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Capello & Kazakhs satisfied

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Phil McNulty | 23:25 UK time, Saturday, 6 June 2009

Almaty, Kazakhstan

Fabio Capello gave a nod to Almaty's image-makers with a glowing recommendation for the National Museum and England's coach ended a tortuous trip to Kazakhstan three points closer to World Cup qualification.

It was smiles all round in the musty, over-crowded room where Capello pored over a satisfactory conclusion to England's visit to this eastern outpost of European football.

Capello did not make this 7,000-mile round trip to do the tourist bit, but he was happy to oblige England's welcoming Kazakh hosts one final time before sweeping away from the Central Stadium en route to the plane back to London.

Business is business and the only real Almaty keepsake Capello wanted accompanying him on that long flight was a sixth successive win in Group Six and the prospect of spending next summer in South Africa coming into sharper focus.

And it was duly delivered, despite early alarms, with another prime example of the pragmatism that is becoming the trademark of Capello's England reign.

In the build-up to a noisy, atmospheric night in this old sporting monument, Capello was drawn into comparisons between football and tennis - concluding England are fashioned in the mould of Rafael Nadal as opposed to Roger Federer.

If this was England as Nadal, they downed Kazakhstan by winning a first set tie-breaker before finishing off a demoralised opponent in three straight sets. It was a game that had anxieties but was ultimately comfortable.

England's opening 20 minutes screamed jetlag, but once they found their legs and Kazakhstan, as they do, lost theirs the victory was assured. Gareth Barry and Emile Heskey applied the blows before the interval, Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard finished the job in the closing quarter.

Capello declared his satisfaction, although some first half body language that suggested one of his expensive shoes had caught fire hinted at other, darker, emotions. Sergey Ostapenko's header gave Kazakhstan hope until a linesman's flag wiped out the goal, and with it the Kazakh challenge.

Such is Capello's confidence in England's players that when asked what would have happened had Kazakhstan's goal stood, he shot back: "We would have won 4-1."

Steven Gerrard's quality lifted England out of the early slumber, while Rooney's brilliant overhead kick was the stamp of class they will need in South Africa.

England wanted the win and Kazakhstan wanted to maximise the prestige and profile this game afforded the country. Both requirements were fully satisfied.

The Premier League is big business here. The two unlikely figures pictured staring out in an attempt to lure passers-by into a rundown local pool hall are Cristiano Ronaldo and Andrey Arshavin.

Indeed, as one member of the Kazakh media marched briskly to his seat one item of his apparel made him a man apart - namely his gleaming new England shirt.

So it was with a curious mixture of partisanship and star-struck admiration that the Almaty crowd reacted to events. It is rare indeed to hear names of the opposition cheered as well as the home players, and there was audible delight when David Beckham won his latest cameo cap with 15 minutes left.

This was a showcase for Kazakhstan that went some distance beyond 90 minutes of football. If this was to be Almaty's - and indeed this country's - spell in the sporting spotlight, it was time well spent.

This a place with prospects and plenty of space. It is the world's biggest landlocked state and its ninth-biggest country, so there is room to advertise and England's arrival presented an opportunity too good to ignore.

There was a sense of adventure on and off the field, a genuine realisation that this was a unique setting for an England international. Snow-capped mountains rose behind one end of the Central Stadium, China lay only 200 miles away, and there was even a sprinkling of the surreal as scores of stone-faced military figures stared unblinkingly into deserted stands long after the final whistle.

England fans in the ground in front of a beautiful mountain backdrop

It was all too much for one poor soul who enlivened proceedings late on with a ludicrous dash onto the pitch that ended with him hurling himself spectacularly into Robert Green's net. The fun ended there however - to say he was "bundled" away does the ever-vigilant stadium security forces a great kindness.

England, in the context of an arena that in some parts reeked of faded grandeur, showed they could rough it and come out on top.

As they return to the opulent environment of Wembley on Wednesday to face Andorra, they may actually look back in satisfaction at proving they can still cope with some spartan scenes that greeted them here on Saturday.

The dressing-room walls had not been regularly acquainted with fresh paint, radiators looked like cast-off relics from an old school - but England's players, and indeed the Football Association, embraced all aspects of this trip fully.

As, it must be stressed, did the media corps travelling with England. Such was the squeeze on space inside the stadium, many ended up sitting on chairs parked on the running track that swept around the playing surface, in close proximity to the action. Despite the dangers the bulldog spirit prevailed, as is only to be expected.

Capello's analysis after the game was shaped by circumstance. England's players had just concluded a long domestic campaign, with some involved in Champions League and FA Cup finals.

The task was to navigate their way in and out of Kazakhstan with minimum damage. The objective has been achieved and if England make it a perfect seven against Andorra Capello may even be persuaded to talk about South Africa as if it is a serious possibility rather than a distant dream.

No, the performance was not vintage, but only the result mattered to England while the game itself was enough for Kazakhstan.

The local paper "Doda" asked the question "Can we get the points?" in its main headline before the game. Victory was never a serious option, but time spent here this week uncovered compelling evidence that this was not the main object of the exercise.

England's players took off from Almaty airport with the job done - and Kazakhstan could say the same same.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    We Won; and that should be the only criteria we measure our performance today. If we had not won or god forbid dont qualify; we would have taken an ugly qualification route over non qualification. Lets just all get together on this one be grateful we are almost there, and get behind the lads. I think its about time; seriously!!!

    First Comment Woo Hoo!!!

    YNWA

  • Comment number 2.

    the blog is to big, i gave up reading it

  • Comment number 3.

    one more thing sorry ;)

    Phil, can you tell your pals at the BBC to buy some live football; its the national sport for crying out loud, it should be on our national channel. Im fed up of expert analysis from Andy Townsend and CO. I rather watch paint dry than sit throught their half time and post match analysis.

    For crying out loud

  • Comment number 4.

    In the end it was another fully professional performance that I am getting used to now from the England team under Capello. We were a little nervy at the start, but I think that is to be expected considering the fact the players have just come off the back of a long season, were playing 3000 miles away from home and had to come to terms with a pitch thats worse than my back garden (and I havent cut it for 3 weekd either!).

