LONDON - England manager Fabio Capello was awaiting overnight bulletins on his injured players before naming his provisional 30-man squad on Tuesday when he says the real business of the World Cup will begin.
Since taking over from Steve McClaren 17 months ago Capello has rebuilt England's shattered confidence and overseen an impressive qualifying campaign.
Now, with the Premier League season over and just next Saturday's FA Cup final between Chelsea and Portsmouth to go, all eyes will be on him when he announces his squad at Wembley.
"For me the World Cup will start tomorrow when the players know the names of who will go to (training camp in) Austria," Capello told Reuters in an interview on Monday.
"It's not so easy because 30 is very important number but 23 is more important and telling seven they have to go home will not be easy for me."
Teams must inform FIFA of their final 23-man squads at the end of May before the June 11-July tournament in South Africa.
"We do have problems and I have 24 hours to decide but I will ensure that the players will be fit," the Italian said.
Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry is probably his major concern. Regularly selected by Capello in a midfield holding role, Barry has twisted his ankle and will not play for at least another three weeks.
That rules him out of the May 24 friendly against Mexico and the game against Japan at England's high altitude training camp in Austria.
Wayne Rooney, who limped out of Manchester United's match against Stoke City on Sunday with a reoccurrence of a groin problem, is less of a worry, though Capello will want his main striker fully rested after a flat end when he failed to score in his last four games.
More encouraging news for the manager at the weekend was the appearance of Ledley King, playing a fourth successive game for Tottenham Hotspur.
King's powerful, athletic displays in central defence have made him a late shot to make the squad, despite the fact that his long-term knee problems severely limit his training and usually prevent him playing two games in a week.
King sits on top of the "Capello Index," a new system launched by the England manager on Monday that measures player performance based on a combination of 500 different possible individual contributions to a match situation but the coach said he was less impressed by how the defender had fared under his own new product than on the pitch.
"The Index is good as it helps the fans understand but I am more happy that Ledley King has played four games in 15 days and happy that he played four games well," he said.
He also dismissed the concept that the Index, which will also be linked to a new fantasy football-style prediction game, could help in selection issues.
"No, that deals with performance but it is important to pick players with the right mentality," Capello said. "You have to have players who are happy on the pitch, happy on the bench and happy to be in the stand - this is very, very important."
Capello watched Chelsea secure the Premier League title with an 8-0 thrashing of Wigan Athletic on Sunday and though he left before Ashley Cole drove in the final goal he will have seen enough to know the fullback has recovered from his broken ankle.
Others returning after long layoffs will have a nervous wait, including defenders Wes Brown and Phil Jagielka and Tottenham Hotspur winger Aaron Lennon, who finds himself in a large group competing for the right midfield berth in the absence of the injured David Beckham.
Capello will have had some sleepless nights pondering his goalkeeping trio, though David James appears to be his likely first choice, and has to sift through a large group of similarly-ranked strikers to find a partner for Rooney.
Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Emile Heskey, Darren Bent, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Bobby Zamora are in the mix, with the first three the likely travellers.
Capello's core side is pretty predictable and, handed the kindest of draws, his team have been given a fantastic opportunity to become the first England team since the 1990 World Cup to reach the last four of a major tournament.
Capello, however, wants more.
"I have big confidence in my team," he said. "My target is to make the final."comments