England still working on damage control

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:44 PM ET

CAPE TOWN - His star striker has practically guaranteed a win.

His starting goalie pretty much cost his team a victory in its World Cup opener.

Everywhere he looks, it appears England coach Fabio Capello has to embark on damage control.

With the always-confident Wayne Rooney suggesting England should not have much problem disposing of lightly-regarded Algeria on Friday at Green Point Stadium, Capello is trying to downplay the brash insinuation of the Manchester United forward, hoping those words are not used as bulletin board fodder.

"I've watched them play a lot," Capello said. "I respect them."

Good luck getting the Algerians to believe that.

Meanwhile, Capello is holding his cards close to the vest when it comes to his starting goaltender against Algeria.

Capello said he already knows who will get the call for England. He's just not ready to reveal his selection to the world.

"You'll have to wait until (the game) to see," he said.

Robert Green, the starter in England's opening game against the U.S. On Saturday, has come under heavily ridicule after fumbling Clint Dempsey's easy shot, the now famous "Hands of Clod" play that allowed the Americans to emerge from the match with a 1-1 draw.

Capello did his best to deflect criticism from Green, instead blaming the unpredictable Jabulani ball for his goalkeeper's faux pass. Capello added that it was the "worst ball" he had ever seen.

Blah blah blah. More whining about the ball, a trend that seems to be gaining steam among players and coaches from many teams with every passing day.

At least English captain Steven Gerrard is taking the high road on the issue.

"We'll learn how to deal with it," he said. "In the end, it's the same for both teams."


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