Criticism intensified yesterday when it emerged that England's international with Colombia was a curtain-raiser for a league match at Giants Stadium between New York MetroStars and Chicago Fire.
England insisted they had no problem with David Beckham and company's early billing to a Major League Soccer face-off involving MetroStars' Youri Djorkaeff and Amado 'The Wolf' Guevara with Fire's Ivan Guerrero, a Honduran briefly on Coventry City's books.
"England are the magnet to attract a bigger crowd," explained the FA's director of communications, Adrian Bevington. MetroStars normally pull in between 8,000-12,000 but can expect four times that number with England in the house on May 31. Details of the huge interest in England will be outlined by coach Sven-Goran Eriksson today.