Fabio Fumes and the Diplomats Raise the — ahem — Steaks

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Today in England World Cup news (fear not — not a regular feature!): Coach Fabio Capello loses his sh…irt with the country’s notorious photographers during training. Meanwhile, the highly respected English and U.S. Ambassadors decide to have a wager over this Saturday’s showdown. ‘Twas ever thus.

Starting with the coach and Capello absolutely tore into the snappers prior to Wednesday’s training session. The 63 year-old Italian accused the press pack of attempting to take pictures through the window of the players’ dressing rooms at the Royal Bafokeng complex. The usually unflappable Capello could be overheard saying, “Why are you taking these pictures, why? You’re not in the U.K. now,” and “Why do you take photos of the rooms? No excuses.”It’s believed that frustration had been building after Tuesday’s squad outing to a safari turned into the England press pack hunting down a different kind of prey, as they pursued Capello’s “three lions.” Midfielder Joe Cole joked (we think) during Wednesday’s press conference that a few of his team mates wanted some members of the press to be “eaten by lions.”

Thankfully for Capello, there’s no media access to Thursday’s training, as FIFA’s guidelines allow one session behind closed doors in the preparations for each game. See how he acted in the below clip.


Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador, Louis Susman, and his U.K. counterpart, Sir Nigel Sheinwald, couldn’t resist a cheeky bet ahead of Saturday’s clash. A meal will be bought by the loser and the flurry of cables (no such thing as email for these fine fellows) make for entertaining reading:

“We will understand if you decline, given the outcome of the last such encounter,” a U.S. aide wrote, referring to the U.S. shock defeat of England in 1950. A U.K. aide responded that Sir Nigel took his steak like that win: “somewhat rare.”

And there’s more: “Even for such an exceptionally optimistic nation as the United States, I am struck by the confidence with which your ambassador proposes this wager,” Martin Longden, press secretary to Sir Nigel, wrote to Philip Breeden of the U.S. embassy in London. “It is testament, I assume, to the generosity of your great nation, since the British ambassador does not anticipate paying out.”

Presumably a draw means that Susman and Sheinwald will go Dutch, which honestly wasn’t meant to be a pun…