Capello fury over poor Eng

2010-06-08 07:12
England's manager Fabio Capello sits on his own at half time as England play Platinum Stars. (AP)

Rustenburg - England's players were on the receiving end of a furious blast from head coach Fabio Capello as they completed their World Cup build-up with another unconvincing performance.

WIN: World Cup Havaianas

Goals from Jermain Defoe, Joe Cole and Wayne Rooney ensured Capello's men emerged from their meeting with South African Premier League side Platinum Stars with a 3-0 victory.

Capello will have been relieved that his players emerged unscathed from the encounter, five days ahead of their World Cup opener against the United States.

But he made no effort to disguise his displeasure over a disjointed first-half in which England secured an early lead through Defoe only to, almost immediately, concede a penalty as a result of Glen Johnson's needless shove on Mzikayise Mashaba.

Gallery: England vs Platinum Stars

Striker Bradley Grobler struck the spot-kick high over the bar but that was not enough to appease Capello.

Having sat, seething, on the bench for several minutes at the end of the opening period, the Italian proceeded to berate the players he was planning to introduce for the second half, some of whom appeared visibly shocked by the vehemence of the coach's outburst.

That Capello should be feeling the strain is understandable.

The display on Monday followed equally lacklustre performances in the friendly wins over Mexico and Japan that preceded his squad's departure for South Africa and England have now not produced a really convincing display since the September 2009 5-1 win over Croatia.

Not until Joe Cole sidefooted home midway through the second half was the game put beyond the reach of the Platinum Stars.

Wayne Rooney volleyed in a James Milner cutback minutes from the end to give the scoreline a more flattering allure on an afternoon when Capello's stars might have suffered greater damage to their morale.

The only player to feature for the full 90 minutes, Joe Cole, was one of England's livelier performers and he looks likely to start on the left of midfield on Saturday in the absence of Gareth Barry, who has confirmed that he will not have recovered sufficiently in time from his ankle injury to play any role in the match.

England's opener came after Johnson released Steven Gerrard into space on the right of the box. Gerrard, who has taken over the captaincy from the injured Rio Ferdinand, delivered a textbook cutback and Defoe finished cleanly from the edge of the six-yard box.

Capello's decision to pair Rooney with Emile Heskey for the second half suggests the big Aston Villa striker is winning his personal battle with Peter Crouch for a starting role alongside the Manchester United man.

Crouch, who featured alongside Defoe for the opening period, did not help his cause with a couple of flagrant misses. Having failed to connect with Ashley Cole's low cross in front of goal, the Tottenham striker then headed an equally inviting delivery from Defoe two metres off target.

Heskey's finishing was no better when he was presented with a free header by Aaron Lennon after the interval and England were fortunate not to concede an equaliser when Lehlohonolo Masalesa got clear of the back four shortly afterwards only to screw his shot wide of Robert Green's right-hand post.

Joe Cole settled any doubt about the outcome following a solo run by Rooney and England's talisman, who showed no sign of his recent groin and knee problems, wrapped things up in the closing minutes.

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