Fabio Capello, the England manager, yesterday condemned John Terry's decision to go public with his grievances about the team's World Cup preparation, tactics and personnel. "This is the big mistake, this is the very big mistake," Capello told ITV1 of Terry's press conference on Sunday night. "This was not a revolution. It was one mistake from one player. No more."
Terry spoke out with a list of complaints about England in South Africa. The Chelsea defender said that he had to plead with Capello's trusted right-hand man Franco Baldini to be allowed an alcoholic drink in the aftermath of England's dismal draw with Algeria in Cape Town on Friday. Terry also said that, after that game, some of the players talked over the match between themselves. Although he did not reveal exactly what they said, some British media reported they decided to tell Capello the team needed to play with a 4-5-1 instead of 4-4-2 formation, with Wayne Rooney up front on his own and Joe Cole added to the midfield. The reports said that the rest of the players were furious with Terry for revealing details of the meeting.
A third grievance was that the players were bored in camp, with little to do during the afternoons. Capello was obviously angry that his authority had been questioned by a player in public. "My door is always open. If people want to speak with me they can speak with me," the Italian said. "Every time we have a meeting I ask the captain, problems? You want to say something? Never. Then I read yesterday that John Terry said this, I don't understand why he doesn't speak with me. When you speak you have to speak privately, not with the media. "I think he is more disappointed. I know sometimes players want to speak more with you [the media] than with the other players. But the mistake is that you have to speak with the players, with me, with the dressing room.''
England are on the brink of going out of the World Cup in the opening round for the first time since 1958 after draws with the United States and Algeria. They need to beat Slovenia in Port Elizabeth tomorrow to guarantee themselves a spot in the round of 16.
Elsewhere, Sulley Muntari, the Inter Milan midfielder, has been reprimanded but allowed to stay with Ghana's World Cup team following an outburst after the 1-1 draw with Australia. Ghana's Football Association denied reports yesterday by leading German sports magazine Kicker that Muntari was ordered out following an altercation with Milovan Rajevac, Ghana's Serbian coach, in the team's bus after the 1-1 draw on Saturday. "Sulley Muntari is still a member of the Black Stars team at the World Cup in South Africa," Ghana FA said in a statement on their website.
"Muntari reacted angrily and in a manner that was offensive to the team's code of conduct in the aftermath of Ghana's game against Australia," it said. The football association said Muntari, who came on as a substitute, was reprimanded for his outburst but gave no details of any punishment.