SO John Terry got away with it at Wembley last night. A few boos, a couple of jeers, a difficult first half. After the break, Terry and the rest of his England team-mates were warmly received as they saw off African champions Egypt 3-1 in front of 80,602 reasonably happy fans.
"Whether or not I am cheered or booed it was important we got the win."
Of course boss Fabio Capello was happy enough with a game which looked like it was getting away from England at half-time. He said: "I wasn't angry at half-time, We create a lot of chances. All I did was make some changes. In the first half we were too deep and didn't press enough. We did this.
"Thank you to the crowd because they supported the team and Terry. He is very important."
While England were beating Egypt - fresh from their third successive African Nations Cup triumph in Angola six weeks ago - Algeria were taking a 3-0 beating from Serbia in Algiers.
Algeria knocked Egypt out of the World Cup on a play-off - because both sides finished with identical qualifying records - have been drawn in Group C with England for the World Cup in South Africa. It looks like June 18 in Cape Town will be a comfortable second game for Capello's crew.
England's first opponents in Group C, the USA, were beaten 2-1 in Holland with Liverpool's Dirk Kuyt and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar on the score-sheet. Former Fulham striker Carlos Bocanegra scored a late consolation.
The fourth team in Group C, Slovenia, produced an impressive 4-1 win over Qatar. Their coach Matjaz Kek said. “We played well, it was a nice result and I’m happy. But it’s 100 days to the World Cup. That’s a long time.”
Apart from Argentina's win in Germany, there were few shocks around the world as the nations warm-up for the big one in June. South Africa, who kick it all off against Mexico at Soccer City on June 11, drew 1-1 with neighbours Namibia.
Most interesting result of the night: The Ivory Coast, perhaps Africa's best hope of success in their first World Cup with Didier Drogba and the Toure brothers, were beaten 2-0 at home by South Korea. Michael Essien's Ghan went down 2-1 to Bosnia. On the other hand, Alex Song's Cameroon managed a 0-0 draw in Italy.