England striker Wayne Rooney has been banned for the the first three matches of England's Euro 2012 campaign after he received a straight red card against Montenegro on Oct. 7.
UEFA announced on Thursday that it had increased the striker's automatic one-match ban to three, meaning Rooney will miss all three of England's group matches, though England has three days to appeal the ban and likely will.
England manager Fabio Capello had been hoping for just the one-match ban or at worst two, but his and the nation's hopes for European glory were dealt a serious blow with UEFA's ruling.
Rooney has done a lot of stupid things in his football career, and has warranted plenty of the bans he's had (and ones that he's not received), but this is one where three matches is just too many.
Rooney clearly kicked Montenegro defender Miodrag Dzudovic, and the foul clearly warranted a straight red. The old Rooney would've argued the call and complained to anyone who would listen while being forced off the pitch. In this case, however, Rooney knew he was in the wrong.
He accepted that he had made a mistake and walked right off the pitch without any trouble. Rooney also sent a letter of apology to UEFA in hopes of softening the blow.
While it was certainly corny, it shows that the foul was not malicious. In fact, it was probably Rooney's rumored pre-match comments that sealed his fate. Rooney was apparently very angered about his father's arrest in connection with a betting scam, and was worried that he may get sent off.
UEFA may have taken this into account in their decision making, or they may have decided that kicking another player was enough violent conduct to warrant the three-match ban. However, Rooney's actions after the foul showed anything but.
If Rooney's comments didn't sway UEFA, his past certainly may have, and England fans have every right to be incensed by this.
Before Euro 2008, Russian winger Andrei Arshavin was only given a two-match ban for violent conduct when he was sent off in a decisive qualifier against Andorra. Cases like this certainly won't ease the FA's relationship with UEFA and FIFA.
England can certainly feel hard-done by in this case, as losing their star striker for the entire group stage could mean Rooney doesn't get a chance to play at Euro 2012 at all. Injuries to other England players could also force Capello to leave Rooney at home, in fear of wasting the spot.
The Three Lions have not been particularly lethal in front of goal without Rooney, and anytime you lose a player of his caliber, it's a huge blow.
The Football Association could still appeal the ban, but if they lose that one, a three-match ban for Rooney could be the worst-case scenario.
UEFA's ruling seems like it was based on Rooney's entire career, particularly the nastier parts of it, and not just this one incident, and an appeal probably won't make much of a difference for Rooney or England.