    I am hoping however that Capello had finally found his 'shape' for the team. The players seem to be playing well together in the positions they have been assigned, and I believe that they can only get better IF they are now left alone to gel as a unit and get used to their prescribed roles (I am especially impressed with Gerrards 'floating' left hand wing role).

    Looking forward to Wednesday, and looking for another professional performance from England.

  • Comment number 5.

    The first 30 minutes of the game England played absoloutely shocking. Johnson and Upson simply can't pass the ball. Johnson got dominated by the Kazakhstan left winger so many times. We can only score goals via corners and lucky goals, Rooney's goal only showed a bit of class left in the squad.

  • Comment number 6.


    "only the result mattered out here"

    "We Won; and that should be the only criteria we measure our performance today"

    "it was another fully professional performance"

    Equals

    "Distinctly average and unconvincing"

    We've seen it so many times with Ericsson or McLaren. The so-called 'professional' and 'disciplined' performances. Scraping past Trinidad and Ecuador and boring the hell out of everyone - but it doesn't matter how you do it! Getting the job done is all that counts. Picking up the points and putting behind how each of the 'superstars' that the Kazakhs are supposedly in awe of -bless them- fared. After all winning ugly when not playing too well is supposed to be the make of champions. ManU ante Roma anyone?

    Press & public unsurprisingly too narrow-minded to apply their knowledge and sense and admit that this squad contains too many footballers that are in all honesty 3rd rate. NOT EVEN 2ND RATE. Green, Johnson, Upson, Walcott, Barry, Heskey, Beckham, Wright-Phillips, Defoe. The truth of the matter is that as things stand these players do not belong in the latter stages of an international tournament, and would not (and cannot) find a place in the starting 11 of any club seriously competing at a high level of European competition. This is what makes progress and achievement unlikely, barring some very good fortune, or a favourable draw (as was the case for the qualifying group), despite the presence of a number of highly talented individuals as well within the squad.

    And if/when eventually the usual slap comes against half-decent opposition, everyone will be looking around to see what's hit them.




  • Comment number 7.

    Solidsnaketoon, you obviously have the same attention span as your team's defenders then.
    A solid enough performance and qualification a step closer which was all that could be expected.

  • Comment number 8.

    england could well win the world cup.

    it's unlikely, but we have a strong chance of making the semi's and a bit of luck in the draw and the games and we'll be there!

  • Comment number 9.

    We may have got the job done, but if we put in performances like those against the likes of Spain, Germany, Netherlands or Italy, let alone Brazil and Argentina, we would be humbled.

  • Comment number 10.

    Nothing special,we are at where we should be. The real challenge will be at South Africa when we fight Spain at the final! It's been so long pal(for a team like England)....

  • Comment number 11.

    play like that at the finals and you shower will get used to wipe the floor with.

    now, nothing against england, lot of family from there...but...

    grinded out the result tbh, nice quality to have against the smaller teams. but if you have a germany, spain....italy etc playing againts you's,...it would be murder if you started like that against them kind of opponents.

    you have an amazing manager, and he'll take you far. all the best

  • Comment number 12.

    Good match happy with the result, although the performence early on wasn't great I don't think that you can really complain with 4-0 away from home.

    P.S. For people who claim that we will be easily beaten against a half good team, what about Croatia? Germany? Ukraine aren't bad. We beat them and any team would be proud of those, so instead of looking at the future negatively how about thinking;
    "We've beaten most of what's in front of us, Capello's gotten more settled since his slightly shakey start against some bigger teams, we can't do worse than last year and let's take confidence in the fact that we are playing well again"

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.


    Well written story about the latest Capello triumph in Kazakhstan.

    So far England, Spain and The Netherlands are three teams with an all win record. Prolonging the good form and positive results would be a very successful World Cup qualifying campaign.

    Missed watching the action live and the lovely goals, especially the one by Wayne Rooney. Eagerly looking forward to the Wembley tie against Andorra.

    Heroics of Leander Paes at the French Open Men's Tennis Doubles Finals kept me away from this latest England triumph. The legendary Indian sporting icon has just won his 9th Grand Slam doubles finals.



    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    Unbelievable!!!! not the result but some of the posts on here! My god, 3000 miles away on a pitch that some of us would complain about on sunday morning post hangover games, a 4 zip victory, 18pts!!! yet still people not happy, get a grip for goodness sake, priority 1, qualify....south africa 2010 is still a long way away, a full season to get through before it kicks off! just enjoy the ride, blimey, england are in a much healthier position now than 12 mths ago!! get a grip..

  • Comment number 17.

    England played rubbish within the first few minutes, as was showing with how they should have been 1-0 down after like 20 seconds and when Kazakhs scored from offside. However credit to England who turned around their game within the next 20 mins. Barry's header was fantastic. I loved it and Gerrards shot, through ball thing was preety sweet as well. Hesky did well to stick away. What about Rooney's goal?! that was great. To finish it a good pen from lampard. I call that quality. Good luck boys for Andorra

  • Comment number 18.

    Dear oh Dear! It seems either most respondents are all bred to be depressed at all outcomes or more likely dislike the English and enjoying Numpty time.

    As the article states 4-0 win and a job well done. If it had been 8-0 we would still have the 'end is nigh merchants' claiming we played awful for 20 mins and validating my point about numpty operators.

    Hats off to Capello he's earning his corn (as big as it is) by getting results recent managers would have had ended up with draws or shock defeats from.

    6 wins out of 6, lets hope we can win ugly and make it 7 out of 7 and moan how awful it all is again on Weds PM.

    In the meantime KRO

  • Comment number 19.

    This was a good result in a no win situation. If we'd put 8 past them, the dour brigade would have started with their "So you should it's only Khazakhstan" drival, if we'd played poor and only scored 1 or 2 it would be "England are useless, sack Capello, we'll never win the World Cup." We scored 4 goals, without reply, still missing some first teamers ( James, Ferdinand, Joe Cole), and have what only Spain and Holland also have, a 100% record in qualifying. If anyone would care to look at some results of other 'big' nations, i.e. France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Argentina, they'd notice that there have been a lot of poor/average performance's by them all, with them sneaking wins thanks to late goals. When these countries do it, the negative brigade say "This is what makes them champions, they grind out results, they have a winning mentality." When England play well and win by 4 clear goals, well that isn't good enough, we won't do anything in South Africa.
    If all you want to do is be critical and negative about every aspect of England games, then just go away, your not wanted. We're well on track to qualify with games to spare, we've beaten the likes of Croatia and Germany recently and we have one of the best managers in the world leading us, the future's bright, the futures England.

