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Page last updated at 15:50 GMT, Monday, 7 June 2010 16:50 UK

World Cup 2010: Platinum Stars 0-3 England

Platinum Stars v England
Defoe sweeps in England's opener to give them the lead in Moruleng

By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at the Moruleng Stadium

Wayne Rooney demonstrated both sides of his footballing personality as England's build-up to the opening World Cup clash against the United States continued with an unimpressive win against Platinum Stars.

Rooney made a goal for Joe Cole and scored himself late on after Jermain Defoe had given Fabio Capello's side an early lead against the local side.

This was what Capello will want to see from Rooney in the World Cup - but there was also a worrying example of the dark side of his character that lurks beneath the surface and which he must keep under wraps if England are to flourish in South Africa.

Rooney became embroiled in a second half spat with Platinum Stars' Kagiso Senamela, and was eventually booked for dissent before England coach Stuart Pearce appeared to deliver orders to calm down.

Rooney satisfied with England performance

It was all played out in front of an enthusiastic home crowd, with local schoolchildren dominating the attendance and the familiar sound of the vuvuzelas sweeping around the stadium.

Capello will have other issues to address, with both Peter Crouch and Emile Heskey producing undistinguished performances in each of their 45-minute stint as they battle to partner Rooney.

Joe Hart got the nod to start in goal before being replaced by Robert Green at the interval, but a limited Platinum Stars side meant neither had the chance to shine.

Winning all-important - Defoe

The home side did have a chance to deliver a swift response to Defoe's strike, but Bradley Grobler was off target from the penalty spot after Glen Johnson fouled Mzikayise Mashaba.

Capello started with Defoe and Crouch up front as he kept Rooney back - and there was a chance for Hart to stake his claim for a place in goal against the United States.

Defoe made his mark inside three minutes when he provided an easy finish after he had been played in by Steven Gerrard.

As most of the crowd assembled in this neat oval arena sat back and waited for an England goal rush, slipshod defending from Johnson presented the local side with an opportunity to equalise when he hesitated while trying to clear and hauled down Mashaba.

Phil McNulty Blog

Sadly for the expectant home crowd, Grobler's effort was rushed and hopeless, flying yards over the bar with Hart untroubled.

The rest of the opening period was unimpressive fare from a side who travelled to South Africa with high hopes of winning the World Cup - with Platinum Stars hardly placed under siege.

Interestingly, Capello chose to spend most of the interval on the turf with his substitutes rather than go into the dressing room and confront those who performed so poorly, something for which they may have had cause to be grateful.

Predictably, Rooney and Heskey were paired in attack for the second half, but the Aston Villa striker's first contribution was to send a header apologetically wide from eight yards.

Rooney then set the alarm bells ringing by becoming involved in a needless flashpoint with Senamela in a midfield scramble involving a couple of hefty tackles and some barging. England's striker briefly lost all composure, eventually being booked for dissent then receiving a touchline lecture from Pearce.

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He showed the more acceptable face of his game as England wrapped up the win with two more goals, first setting up Joe Cole for a simple finish then slamming home James Milner's cross in the closing minutes.

Rooney was also involved in an incident that demonstrated Heskey's current crisis of confidence in front of goal. He delivered an open invitation for his strike partner to score, but Heskey mystifyingly chose not to accept, choosing instead to play an awful pass that gave Aaron Lennon little chance.

England romped to victory in a low-key affair - but hardly enough to set the pulses racing before their World Cup campaign gets under way against United States on 12 June.



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see also
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Barry to sit out England opener
07 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
King confident he can remain fit
06 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Who are the champions? Third
08 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Who are the champions? Fourth
07 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Capello bemoans England 'curse'
05 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Ferdinand ruled out of World Cup
04 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
England training photos
04 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
England reveal 2010 squad numbers
03 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Walcott left out of England squad
01 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010


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