The England team, and the thousands of fans who have made the trip to South America, arrived in Brazil yesterday to the shock news that the glamour friendly in the most famous stadium in the Maracana had been suspended.
Safety fears led to Judge Adriana Costa dos Santos applying for an injunction to suspend the fixture, due to be England's first at the Maracana since 1984.
To say Defoe was unhappy would be an under-statement. The Tottenham striker was just one year and eight months old the last time England played here, but he is fully aware of the history between the two footballing greats, and is fully-versed on the brilliance of John Barnes' 1984 wonder goal.
He was therefore delighted to hear that the decision was overturned today despite the fact that building work is still going in around the venue, which has cost £300million to revamp.
"I was at dinner last night when I heard (the game was suspended) and I said: "please don't let the game be off'," the Tottenham striker said.
"I am so happy the game is on now. It's something you think about as a kid - wanting to play for England against Brazil so to actually come here and play in the stadium will be fantastic."
Defoe's determination to play in the most iconic stadium in the world even means he is willing to risk damaging his Achilles heel to do so.
The Tottenham forward has been troubled by the injury during a stuttering final third of the most recent campaign.
He added: "It's something I have had for the last few months, but you get treatment for it and this is one of those games that you wouldn't miss for the world. Even if I was on crutches I would try and get out there."
The fact that Defoe has declared himself fit and able to play on Sunday will be welcome new for England manager Roy Hodgson, who has lost Andy Carroll and Daniel Sturridge to injury while Danny Welbeck is also carrying a knee problem.
After a tiring, and ultimately disappointing season, Defoe would be forgiven for starting planning for his summer holidays right now.
The 30-year-old will instead spend part of his summer undergoing a brutal training regime in France with fitness guru Tiberius Darau.
Defoe was so determined to make England's Euro 2012 squad that he wrote off part of close season two years ago to join up with Darau on the advice of Ian Wright.
The move paid off as he was included in Hodgson's 23-man party for the tournament, and given that he holds so much affection for Brazil, he intends to spend extra time working on his fitness this summer so he can be back here with England for the World Cup should they qualify.
"I think it is something I will do (this summer)," said Defoe, speaking on behalf of England Official Supporter and sponsor William Hill earlier this week.
''I have never trained so hard in my life as I did when I was there.
''After a few days I remember thinking 'I don't know if I can do this'.
''It was really intense. I did a lot of gym work on my legs. A lot of power activity. Everything was related to how I play."
Defoe will need to be at his sharpest to slice open Brazil on Sunday as the Selecao look to score a memorable win against the Three Lions at the opening of their new national stadium.
Wednesday's disappointing 1-1 draw against Republic of Ireland led to talk of England returning to "the dark ages" due to a 4-4-2 system which looked particularly flat at Wembley.
Defoe is determined to restore some faith in the team this weekend, however.
"This is a chance to make a mark ahead of the qualifiers," Defoe said.
"Even though it's a friendly it's a massive game and everyone wants to end the season with a win."
Defoe joined four of his team-mates, Hodgson and his backroom staff today on a visit to a Sport Relief project called Bola Pra Frente, which is designed to improve the lives of young people through football in one of the poorest part of Rio de Janeiro.
The Football Association have made a donation to the project and Defoe spoke warmly about the experience of meeting the young local children.
"It's a difficult area here, a lot of the kids are suffering so it's a great project to be involved in and today has been a really humbling experience," Defoe said.