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The Toe Poke
By ESPN Staff

Capello won't be drawn on Cole Croatia role

England coach Fabio Capello has still to decide whether to give two-goal hero Joe Cole a starting place for Wednesday's World Cup qualifier with Croatia - after a row with the Chelsea midfielder.

Cole came off the bench at half-time to spare Capello's blushes after England failed to score against minnows Andorra during the first 45 minutes at the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona.

The 26-year-old broke the deadlock after 49 minutes and then added a second goal six minutes later to seal a 2-0 win for England in their opening qualifier.

It was the second time that Cole had bailed out Capello after snatching a last-gasp equaliser in the friendly international with the Czech Republic at Wembley last month.

But television pictures then showed Capello venting his anger towards the former West Ham player and Wayne Rooney after they had failed to obey his tactical demands.

Cole has not featured in the starting line-up for England's last four internationals and Capello said: ''Yes, I have got to think about Joe. He is very good for himself at the moment and very good for us.

''But I have to decide what the first 11 will be against Croatia. It will be another game - and it will a different sort of game.''

As regards the row with Cole and Rooney, Capello explained: ''When we started the second half, the two of them played near Emile Heskey. But when we went 2-0 up, they both then started to come back into midfield.

''I was asking them to go forward again because Heskey was all on his own. That is what I was trying to transmit to them.''

Capello admitted the introduction of Heskey and Joe Cole had helped to revive England's fortunes.

He said: ''We started very well and for about 15 minutes Theo Walcott was incredible.

''But after not taking one or two chances to score a goal we started playing too slowly. It was not easy to find space when you have opposition putting nine players behind the ball.

''Near the box it was impossible to find space. But in the second half I changed it.

''Emile is big, has nice movement and creates space while Joe Cole at this moment is scoring goals for fun.

''The team came out early for the second half but that was not because I was angry, it was because the dressing room we were in was very warm, and we needed to get some air.''

Capello admitted the game will be much different in Croatia.

He said: ''I will be happy if Croatia play like Andorra! But I don't think that is going to happen.''

Andorra coach David Rodrigo claimed his side had achieved a moral victory by restricting England to only two goals against a nation ranked 186 in the FIFA rankings.

He said: ''We understand we will not beat England but even though we lost 2-0 I am very proud.

''That is twice now we have managed to stop them scoring in the first 45 minutes of game. It will be nice if we could do it for 90 minutes.

''We did a good technical job on them. We did ourselves proud and this was a moral victory for us.''


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