  • Comment number 20.

    Twice now, Phil, you have referred to England's journey as "arduous". I have no doubt that the boys didn't travel in Easyjet style discomfort. And while Almaty may not be the chic capital of the world, I'm sure they were staying in a hotel that would grace any European capital, as were you. Don't they get pampered enough without us having to worry about them taking a 3,000 mile flight. And so, what if Kazakhstan borders China. How is that relevant?
    Have a look at your Australian counterpart (ABC) and try to find anyone whinging about how far they had to travel to Qatar - probably 7,000 miles, one way!
    Yes, it was a good win (not that I saw it being in Pakistan!) and we should be well pleased, but come on let's not feel sorry for them because they have to sit on a plane for a few hours.
    On the subject of not seeing it, when is the BBC going to allow us licence fee payers who have to spend time out of the UK to at least watch highlights on the BBC site?

  • Comment number 21.

    Nikosbg.........I would take Walcott and Barry out of your list, but otherwise you do make a fair a point. Especially if we are to close the gap between ourselves and the likes of Spain.

    You are also right, we do have an easy group this time round.

    But in this qualification phase at least, England are not scraping past sides as you say, but are indeed getting resounding results and that is encouraging.

    It is always worth looking at how the other qualification groups develop to remind oneself, that for most teams who eventually qualify for major tournament, the route to get there is rarely plain sailing. eg Last night, Portugal were IMO one minute from being out of the World Cup. Who were they playing..........Albania!

  • Comment number 22.

    Great result, but time should now be up for Alan Green,his negative commentary is doing me in.

  • Comment number 23.

    I live in Almaty and was sitting in a Kazakh section with clients , my office people ( with KZ and St George's flag which was in demand for photographs ) and it was truly a great occasion for the Kazakhs and the majority of the travelling England fans who said they had a great time and had been treated like royalty in some cases , only the match spoilt it said some at the Namaste Indian restaurant opposite the ground .
    I am in the "job done" camp coz it is a long flight and the pitch is district league in english standards and the Kazakhs came out of the traps quickly and ruffled the superstars (some not so super ). I haven't seen the disallowed goal but we were just behind the player who scored and it looked a great strike and I think if it had been allowed as Capello stated , we would still have won and commenced our more improved play earlier spurred on by the defecit !!
    Anyway it was fantastic to have so many of my home countrymen in the city I now live and work and for them to have had such a great experience of Almaty ,some even staying longer to see the sites Ski Resort of Chimbulak and the Charyn Canyon etc There were a few bad experiences but this is a big city 1.6-2m inhabitants so there is some problems as with any city .
    England will improve and some players will come through and impress just lets get there ( I would prefer an englishman to lead us coz it is England but Capello has done a good job ).
    See you in South Africa fellow England Fanatics !!!

  • Comment number 24.

    Can NikosBg please vent his spleen on some other site? PLEASE

  • Comment number 25.

    England P6 W6 D0 L0 F20 A4. A record not matched by any other European team in qualifying to date. A robust refutation of the idiotic rubbish posted by NikosBg.

  • Comment number 26.

    some people just wanna crticise cause their mindset is negative...i want them to look at some other matches, france losing to nigeria,germany to china,argentina just managed to scramble past with a goal...and england scored 4....that's really a bad show for england u know!!! ur talking about big teams...england beat croatia and germany last year and they have formed a winning habit,taht' what cappello has managed to do.

  • Comment number 27.

    The treatment received by Ostapenko was a disgrace. He had clearly done something serious to his knee yet the "trainer" who came onto the field merely covered it in cold spray. What's more once they had taken him from the field they removed the stretcher and made him walk on it!

    Talk about cold war relics, that medical knowledge screamed 1970s to me, I'm sure Gary Lewin had his own views on it too from the England bench. We take so much for granted in our country, but this isn't the first time we've seen treatment like this, Kenwyne Jones got a similar injury in the friendly last summer and got poor treatment too.

    These injuries are no longer career threatening as they once were, here at least, due to dramatic improvements in medical training of club staff. But its obviously not the same in all parts of the world.

  • Comment number 28.

    Has it come to this? Wild press coverage after winning against a minnow?

    How will this team stand up against a proper team... and I mean not those useless friendlies.

    We'll find out soon.

  • Comment number 29.

    No.9

    I don't like making excuses, but England were playing a few days after making a 7000 mile trip and they were also playing on a poor playing field. I also believe that if England were playing a stronger team (no offence to Kazakhstan) like Spain or Brazil then I think they would be more motivated. The way they played yesterday seemed to me like "lets just get the three points so that we can head off for a peaceful summer." I doubt that would be the attitude in SA. Plus we were missing a few players. Green did alright, but I think that James should still be the No.1. Ferdinand helps to add calmness and organization to the defence (John Terry seems to need a partner who is cool and can chase a player e.g. Carvallho). But I think we do have a problem on the left wing and up front. This is how I think England should line up in SA:

    James
    Johnson
    Ferdinand
    Terry
    A.Cole
    Walcott
    Gerrard
    Barry
    Lampard
    J.Cole
    Rooney

    in a 4-4-1-1 formation

  • Comment number 30.

    Good Morning Phil,

    Thank you very much for your report from Kazakhstan, i see you took some nice pics, does anyone now where these supporters are coming from? Are they expats working in the oil industry?

    I want to believe none mentally sane has travelled with England for that game, and i would imagine the 3 british tourist Kazakhstan receive every year did turn up yesterday by a coincidence.

    About the blog, you made some nice points, however you will agree it is pointless to discuss them since the whole match and the aftermatch has very little interest for anyone.

    I know the summer is long and boring for a sports writer, but i think you could do with some holidays and you could save us these long and dire blogs (and some travel expenses too...) , this year has been very long for you i think, take a break Phil.





