WORLD CUP 2010: Jermain Defoe reveals Franco Baldini warned him of 'bad news' in prank phone call

02 June 2010 09:08
Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe's worst World Cup fears were realised yesterday when an Italian voice told him: 'It's bad news' - before he realised he was the victim of an Azzurri wind-up.

Hoax call: Jermain Defoe fell victim - albeit briefly - to Franco Baldini's 'burla'

Defoe had been waiting for a call to confirm his place in the 23-man England squad - especially after missing out in 2006 - and could barely hold the phone when it rang at midday at his mum's house.

Fabio Capello's assistant Franco Baldini cleared his throat, added a dramatic pause then told the 27-year-old: 'I'm really sorry, I'm afraid it's bad news.'

And as Defoe stooped to pick up his shattered World Cup dream, Baldini added: 'The bad news is you can't go on your holidays because you've got to go to South Africa.'

Just how many people Baldini and Capello played this burla (practical joke to an Italian) on may never be known but Defoe was already on edge after nervously waking up at the crack of dawn - then both aged and sprouted grey hairs during Baldini's opening gambit.

However, there were no hard feelings as the England bosses showed they DO have a sense of humour .

Who next to wind-up? Fabio Capello (right) and Franco Baldini toy with the idea of calling Kevin Davies and telling him he's made the 23

Defoe told The Mirror he was 'terrified' , adding: 'The call came at around midday so it felt like such a long wait.

"I couldn't believe it, it was like having Simon Cowell on the phone.I'm so excited now I just want to get out there. The other lads are thesame. I spoke to Sean Wright-Phillips and he was doing cartwheels onthe other end of the phone. I'm absolutely buzzing, I can't believeit.'

Seven players were axed from Capello's squad including Theo Walcott whose shock inclusion four years ago had been at the expense of Defoe.

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Source: Daily_Mail

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
Last updated : 16:17