Defensive call for Capello

  • By: Press Association Sport staff
  • Last Updated: June 26 2010, 15:02 BST

Fabio Capello says his only selection decision ahead of Sunday's clash with Germany is who will partner former captain John Terry in the centre of defence.

Capello - must decide on Terry's partner.

The England coach revealed all 23 players are available for the last-16 match at Bloemfontein, including fit-again Ledley King.

The Tottenham player featured in the opening Group C draw against the United States but picked up a groin injury which meant Matthew Upson and Jamie Carragher have both figured since.

However, King has now recovered and trained with the remainder of the England squad on Saturday. Capello said: "He was training normally with the other players. I'm really happy.

"I will have to decide the player who plays with John Terry. Upson, Carragher and King have played well but I have to choose."

Asked by BBC Radio Five Live's Mike Ingham if that was the only selection decision he has to make, Capello said: "More or less."

Capello brushed off Franz Beckenbauer's comment that England could pay for not topping their group, unlike Joachim Low's side.

The German legend suggested the Three Lions had been "stupid" for finishing behind the United States, whose next opponents were Ghana.

And Capello said: "I respect Beckenbauer, he's a friend of mine...the pressure is really big here in the World Cup.

"All the teams want to finish first but sometimes you can't. I'm happy now because we have found the spirit and physically the situation is really, really good. All the players are fit. All 23 trained today.

"It's normal for England players to be tired at the end of the season because they played a lot of games. Not like in Germany in Bundesliga when they are always fresh when they arrive at the World Cup because there is a winter break in the Bundesliga.

"There are different moments. When you play the first two games it's really, really difficult because you are looking at the table and points, thinking 'what will happen if we win or lose?'

"To play-off is better. There is normal pressure now."

The history of matches between England and Germany is not lost on the Italian.

He continued: "They are both really good teams, the nation is behind us and all the people of the world know the value of this (match) to the teams.

"It's a really big game - one of the best you can see before the semi-finals."

The 1990 World Cup and 1996 European Championships ended with England losing penalty shoot-outs to Germany - and Capello has been making sure his players have been getting plenty of practice from the spot.

He added: "We have practised penalties every day...I hope it's not necessary to take penalties (in tomorrow's game)."

And on Wayne Rooney, whose performance in the win over Slovenia was much improved on the displays against the United States and Algeria, Capello said: "He is one of the most important players in the world.

"He played a good game (against Slovenia). There was a fantastic assist for Steven Gerrard. He should do really well and I'm happy about his performance."

Meanwhile, Stuart Pearce - who missed from the spot against Germany in 1990 - believes confidence is high in the England camp.

He told the FA website: "We are buoyant at the moment.

"We have Jamie Carragher back from suspension and Ledley King back as well, so we are near enough at full strength and everyone is vying for a starting place.

"When you come to these tournaments you stress to the players that it is a squad situation and you can only win the World Cup with a squad.

"Sometimes one or two players take that with a pinch of salt if they don't start the first couple of games, but when you use 19 out of 23 in the first three matches, it could eventually become all 23 if we are lucky enough to progress."

Pearce will have a detailed insight into the German side too, given Joachim Low's squad contains six members of the party that hammered his own England Under-21 side in last summer's European Championship final in Sweden, including star man Mesut Ozil.

"The Germans have brought through a number of players from last summer who are doing particularly well," said Pearce.

"The likes of Ozil and Manuel Neuer have had an impact already as well as one or two others, so if I can have a little bit of knowledge from researching these players last summer I'll certainly feed that in."