After getting pent-up grievances out in the open over a post-match beer in Cape Town on Friday, England's unhappy players hope delivering some home truths to Fabio Capello will salvage their FIFA World Cup™ dream.
When he replaced Steve McClaren two-and-a-half years ago, Capello's hard-line approach was viewed by many as the perfect way of bringing some pride back to the Three Lions. Nine victories from 10 qualifying games proved the value of Capello's approach.
But after five weeks away, the first two at an altitude training camp in Austria, the inflexibility has shown serious signs of cracking the entire dressing room. In the aftermath of the "unacceptable" draw with Algeria, which leaves England needing to beat Slovenia on Wednesday to avoid crashing out of the competition, John Terry has pleaded for some compassion. The outcome could rescue England - and Capello - from total humiliation.
"I went to see [assistant manager] Franco Baldini after the game and said 'Flipping hell, let everyone have a beer. Let's just switch off'," said Terry, amid a media engagement where he vowed to be frank and honest.
"Usually everyone goes straight back to their room and stays there until the following morning. But for the first time since the manager took over he let us have a beer. We had one each, nothing more than that, and seven or eight of us sat there talking about the game. It was good to get things off our chest and express how we felt."
The discussions themselves will remain private. But, as they involved, amongst others, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and David James, it is fair to say they carried a bit of weight. Enough it seems to take the issues raised into a pre-planned team meeting on Sunday evening, knowing Capello's reaction will either make or break England's entire time in South Africa.
"The players were able to say how they feel," said Terry. "If it upset him [Capello] then I was on the verge of just saying 'So what? I'm here to win it for England'. "If we can't be honest with each other there is no point being here. It has worked in the past at Chelsea. We have a responsibility to ourselves, the manager and everyone else to voice an opinion and hope he takes it on board."
Time management is one issue, alleviating boredom another. Team issues, including personnel, would have been raised, if not a demand for individual players to be picked.
It might have come as a shock to Capello, although there were early, unconfirmed, reports it may have some impact with the coach apparently accepting he needs to break his own tradition of only informing players of his team two hours before kick-off, which has been viewed as unsettling.
"Maybe he is a little bit cold," admitted the Chelsea skipper. "You never know what you will get. He doesn't constantly shout. He is actually quite calm. But when he is angry, he is really angry."
Terry added: "Maybe the togetherness has been missing at times. When things don't go well it is important the group stays together. That is what we had the other night. Hopefully that tension will go now because it would be unacceptable to go home on Wednesday."
There was something particularly telling about Terry revealing all on Father's Day. It may seem a minor point to some, but children are being missed, even amongst the most wealthy parents. And in times of strife, it is natural for anyone to seek comfort in the safe and familiar. "I am away from my kids and it is hard," said Terry. "But I don't want to go home. I am here to win it."
To even make the last 16, England need to perform far better than they did against Algeria, universally acknowledged as a poor display, even inside the dressing room. "I certainly felt there was a lack of passion," he said. "On paper we are a much better team than Algeria but there was no tackling, no-one winning headers, no-one winning second balls.
"It was not acceptable. You have to show a bit of aggression and a bit of fight. No player had that fire in their belly. I can assure everyone it is going to be there against Slovenia."