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Rupert Wyman 23rd May 2010 - 15:50

An unenviable task for Capello

There are seven players in the England squad that will not be going to South Africa this summer, unless they fancy going on a safari with the family.

Capello has the unenviable task of notifying the players that are surplus to requirements in South Africa next week.

The friendlies against Mexico and Japan may help Capello make his final decision.  With a packed Wembley crowd expected tomorrow and pressure growing on those seen as 'squad' players, the game could make for an exciting occasion.

With the finale to the Championship and the Champions League having taken place this weekend, renewed patriotism and football fever is on the rise in England.

At pubs there are England specials on offer, it is now the BBQ season, there are flags hanging from cars and houses and Asda have reduced the price of the new England shirt, anticipating fantastic sales.

We are in the grip of football fever!

The pressure is on England to perform and never has it been so great. Expectancy is far higher now than it ever was under McClaren and England have a realistic chance in South Africa.

In the streets by Wembley tomorrow, a significant topic pre-match could be the starting eleven for the match against Mexico later in the evening. Capello stated that Rooney looked lethargic on arrival at England camp and I think it is unlikely he will start against the Mexicans.

I am not sure Capello is sure who will support Rooney at the World Cup, it could be either Crouch or Heskey.  Both these players should be sitting on the plane to South Africa, unless injury prevails.  Capello may play one half of the game with Rooney as a lone striker and see how the team adapt to different tactics.

In terms of punting, it is worth considering that it is unlikely Ashley Cole, Terry, Lampard or Joe Cole will start after an energy-sapping FA Cup final.

The gaffer may start with Adam Johnson on one wing and Walcott on the other, with the likelihood that only one of them will head to South Africa and play as an impact player.

Mexico are a decent side but they are not world beaters. Their current manager Javier Aguirre has made Mexico more resilient, the powerful but reckless Marquez will captain them. Giovani Dos Santos and Carlos Vela should play a part in the game.

Mexico's form is not as strong away from home, but the manager will see the match as ideal preparation for the World Cup with England classed as difficult opposition.  They play France in the group stages and England are a similar proposition.

England are 4/9 to win with Mexico priced at 6/1, I would have a small flutter on under 2.5 goals at 10/11. Although yesterday's Championship Play-off final was a goal fest, the pitch will be worse for wear from the match and it will not suit England's passing game.

Another factor is the time wasted due to substitutions and it may be hard for England to get into a rhythm. The England team may drastically change after half time, should Capello feel the need to test a new formation or other squad players, further affecting their rhythm.

I would consider backing the double result, Draw/ England win at 16/5. It could take England a while to settle and they may nick the match in the second half. I do not fancy the England/England at 21/20 and with an in-form prolific Rooney and Lampard coming off the bench at half time, Mexico may struggle to contain England's attacks.



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