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Page last updated at 08:05 GMT, Friday, 25 June 2010 09:05 UK

World Cup 2010: Defoe reveals England penalty practice

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Defoe undeterred by route to final

Jermain Defoe says the England players have been practising penalties "pretty intensely" ahead of their World Cup last-16 clash with Germany on Sunday.

The Germans have twice beaten England on penalties at major tournaments - in the 1990 World Cup and at Euro 96.

Striker Defoe said the squad have taken penalties every day in South Africa.

Reports suggest manager Fabio Capello's first five penalty takers will be Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, Gareth Barry and James Milner.

And Defoe, who scored in England's 1-0 win over Slovenia which secured their place in the last 16, said although he hopes Sunday's game is not decided by penalties, he would be happy to step up if required.

Jermain Defoe

Defoe puts England ahead against Slovenia

However, the Tottenham striker has missed six of his last 11 penalties, while Lampard and Gerrard both missed penalties for England in the World Cup quarter-final defeat by Portugal four years ago.

Lampard has also missed his last two penalties, in the FA Cup final and England's friendly against Japan and Milner missed a spot-kick for England Under-21s in the semi-final of the European Championships against Sweden last year.

But Defoe said: "There is pressure, but it is a nice pressure because if you score you know it means so much to everyone at home and it is helping the team achieve something special.

"We have been practicing pretty intensely. We're not doing the walk from halfway but there is still pressure because all the lads are standing there. If you miss you are going to get a little bit of banter.

"But most of it is in the mind."

Twenty years ago, England suffered heartbreak in the World Cup semi-finals when Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle missed their spot-kicks as West Germany triumphed.

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Six years later, a by-now unified Germany were victorious in the European Championship semi-finals, with Gareth Southgate this time missing the crucial penalty for England.

In South Africa however, Cologne forward Lukas Podolski missed the first penalty by Germany outside a shoot-out since 1974 when his effort was saved in their defeat by Serbia.

But Germany have only ever missed two in shoot-outs and captain Phillip Lahm said although his side have not focussed on penalties in training, he would be confident if the game goes the distance.

"Maybe it will go to penalties - that could suit us," said Lahm.

"I think we are mentally good, we will be prepared for it. We practise penalties sometimes, not every player, but sometimes.

"I hope the English won't be so confident."

Defoe is eager the "biggest match" of his career does not follow a similar pattern to previous encounters against the Germans.

The 27-year-old was part of a much improved England display against Slovenia, after disappointing draws with the United States and Algeria and Defoe revealed "the lads are buzzing".

"It's not just because of the win but because of the performance," he added.

"From front to back, everyone played well. The spirit was good, and if we play with the same spirit we have a good chance.

"Germany are fantastic in major tournaments, it won't be easy. They are a good side, they move the ball well, they have good movement and they are organised.

England striker Wayne Rooney
Rooney was substituted in the second half against Slovenia

"But we are a great side. It's important for us not to take our foot off the gas, be confident and look forward to the game.

"The manager, Fabio Capello, has told us 'you're great players and we can win the World Cup, keep it going'.

"We have a strong squad, a good mix of players and we have a good chance."

One lucky omen could be that England will once again line up in their all-red kit, as they did against Slovenia.

Capello's side have again elected to wear red shorts, as opposed to the white ones they originally intended to adorn in their away strip.

Meanwhile, striker Wayne Rooney calmed fears about his fitness by taking part in light training with his team-mates in Rustenburg on Thursday.

Rooney was substituted after 72 minutes against Slovenia on Wednesday because of an ankle problem.

But he trained in the gym alongside the other players who featured in the game, boosting hopes he will be fit to face Germany.

Michael Carrick and Aaron Lennon missed training with ankle injuries.

But centre-back Ledley King, who is recovering from a groin strain suffered in England's opening game against the United States, was able to return to the training ground, although he did not do any contact work and was restricted to an individual session.

It is unclear when the 29-year-old will be available, but his appearance raised hopes that he might be fit for a potential quarter-final meeting with either Argentina or Mexico in Cape Town, should England manage to get past the Germans.



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see also
England striker faces phone trial
25 Jun 10 |  England
Germany fret over Schweinsteiger
24 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Beckenbauer sorry for England dig
25 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
England spirit delights Capello
23 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Coach Loew wary of England test
23 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Highlights - Slovenia 0-1 England
23 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010


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