England national football team midfielder Steven Gerrard dribbles the ball as the South African local team Platinum Stars FC's goalkeeper tries to block during a public training match at Moruleng stadium in Moruleng on June 7, 2010 (( JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images))

England overcame a South African league team 3-0 on Monday despite a slack performance in the final training match before its World Cup opener against the United States.

Jermain Defoe, Joe Cole and Wayne Rooney scored against the Platinum Stars in front of a small crowd in the town of Moruleng in North West province.

Only midfielder Joe Cole played the entire match as coach Fabio Capello made 10 changes at halftime. Only midfielder Gareth Barry, who will miss Saturday's match against the U.S. with an ankle injury, and goalkeeper David James did not play any part in the game.

Rooney was one of the substitutes and his second-half booking, for indicating to the referee that he required spectacles, perfectly illustrated the team's frustrations at playing poorly just five days before its opener.

Cole was lively but England laboured throughout and struggled to retain possession even after increasing its tempo in the second half.

"We are higher up than when in Austria for the training camp, so altitude is going to play a major part," Defoe said. "It felt a lot harder in terms of breathing and getting your recovery.

"It was quite difficult to get your breath back, but we will get used to that and we feel prepared for Saturday. Mentally we are prepared; physically we are prepared."

Capello was apparently angered by the display and remained outside on his own next to the pitch at halftime.

Starting lineup?

The Italian used a 4-4-2 formation for a starting lineup that, save for Rooney's exclusion and the inclusion of Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart, could start in Rustenburg on Saturday.

Rooney should be a certain starter on Saturday, but the 23-year-old Hart has never begun a game for England.

John Terry and Ledley King started together in central defence Monday, with the injured Rio Ferdinand watching from the sidelines.

"We understand each other's game really well and it was important that we got 45 minutes today in a real competitive game," Terry said.

England took just three minutes to go in front against the mid ranked South African Premier League side.

Shaun Wright-Phillips slipped a pass through to Steven Gerrard and Ferdinand's replacement as the captain strolled down the right flank before pulling the ball back for Defoe to roll it into the net.

Error-strewn half

But three minutes later, England fullback Glen Johnson made the first mistake of an error-strewn 45 minutes when he bundled striker Mzikayise Mashaba over in the area to concede a penalty.

Bradley Grobler sent the kick over the bar and Johnson later missed a chance of his own.

Other players were similarly unimpressive.

Striker Peter Crouch missed the ball completely when Ashley Cole sent a neat cross, Wright-Phillips and Joe Cole misplaced crosses, and a midfield pair of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard was easily passed by the attacking home side.

Such was Capello's ire, the Italian had to be warned by the fourth official after straying from the technical area too many times.

Rooney went past two players in the 63rd minute and passed from the right for Joe Cole to knock the ball into the bottom right corner. He got on the score sheet himself with five minutes remaining when he sliced the ball into the net from James Milner's cross.

"It was a good run out," Rooney said. "We needed to get the game in and to play 45 minutes felt good, so I was happy.

"We are ready. These are preparation games for us."