Wayne's world a little confused

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:58 AM ET

CAPE TOWN - With jeers raining down from every nook and cranny of Cape Town's cavernous Green Point Stadium courtesy of the disgruntled pro-England crowd, underachieving striker Wayne Rooney could no longer hold his tongue.

His English side having just turned in a 0-0 stinker against a much less talented Algerian squad moments earlier, Rooney was walking off the field when he spotted a nearby television camera.

"Nice to see your own fans booing," Rooney sarcastically sneered to the TV audience before disappearing down the tunnel to the English locker room.

What would you have them do, Wayne?

Were they supposed to cheer because you eked out a draw against the 31st-ranked team in the world?

Should they have applauded your alleged effort, even though you and Frank Lampard - two of the top stars on the English team - still have yet to record a World Cup goal in your respective careers?

Are they supposed to be satisfied that your English side has gone 174 minutes without a goal, dating back to Steven Gerrard's marker in the sixth minute of your 1-1 opening match draw with the U.S?

Give us a break.

Your loyal fans came here to picturesque Cape Town en mass to support you. Thousands upon thousands of them jammed Green Point Stadium, spending much of the evening singing "God Save The Queen" and chanting "England, England."

They decorated the joint with hundreds of banners and English flags, turning Green Point into Wembley South.

You even had princes Harry and William in the house, supplying their unwavering backing all in the name of victory.

And how did you and your teammates repay that support?

By looking disorganized and disinterested at times, qualities that did not escape your manager, Fabio Capello.

"This game I did not see the spirit of the team," a perplexed Capello told the media afterward. "This is not the England I know."

Then Capello delivered a stinging shot that had better be heeded by his players.

He insinuated that his team was wilting under the World Cup pressure.

No player ever wants to hear someone say they came up small on the world's biggest stage. Or that they can not handle the spotlight when it is time to flourish.

Too bad. Because that's what Capello believes.

"It is incredible, the mistakes of the players," Capello said. "When you are at the ball, when you control the ball, when you have easy passes -- they miss, everything. This is incredible for the level of the England players."

Did you hear that, Wayne? Is the message sinking in?

Maybe this will.

"Rooney didn't play like Rooney," Capello said.

Ouch.

Friday's outcome leaves Group C wide open heading into the final set of games.

Slovenia, coming off a controversial 2-2 draw with the Americans earlier in the day, lead the group with four points. The U.S. and England are next with two each while Algeria sits with one.

Still remaining on the sked: England versus Slovenia, the U.S. against Algeria. All four teams still have a chance to advance, leaving plenty of drama ahead.

Capello, obviously having seen enough of goalkeeper Robert Green in the now famous "Hand of Clod" 1-1 draw with the U.S. six days earlier, opted to give veteran David James the start against Algeria.

One of the oldest players in the tournament, James, 40, got the nod in order to bring some stability and experience to the English squad. His appearance against Algeria was his 51st career cap for England.

Defender Jamie Carragher received a yellow card for the second consecutive game and will be out for England's final Group match against Slovenia Wednesday in Port Elizabeth. That is a blow, one your English side will have to deal with.

"We got no excuses," Gerrard said. "We got to go and win the last game."

Blame the fans if you want, Wayne. It's your choice.

But on this night, it would have been nice if you had accepted some responsibility as well.

mike.zeisberger@sunmedia.ca


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