England coach Fabio Capello has revealed his torment of losing captain Rio Ferdinand to injury during the squad's first day of training at their base in South Africa.
The Manchester United defender damaged knee ligaments after an innocuous collision with team-mate Emile Heskey on Friday and he was rushed to a nearby hospital for tests.
After undergoing a scan, the extent of his injury was determined and he will be missing for around six weeks, meaning he will miss the showpiece and Capello has admitted it was big blow for all concerned.
He said: "It was a tackle and then there was big pain. He put his feet in the grass with Heskey and then he moved.
"The other players were upset. They stopped training. All the players who are here with me are important. But he is one of the starting players, the captain, a leader.
"It couldn't have been much worse on my first day. It is obviously bad news and everyone with the squad is very disappointed and sorry for Rio.
"It was an accidental injury in training, but had nothing to do with the pitch. It is the curse of the captain."