The pressure on England coach Fabio Capello and his star man Wayne Rooney was mounting today after both lost the plot in alarming temper tantrums.
And to think the World Cup hasn’t even started yet!
Clearly the hype surrounding the tournament and the hope that England will end 44 years of hurt is starting to get to the players and, more surprisingly, the coach.
Rooney said today he is desperate to get started, and that desperation showed in England’s last warm-up game before they kick-off their campaign against USA on Saturday night.
Yesterday’s match in Rustenburg against Platinum Stars, a South African club side, was supposed to be a helpful exercise for Capello.
But it left him furious and frustrated with the same old problems previous England managers have faced in recent years, such as Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard failing together in midfield, and perhaps most worrying of all, Rooney losing his cool.
Indeed his behaviour and language towards the referee was so bad during England’s laboured |3-0 win that the South African official Jeff Selogilwe told him if he continued to swear his way through matches he would be sent off in the World Cup.
“Rooney must learn to control his temper, otherwise he could get sent off in the World Cup,” said Selogilwe, who claimed the Manchester United striker used the F word in a rant at him.
Capello spent most of half-time sitting on the bench after launching into a brief attack on his underperforming players. He was livid that just days before the big kick-off his players were not at full throttle, and he told them he expected better — much better.