  • Comment number 31.

    I reckon the team for SA should be (providing they're not injured and playing regularly)

    Foster
    Johnson/Brown
    Ferdinand
    Terry
    A.Cole
    Walcott
    Gerrard/Lampard
    Hargreaves
    J.Cole/A.Young
    Rooney
    Heskey

    The three wingers can interchange
    4-4-2

  • Comment number 32.

    Oh and I guess Carrick could interchange with the midfielders

  • Comment number 33.

    It was a tidy result I suppose, with no cause for complaints.

    And it was interesting to learn that Kazakhstan is the 9th largest country in the world.

    You elarn something new every day.

  • Comment number 34.



    AndersonsLeftBoot

    You forgot G.Neville, so you have the complete Utd set there.

    I reckon the team for SA should be (providing they're not injured and playing regularly)

    - Foster

    - Hargreaves

    This is funny

  • Comment number 35.

    Phil

    An excellent and articulate piece, we all need to remember that this is not only just about the game and the result. If we want to host the world cup we must treat (as we did) our all our host with humility and respect they deserve. I think Cappello and the FA did an excellent job and we certainly made friends. Our players should never underestimate the impact they have on places like this, in that respect job very well done.
    The game, not a classic again job done, yes we want to be entertained but qualification is the goal I do not want that feeling I had in Nov 07 after the Croatia disaster it took me 3 months to get over it. Capello has the right ethic and is a pragmatist, look at the Germans and find me an England fan who would not swap our success for theirs any day.
    Well done the Fab and the FA keep up the good work

  • Comment number 36.

    Hang on... Our reserves have already beaten Germany and lost to Spain through essentially gifting them two very, very soft goals (we did not deserve to win that game, but I argue that neither did Spain, 0-0 bore draw would have been about right). We thrashed Croatia, the score line in all fairness should have been 5-0 (Lampard's goal seemed to be fine, and the Croatian goal shouldn't have counted for a face high boot in Terry's direction).

    Too many short attention spans, short memories and people on the bandwagon of criticising England because it has been cool for the last few years.

    Also, this game came at the end of a long season, most of the players played in the Champion's League final and FA Cup final, Johnson had been one of about 2 bright lights in his team's relegation fight all season as well. Green is inexperienced at international level as well, time to learn (although he still wouldn't be my first choice, he's had a couple of chances to prove himself, which have coincidence with a couple of very uncomfortable moments, may as well stick with the vastly more experienced and talented James). Also, the pitch was awful, there was jet lag to contend with, the climate was not ideal. You want a vintage performance despite all that?

    England must have the worst fan base in the world, Spain can scrape an undeserved victory against Belgium and go home thinking themselves the best in the world, we win 4-0 away in very difficult circumstances, and still our 'fans' do nothing but complain. Absolutely shocking support.

  • Comment number 37.

    England passed badly, ran badly and defended badly. Luckily Gerrard did his Liverpool thing for a change and the Kazakhs only had one defensive tactic which was to hold on to the England players- we could have had half a dozen penalties if only refs would clamp down on this more and more common practice. 3 points but little confidence.

  • Comment number 38.

    Argentina lost 6-0 to Bolivia in their qualifying, so England can hardly complain. 100% record says it all.

  • Comment number 39.

    "...to say he was "bundled" away does the ever-vigilant stadium security forces a great kindness."

    Especially when they tossed him back over the advertising hoardings. Should we wonder where this "poor soul" is now?

  • Comment number 40.

    I must say I'm disappointed by your glowing praise of the media corps.

    "Despite the dangers the bulldog spirit prevailed"

    The danger you seem to be referring to is that of sitting on a deckchair watching international football from a few yards away. You don't exactly need much daredevil spirit to face up to that terrifying ordeal, I could find a dozen volunteers just by sticking my head out of the window.

    No guts, no glory lads! Just remember that deckchair could be the end of you!

  • Comment number 41.

    angelthejam

    I may understand your reaction at me putting Foster in the team but I personally believe he is the most talented keeper we have with Joe Hart.
    I don't understand why Hargreaves is such a 'funny' choice? He is our best defensive midfielder. I'd like you to suggest someone better - Barry certainly isn't.

  • Comment number 42.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/internationals/8077218.stm

    ".. to a country that lies only 200 miles from the Chinese border as an excuse for any flaws .. ."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazakhstan

    "Kazakhstan, ... is bordered by Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and China. "

  • Comment number 43.

    Just be thankful we have 18 points out of 18. Only Spain and Holland can match that, and lets be honest here - Holland have an easier group than we do. We have scored the most goals, got the best goal difference and still people are complaining! The only game where during the game, I thought we wouldn't get the 3 points was Ukraine at Wembley. The great news for us, though is thanks to Croatia and Ukraine's 2-2 draw, we now only need 2 wins from our last 4 games. We have Andorra at home on Wednesday - fingers crossed for that and then... Croatia at Wembley - now that would be very satisfying if we sealed qualification against the country that ended our hopes for Euro 2008...

    Anyway, we won 4-0 away from home, have a 100% record in our group and are generally playing very well. Stop complaining and look ahead to Andorra which could be a banana skin...

  • Comment number 44.

    Kazakhstan 0 England 4

    Job done.

    Too many English people are moaning these days about everything.

    Sometimes a good deal less than perfection is plenty.

    Get a grip.





  • Comment number 45.

    Every major football championship a group of us hire a cottage somewhere for the opening 2 weeks and watch wall to wall footy and have the odd beer or two.

    Last time round at the Euros, even though it was some of the best football and drama we have seen in a long time, something was missing. Oh yeah England were missing.

    Needless to say our bi-annual footy fest was not the same. No anticipation, no exciting build up and no post mortems.

    Away from home, 0-4, 3 points and Fabio's your uncle.

    I would say to all the negative responses on here, do you want to see England in the next World Cup or not? If so you have nothing to complain about.

    So what if most of the English players are not world class, Greece anyone?

    I bet that if we won the World Cup playing dour football, not a single one of you would complain. If you do then I would say there are professionals that can help you with your mindset.

