Owen Hargreaves is to have a second scan today after concern grew within the England camp over the calf injury he suffered against Argentina. The Bayern Munich midfielder was hurt after three minutes of Friday's match and while a scan the following day showed there was no bone damage the leg remains badly swollen.
Hargreaves is almost certainly out of Wednesday's final Group F match with Nigeria. With Joe Cole still carrying a thigh strain, and the auxiliary midfielder Emile Heskey suffering a bruised calf, England could be down to five fit midfielders for a match that is sure to sap stamina levels.
The game, in Osaka, is due to be played at 3.30 in the afternoon when the temperature, in the shade, is likely to be approaching 30C.
"It will be very hot on Wednesday and we will have to prepare carefully," Sven Goran Eriksson said yesterday. England players have lost an average of 2kg in weight during training sessions, but the Danish team that played in the afternoon in South Korea at the weekend lost twice that.
"We must take on lots of water," added the England manager, "but it is difficult to take on as much water as you lose." The one ray of non-sunshine for England yesterday was that the forecast also suggested rain was 60 per cent probable.
Apart from those players receiving treatment the players had a day off yesterday. Eriksson attributed England's Sapporo success in part to the team being able to clear their minds after the Sweden match with golf, shopping and a night at the Hard Rock Cafe. The staff, meanwhile, enjoyed a music session with Dave Sexton on the karaoke and Tord Grip playing his accordion.
"The pressure is always there," said Eriksson, "and it should be but you must force yourself to relax and have a laugh. Life is fun."
Among the diversions yesterday was the Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson fight that was televised at lunchtime here. The squad gathered at the team hotel to watch and, delighted that he had stolen their thunder for a day or two, later sent a congratulations message to Lewis.
In the Argentinian camp, Juan Sebastian Veron practised with the reserves yesterday, fuelling speculation that he will be dropped for their crucial game against Sweden on Wednesday.
Pablo Aimar, his second- half replacement on Friday, was among a group of 12 first-choice players who did hard physical training, while Veron played in a 40-minute practice game with other members of the squad.