Vindication for Capello with his reputation at stake
World Cup 2010: Port Elizabeth
His impassioned performance in front of the cameras matched his players' increased intensity on the Port Elizabeth pitch. Make no mistake about it, the stakes were very high not just for Capello but for the whole of English football.
The selection of Jermain Defoe was justified when the Tottenham man scored
Had England lost and gone out, it would have sparked an inquest far beyond anything we have seen after recent World Cups. Foreign players, managers, academies, home-grown player quotas - all would have come under the spotlight.
For Capello, his whole reputation was at stake. But, as we all know, success and failure in football can be determined by the finest of margins and this narrow victory will leave the England coach feeling vindicated.
Vindicated that his two key changes - Jermain Defoe in for Emile Heskey, and James Milner for Aaron Lennon - rewarded him by producing the crucial goal. And vindicated for facing down John Terry's mini revolt three days before such a crucial game.
And he will no doubt even be having a wry smile about his decision to relax the players with a beer on Tuesday night, ahead of the match. So much for authoritarian, no-compromise Capello.
Ultimately, whether the players were playing for their own pride or for their manager, this was a much more fluent and impressive display and the one-goal margin flattered Slovenia.
Even Wayne Rooney looked almost like his old self - hitting the post and linking well with Steven Gerrard. The only worry will be an ankle injury for Rooney, but Capello played down concerns in his post-match press conference.
Many of the problems in the England camp have not gone away and the fact England were hanging on at the end means they are still some way behind the teams setting the pace at this tournament - Argentina, Brazil, Spain and Portugal. Relief at beating the World Cup's smallest nation tells its own story.
But how quickly World Cup campaigns can turn. Remember how the Italians were lucky to scrape past Australia in the second round and went on to win in 2006. Capello will hope Wednesday's win provides the spark England so desperately needed here in South Africa.