    Remember, international teams don't play week in week out, so if you expecting the kind of fluency as you would see in a club team, then your expectations are way too high.

    Great job Fabio and the boys, keep up the good work. Hoepfully you will peak at the right time. About this time next year please.

  • Comment number 46.

    It was great we won, but it would have been nice if Barry, Wright Phillips and Johnson (never seems to produce his club performances for England) could have passed the ball to an England player once in a while. Beckham showed composure when he came on and Lampard was the stand out player for me... cleaning up and tackling at the back (Barry's job surely?), whilst linking defence and attack.

    No doubt the pitch, tiredness and balloon they were using as a ball played a part but some of the control from the first three players mentioned was nothing short of abysmal. If Beckham could do it within seconds of coming on, why couldn't they? Must improve.

  • Comment number 47.

    I agree with many previous posters here - what a bunch of whingers England fans are. 4-0 away from home in a tricky tie, maximum points from 6 games, the best goal difference of ANY team in all the groups and still - moan, moan, moan! And the worst whiner of all is the BBC's Alan Green. I listened to his commentary on BBC 5 live: 'dreadful' 'shocking', 'awful', 'hopeless' was all he could say about England. That guy loves it, just LOVES it when England play badly (which in his view is all the time) as you can just feel how much he loves slagging England off! He gets a real buzz out of it, and if England do play undeniably well he always sounds disappointed! With Alan Green it's a case of damned if England play well (well, its Kazahkstan of course they should win is Greens attitude) and damned if they don't.

    When I watched it later on ITV I could hardly beleive it was the same game I had listened to earlier. England's perfprmance was satisfactory - not brilliant, but certainly not 'dreadful' or 'shocking' either. Yes, some of the passing was poor at times and they had a slow start, but once they found their rhythm they often passed and moved well and had some good moments. Not that you would have believed it listening to Alan Green. That guy is so biased against England and loves nothing more than seeing England struggle against mediocre opposition so he can stick the boot in.

    I repeat - played 6, won 6, best GD of any group, WC qualification as good as assured. Happy now Alan? No, of course not. So if not now, then when?

  • Comment number 48.

    abrighterview #36

    "Spain can scrape an undeserved victory against Belgium and go home thinking themselves the best in the world"

    Facts:

    Spain have been undefeated for 31 matches in a row since being defeated by Romania 1-0 in a friendly match on November 15, 2006.
    They have scored 59 goals while they have conceded only 11 goals in these 31 matches. They also have had 11 consecutive wins after the draw against Italy during the quarter finals in Euro 2008. Oh, by the way, they have actually won the European Championships.

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    well, phil? going to reply on the question as to whether the bbc will buy up any highlights? not all of us can afford setanta you know? disgraceful from the bbc to not show any highlights.

  • Comment number 51.

    Whilst our performance was clearly a long way off the finished article, we can take huge comfort from a couple of things.
    Firstly, it is inevitable that against a team such as Khazkakastan, that our performance will not reach the hights it could. As a team and as individules the preperation and attitude will never be the same against teams like Khazkastan, as it would against Spain,Germany etc. This is unavoidable and has to be expected.
    The other thing is, while the players themsleves admit they are not reaching their full potential as a team, they are learning and becoming excellent at grinding out victories. The team under Capello has found a steely nerve and ability to win at any cost, much like the one at Chelsea. While this is not pretty, it is an invaluable skill to have mastered for when the World Cup comes around which is, of course, a knockout competition.
    It has been said already, but a win is a win and at the moment, their is no one better in the world at grinding out wins.

  • Comment number 52.

    First off, job done the the guys, yes they are minnows, but that wouldn't have stopped McBrolly messing it up! Yes England started poor, and like Cappello said, tiredness is no excuse but you can hardly expect a manager to berate his team before the press when they just won 4-0! What I believe he meant about the tiredness before the match was that even a tired-jet lagged England should have enough, and so it proved.
    Should we be getting our hopes up? No, For 40 years the players have conspired to fall short at crucial moments, under good and bad managers, and I can't see it changing!

    What I would love to see though is England in a final, playing poorly till Beckham steps up and smacks a free kick past spains back wall and makes people like Phil eat 4 years of bad press articles! Is Beckham the best in the world? No, but still there is no-one who has stepped up in England to replace him (the contenders are average players at best) and until that happens he should be in the sqaud and continue with his "cameo caps". And Phil, maybe you should check the stats about the people that Beckham beet with his caps recently, the Bobbies 106 were mostly friendlys and sub appearences, only 25 were the full 90 of an international fixture! So do some reasearch before trying to destroy statisticly the most likely person to score in a world cup campaign ever to put on an England shirt!

  • Comment number 53.

    I am so peeved by how negative so many english fans are it makes me ashamed! Yes...performance wasn't great but we won a potential banana skin 4-0!If some of you aren't happy with 6 from 6 then I don't know what will impress you. All the comments on how we'll be thrashed by Brazil, Argentina etc...have you actually been following their performances in the world cup qualifying, they've both had some embarrasing results. Fact-Gerrard, Rooney, Lampard, Terry, Rio are world class and admittedly we have problems particularly in the goalkeeping but Capello has them believing in themselves and I for one will be behind them all the way!

  • Comment number 54.

    To 'AndersonsLeftBoot'

    I really like your team selection. Foster is the best english goal keeper but i fear next season for him will be very similar to the one just finished, not enough games under his belt will rule him out of selection. Hargreaves is far superior to Barry in tacking, speed, passing and almost every aspect of the game. But seeing as his professional career is in doubt I understand why people have forgotten that, along with Joe Cole, he was our best performer in the previous world cup. My team:

    Foster
    Johnson, Ferdinand, Terry, A.Cole
    Hargreaves
    Walcott, Lampard, J.Cole
    Gerrard
    Rooney Super Subs: James, A.Young, Barry, Ashton

    With Walcott and Joey Joe Joe on the wings we have the ability to actually take on a man. Gerrard can play wherever he likes but critically be there at the front to supply the killer pass to Roonster.

    If it needs mixing up for the last 20 mins, take off a centre mid (Hargreaves, Lampard, Gerrard) and bring on Ashton for a 4-4-2.

