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England v Mexico: Whither the Defense?

Ledley King and Peter Crouch celebrate England's first goal against Mexico. Photo courtesy of BBC Football.
Ledley King and Peter Crouch celebrate England's first goal against Mexico. Photo courtesy of BBC Football.

Although England managed to score twice in the first half of their friendly against Mexico, there wasn't much for Fabio Capello to smile about. Mexico's defensive weakness showed through in two set pieces, both which resulted in balls bouncing off some part of Peter Crouch and managing to cross the goal line (one with a healthy assist from the head of Ledley King) Yet England's back line also showed major weaknesses, with much of the defense pushing forward and leaving gaping holes in the back. Johnson, Baines, Ferdinand and King combined to make much of the England crowd cringe, yet somehow Mexico didn't manage to score until the very end of the first half.

The Lions pulled off an impressive goal in the beginning of the second, when Glen Johnson took the ball from inside his own half through the midfield and shot a screamer into the top of the net. England perked up a bit, with Jermaine Defoe replacing Crouch, Jamie Carragher coming on for captain Rio Ferdinand (Steven Gerrard took the armband), and Robert Green giving way to Joe Hart in goal. James Milner, who looked fairly ordinary in the first half, surprisingly found his footing on the wing, where he moved when the disappointing Michael Carrick was replaced by Tom Huddlestone. Milner also managed to pick up the slack left by Leighton Baines, who was abysmal at left back. Ashley Cole might be scum, but he's a talented scum and England need his presence in the back.

Unfortunately, with Stephen Warnock sitting out the full match, it seems fairly certain that he won't be heading to South Africa. I have no idea what leads Capello to favor Baines. I don't deny that Baines has been in form for Everton, but nothing he has show in an England kit has proved that he should be on the field. And as for the other Villan on the bench, Emile Heskey, don't read too much into his absence. Although Crouch is bagging the goals, Fabio still has a love for the target man.

With 7 cuts to make, who do you think Capello will field on Sunday against Japan? Who do you think he's cast aside already?