Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Curse of the World Cup Captains

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Curse of the World Cup Captains

Article excerpt

CAPTAINING England at the World Cup finals has always been a huge honour for any player but the history books suggest the privilege comes at a price.

Since Rio Ferdinand replaced John Terry as the national team's leader back in February, he has struggled to overcome a back problem and prove he was fit enough to skipper the side.

The 31-year-old yesterday became the latest England captain to have his World Cup dream ruined, with a left-knee ligament injury suffered in training ruling him out of the tournament in South Africa.

Here we take a look back at how this injury curse has affected five England captains at the World Cup since 1982.

1982: KEVIN KEEGAN ENGLAND travelled to Spain full of confidence, albeit with their captain sidelined with a chronic back injury. Ron Greenwood kept his faith in Keegan, hoping he would be able to influence England's campaign in the latter stages of the tournament, but a 26-minute cameo was not long enough for Keegan to fire England into the semi-finals.

With England drawing 0-0 with Spain, a goal was needed to overtake Germany at the top of Group B. Greenwood threw on his skipper along with Trevor Brooking, but it was too little, too late as Keegan squandered a glorious chance to send England through.

1986: BRYAN ROBSON 'CAPTAIN Marvel' (pictured right) proudly led his country to the 1986 World Cup in Mexico but had his dreams shattered just four minutes into England's second game. Bobby Robson opted to risk his skipper despite him suffering from a shoulder problem. This decision backfired and Robson was replaced by Steve Hodge in the early stages of a disappointing draw with Morocco. With Robson ruled out for the remainder of the competition, England soldiered on without their captain before being cruelly dumped out of the World Cup by Diego Maradona's infamous double.

1990: BRYAN ROBSON HAVING recovered from the injury problems which shattered England's chances four years earlier, Robson went to Italia '90 even more determined. …

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