    What do you think? If anyone has Capello's mobile no. maybe you should text him my team!

  • Comment number 55.

    If it were not for gerrard i dont think england would have won probably would have lost. At half time England should have been down.

    Gerrard showed utter genius with attempting to lob the keeper and he set up both of the first two goals. Capello needs to learn to utilise Gerrard most effectively, and also barry was the worst player on the pitch alongside johnson, giving away the ball over and over.

    I really dont see england competing with italy, netherlands or spain

  • Comment number 56.

    Job done really. Nothing more needs to be said.
    Just hope they'll do a Germany and step up to the plate when it matters. In the Euros Germany got a pasting off a depleted Turkey and still won- just an example of what they are capable of. England will have to be the same if they want to win a World Cup.
    Not spectacular but it does the job.

  • Comment number 57.

    ppl like to critizice the likes of heskey,but the fact of the matter is,when he plays for england,we tend to get the result we need!
    he hit the post,scored a goal and won a penalty for england which aint bad,plus he occupys atleast 2 defenders when he plays which gives are other attacking players more space.
    rooney cannot play as a front man.

  • Comment number 58.

    and forget about ashton,,the boys always injured,,and joe cole may not return the player he once was,just like hardgreaves!
    ashley young deserves a chance.

  • Comment number 59.

    love-lfc..........I have watched the second goal several times and I still can't tell if Gerrard was trying to cross the ball and got a lucky deflection or intentionally chip over the keeper. The press seem divided on this one too, did anyone interview Gerrard and ask him what he was trying to do?

  • Comment number 60.

    People who are saying that England's performance was average and that we are still a long way away from being able to challenge the biggest nations are being unrealistic at best. Spain, England, Holland, and maybe Germany, are the only "big" teams, in any of the continents, to be having an easy time of qualifying. Englands team might be full of what some people think are 2nd rate players (I completely disagree), but thats never done Germany any harm in the last decade. Its got absolutely nothing to do with performances until the later stages of a competition. People also forget that international football in Europe is pretty weak right now compared to what it has been, look at France, Portugal, Czech Republic, Sweden etc. I know we shouldn't be looking for stuff like that to help us win tournaments, but at the same time we shouldn't overhype our rivals in comparison with us, we are a pretty good team on paper and now we are getting results on the pitch to justify that

  • Comment number 61.

    JohnDarlingUK

    Thanks for your.. feedback? (sounds like im conducting some kind of survery...)

    I've put in Brown next to Johnson depending on the game as Brown is much better defensively than Johnson where as Johnson is better attacking-wise.

    I personally don't think Rooney can play as a lone front man, he plays more in the Gerrard role does for Liverpool. That was why I chose Heskey.

    After thinking again, I think Aaron Lennon could have a good shout in the team as long as he can improve his crossing although I think this is partly due to the speed that he runs at.

  • Comment number 62.

    Jetlag? Give over. The performance was poor but you can't complain with the result. I don't know how much the surface played a role in England's terrible passing game, though it didn't seem to be affecting Kazakhstan all that much. Too many over hit long balls. I would love England to play some intricate short passing football but I honestly don't believe, with the exception of Rooney and Beckham, we have the skill and technique.

  • Comment number 63.

    I'm not a Lampard fan , but last night he was the best player for England.Sorry to say 50% of his passes go backwards, even when his team mates are 5 yards ahead in space. Overall a 6/10 performance with poor technique , concentration and control throughout, but the result was fine. 5 of these players on show in Kazakstan won't be on the field in South Africa thankfully.
    England have benefited from Capello's call for discipline on and off the field. We are the highest scorers in the European groups 20 goals for , with Germany next on 18, so if there is service to the front players, we will continue to be a threat.
    They look like quarter finalist's to me so far, though I haven't seen much of the usual suspects yet ( South American's )....
    As for the playing surface, poor, but compared to that on display in Albania yesterday for the Portuguese, it was like a snooker table , as I said earlier, some of our players couldn't trap a mouse ..!

  • Comment number 64.

    Miles away from home at the end of a long hard season and we get a 0-4 result on a tricky pitch and some of are complaining?

    Unreal guys!! Get a life.

    We are winning even when we aren't playing at our best.

    Capello is doing the job. May it long continue and I hope our fans can get behind them and give them a fair go...

  • Comment number 65.

    if we always thinking the three points Iam sure we can not challenge the big teams or bringing good result from the tounment, still long way to go. we need good players , who can hold the ball at least 30 second and pass with confidence.

  • Comment number 66.

    england were shocking, 4-0 sounds good but they played very poor for the pedigree of the team. theres proberly 10 international teams which would have beat england playing like that yesterday, its painful to watch this hyped build up to the world cup

  • Comment number 67.

    England team still remain untested. All the cheap route to world cup qualification should not be misconstrued as if they have arrived. Play grade A game, then you will know where you belong. Loss to Spain and France is a reminder, fine we won against Germany, but was that a grade A game? no, as the two teams fielded reserve players. Try Italy, Argentina, Brazil, and either of African top teams like ivory Coast, nigeria or Ghana to truely assess the strenght of the squad. All the games won so far are too cheap for a quality team like englan.

  • Comment number 68.

    4-0 maybe, but you have to worry once again about the lack of ability to keep the ball and the lack of composure shown by Gerrard and Lampard in midfield - two of our so called better players!

  • Comment number 69.

    Am i the only person who thinks its funny that portugal aren't going to make the next world cup? It could be worse people - we could be portugal!

  • Comment number 70.

