beginning to embody France’s current malaise: old, tired and toothless, at least by comparison with Torres and Villa.

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