Defoe hands England 2-2 draw with The Netherlands

Substitute Jermain Defoe struck twice after the break to spare the blushes of England’s defenders and earn Fabio Capello’s side a 2-2 draw in a friendly with The Netherlands on Wednesday.

England were punished for two blunders at the back in the first half as they fell 2-0 behind through opportunist strikes from Dirk Kuyt and Rafael van der Vaart.

England improved greatly after the break and speedy substitute Defoe beat the Dutch defence to poke home before sliding in an equaliser with 13 minutes remaining.

”I am not angry about the mistakes we made for the goals — they were just silly mistakes,” Capello told reporters after an entertaining match.

”I spoke with the players about it and such mistakes are possible when you are under pressure.

”It is better we made them tonight than during a World Cup qualifier,” the Italian added.

In the 10th minute, striker Dutch Kuyt intercepted a sloppy back pass from Rio Ferdinand before calmly sidestepping goalkeeper Rob Green to open the scoring.

Another poor short pass, this time from Gareth Barry, allowed the Dutch their second in the 37th minute when Van der Vaart shot into an empty net after Green had parried Arjen Robben’s shot.

England, without the injured Steven Gerrard, began the match with wingers David Beckham and Ashley Young, but it was only after the introduction of Shaun Wright-Phillips and James Milner that they started to threaten.

”We faced problems when England played more offensively,” Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk told reporters.

”Before the break they lacked speed with Beckham and [Emile] Heskey, but in the second half we came under pressure and didn’t handle that well.” — Reuters

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