    We've seen it so many times with Ericsson or McLaren. The so-called 'professional' and 'disciplined' performances. Scraping past Trinidad and Ecuador and boring the hell out of everyone - but it doesn't matter how you do it!
    ------------------------
    Some people are never happy. 4-0 and still moaning about a "boring" game? Certainly if your idea of boring is one team dominating, I think most England fans would love that kind of "boredom". Get over it Nikos.
    -------------------------
    Press & public unsurprisingly too narrow-minded to apply their knowledge and sense and admit that this squad contains too many footballers that are in all honesty 3rd rate. NOT EVEN 2ND RATE. Green, Johnson, Upson, Walcott, Barry, Heskey, Beckham, Wright-Phillips, Defoe. The truth of the matter is that as things stand these players do not belong in the latter stages of an international tournament, and would not (and cannot) find a place in the starting 11 of any club seriously competing at a high level of European competition.
    --------------------------
    Apart from Walcott and Defoe, none of them are going to be first team players anyways. Its not like Capdevilla is the greatest defender in the world now, he's worse than 2nd rate and still plays for your beloved Spain. Beckham 3rd rate? Could this be the same Beckham who's done so well with Milan? Players unfit for clubs competing at high levels of Europe? Remind me what club do Senna, Ramos and Silva play for? I didnt seem THEM in the last 8 of the CL. As for high levels, Germany, Croatia, Ukraine. I think there is some competition and quality in those sides, and guess what, England did beat them.

    Some of the comments here are ridiculous. People seem to love to moan England for no reason whatsoever. Most players in that team have just finished a long hard season and have still won 4-0, unlike Portugal who are barely scraping qualification atm. If I were an England player, I'd be ashamed of the armchair critics who just winge and moan even when they win convincingly. Such a shame that those outside England support their team a lot more and are behind the players while those within the country seem to find moaning a fashion statement. Its not the players, its these "fans" who are letting England down.

  • Comment number 71.

    I'm getting sick of people complaining about "poor performances". What do they want? The fact is we don't have the players to play total football. We don't have Xavi, Iniesta or Fabregas because guess what- they all play for Spain! Our team is good at what it does, and 6 wins out of 6 proves that. People need to get over this notion that we need to play attractive football in order to be successful. Just look at Argentina, a team with Messi, Aguero and Tevez, and they went and lost 6-1 to Bolivia.

  • Comment number 72.

    So this article basically patronised the Kazakhs but without Borat's humour.

  • Comment number 73.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 74.

    We got the win, which is the most important thing.

    Also, Croatia and Ukraine drew! Potentially, we could be qualified for South Africa by Friday (that's when Ukraine plays Belarus, I think).

  • Comment number 75.

    In the end we won at a canter. End of story. I don't care if we were shaky for the first half hour. Who can honestly say that their club team plays excellent football every week? A win is a win. Surely England fans can abandon the mindset that we should play dynamic, swashbuckling football at every outing. Kazakhstan away is a time for pragmatism...four goal pragmatism.

    Additionally, it's not like under Sven when the emphasis seemed to be on waiting for a set-piece in order to score and killing the game if we were in the lead. Capello has ensured that England continue to move forward until the final whistle. Obviously, I'd like to see us maintain possession and act more purposefully with our passing but then this is a common goal for most teams that aren't Spain.

    Further reason for optimism is that Portugal might not even qualify which means we won't lose to them in a quarter final AGAIN!

    So in summary, three points in the bag and an odd passport stamp. Good news.

  • Comment number 76.

    I really don't see why people bother even thinking of England winning the World Cup.They're no better than Russia,Romania,Serbia,Mexico,Sweden etc,these are the teams England should be bracketed with,it's been proved over the last few tournaments they are just not good enough.Being the highest paid does not make you the best,this team and players are light years behind Spain.Even a mediocre team like Portugal has beaten England in Germany 2006,Portugal 2004 and Euro 2000.Accept you're a mediocre team on the world stage and things will be easier for you all.

  • Comment number 77.

    A good job reasonably well done, and after loosing focus under MacLaren, this is probably the best England have looked since Sven's early days. However we never did any better than QFs under Sven, and despite Capello probably being more of a winner and a better coach than Sven, the latter had more quality and strength in depth. Whilst Capello is getting the best out of Rooney and Gerrard and more out of Lamps, reliance on players such as Heskey and Barry as key starters, and Johnson and Upson as 1st choice deputies means we have no chance of getting beyong QFs. We desperatley need a striker to emerge and Hargreaves to get fit, but neither seems likely. Barry is far to slow to cope with the counter attacking thrusts of the worlds best teams and Carrick showed against Barca that he couldn't get anywhere near players of the likes of Xavi and Iniesta. And who else is there in this key holding position. Huddlestone, Parker?

    The Premier League is no so full of foreign talent that the youngsters just aren't comin through. Fabio is workn wonders with this squad, and I reckon we should just go to SA to enjoy it, because the future does not look bright for future England teams. Being outclassed in a QF is probably the best we can hope for next year, and even more so in future

  • Comment number 78.

    Since when has Almaty, and even Kazakhstan, been in Europe?

  • Comment number 79.

    Phil,
    Hate to nit-pick, but your use of the word "pragmatism" in your blogs is becoming as ubiquitous as Clive Tyldsley's "boxer who's been hit with an early sucker-punch" metaphor. Comes off a little trite

  • Comment number 80.

    I really don't see why people bother even thinking of England winning the World Cup.They're no better than Russia,Romania,Serbia,Mexico,Sweden etc,these are the teams England should be bracketed with,it's been proved over the last few tournaments they are just not good enough.Being the highest paid does not make you the best,this team and players are light years behind Spain.Even a mediocre team like Portugal has beaten England in Germany 2006,Portugal 2004 and Euro 2000.Accept you're a mediocre team on the world stage and things will be easier for you all.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Is that why we're rated 6th in the world? Is that why we're one of three teams to have won all their World Cup Qualifiers so far- the others being Holland and the European Champions Spain? Putting us in the same bracket as Mexico, who are below the USA, Honduras, Costa Rica and El Salvador in their group, is laughable. What an idiot you are.

  • Comment number 81.

    BigGavB wrote:
    A good job reasonably well done, and after loosing focus under MacLaren, this is probably the best England have looked since Sven's early days. However we never did any better than QFs under Sven, and despite Capello probably being more of a winner and a better coach than Sven, the latter had more quality and strength in depth. Whilst Capello is getting the best out of Rooney and Gerrard and more out of Lamps, reliance on players such as Heskey and Barry as key starters, and Johnson and Upson as 1st choice deputies means we have no chance of getting beyong QFs. We desperatley need a striker to emerge and Hargreaves to get fit, but neither seems likely. Barry is far to slow to cope with the counter attacking thrusts of the worlds best teams and Carrick showed against Barca that he couldn't get anywhere near players of the likes of Xavi and Iniesta. And who else is there in this key holding position. Huddlestone, Parker?

    The Premier League is no so full of foreign talent that the youngsters just aren't comin through. Fabio is workn wonders with this squad, and I reckon we should just go to SA to enjoy it, because the future does not look bright for future England teams. Being outclassed in a QF is probably the best we can hope for next year, and even more so in future

    ------------------------------

    english youngsters are not coming through because there not technically good enough!foreign youngsters are alot better technically!if english players were of the same standard then clubs wouldnt have to go abroad to look for young quality players.
    the coaching in this country is what the problem is!its simply not good enough!
    think about it,many of the english players that have made it still aint good enough.
    england havnt won anything since 1966,foreign players didnt start flooding into the league untill the mid nineties,so what was to blame for englands lack of success before then??POOR COACHING,THATS WHAT.

  • Comment number 82.

    Whoever is complaining about this performance is a joke really. We won 4-0 which is better than most of the predictions. We have a 100% record in the qualitifiers so far. And still people complain.... OBVIOUSLY there is still work to do before/if we get to the World Cup, and things don't just happen overnight - England were a poor team under McClaren and don't forget that was only a year ago. So far, in the last year, we have done very well and hope we continue it and get to the World Cup. People who disagree are just those people that are moaners and whingers, you know the ones - ignore them.

  • Comment number 83.

    if english players were of the same standard then clubs wouldnt have to go abroad to look for young quality players.


    --------------

    ALL of England's players play in England except Beckham. Most of them have spent their entire careers at English clubs. People seem to forget this.

  • Comment number 84.

    I dont know what would be the appropriate scoreline that would satisfy the pessimists on this blog, or the type of performance they expect. Maybe 10-0 and the footballing version of the Harlem Globetrotters? I think people who think like this have a very limited understanding of the game. For example I watched Spain versus Turkey a few weeks ago. Turkey are pretty lame, they were very poor at the Euros, and their fierce reputation is no longer reflected by this current team. You would therefor expect an easy victory and a mesmersing disply from the European champions, and world number 1 team, right. Well they conceded a goal and struggled to get back into it. Gave the ball up a lot, and didnt get any real chances until late on when Riera and Alonso with a penalty kick made it 2-1.
    Disaster therefore based on the citeria of our "misery crew"? Perhaps Spain should think about dropped Xavi and Iniesta? Torres was not good and subbed, maybe he should not make the squad next time?

    England performance was 4-0. Thats 6 wins. We have more points and more goals than any other European team. Capello has restored a pride and confidence, and we are definitely going to South Africa. Watch, from here on in all the big names will be available for all the games, because Capello takes none of that fake injury nonsense from Man Utd. He will prepare them well and we will play to our strengths in South Africa. I predict semi-final appearance, and when it gets to the final four its anyones...
    I wonder if the "misery crew" will be happy then?

  • Comment number 85.

    no team in the world has 11 starting world class players, not brazil, not argentina, not spain and certainly not France, Germany, Portugal(who are seriously struggling to qualify)etc and ENGLAND are no different. A winning team does need a strong spine, strong defence, some flair, good manager, individual match winners... England have that do they not!? What i'm getting at is that we have every chance of doing very well in south africa, just like all of the above. I'm sick of people saying were not good enough, we lack quality, we lack depth etc(WE DO NOT LACK ANY OF THOSE). For me the problem is finding the right formation that allows as many of our key players to play and play well. 442 is not the formation and although Fabio stills uses it i think it has to go altogether. the formation last night allowed rooney to play in hole, gerrard had a licence to attack, lampard could venture forward not worrying about a wide open mid-field (barry was the anchorman), heskey holding the ball up allowing our gifted midfielders to get into the game. With this formation and tatic i think we can win games. Our main threat comes from mid-field so we must adapt to a formation that brings more of them into the game and i believe 4231 is the way to do it. We can certainly find 4 excellent defenders (a.cole, ferdinand, terry, brown back-up bridge, lescott, upson, johnson). two holding midfielders one with a little freedom to play (barry, lampard back-up carrick, hargreaves). three attackers behind lone striker (gerrard, rooney, j.cole back-up walcott, SWP, lennon, a.young, gabby, downing). Lone striker (heskey back-up crouch, c.cole).
    I honestly think this formation and team could compete against the best...

    JAMES

    JOHNSON? TERRY FERDINAND A.COLE

    LAMPARD BARRY

    GERRARD ROONEY J.COLE

    HESKEY

    LETS BELIEVE! SURELY THATS WHAT THE MAGIC OF FOOTBALL AND THE WORLD CUP IS ALL ABOUT.

    p.s i'm just grateful we can field a team that has a halve chance of winning in south africa. personally i can't wait for the tension, the drama, the dreams...

  • Comment number 86.

    I don't think the balance is quite there yet. I think Gerrard should be deployed in a more central role tucked just behind Rooney. We needn't worry about playing Heskey or Crouch to compliment Rooney because Gerrard's there who can make things happen. Playing the big man up front gives players the tendency to knock long balls up the field which isn't what we want to see. This will open space for either Joe Cole or Ashley Young to play on the left side. Lampard will then have to play a more disciplined role. The right side needs sorting as Walcott and Johnson both had shockers against the Kazaks. England to get 6 against Andorra!

  • Comment number 87.

    I agree that sometimes our players play pointless long balls to Heskey, but I don't think that means he should be dropped. We've seen so many times before that Rooney can't play as a lone striker, he needs the right person up there with him, and I think the fact that he's scored in every qualifier so far shows what a difference Heksey has made and how important he is to bringing the best out of Rooney.

  • Comment number 88.

    Bradinho08..........."Lampard will have to play a more disciplined role"
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If their is one player in the England team currently playing to Capello's strict tactical discipline it is Lampard.

    How on earth can he play a more disciplined role that he is now doing for England?

  • Comment number 89.

    So NikosBG is still alive - thought the Champions League final had killed him... Were the Greeks fussy about the fact that they won Euro '04 in the most tedious fashion ever? Obviously and rightly not. At the end of the day, pretty football is just pretty football. I am sure there are plenty of Arsenal fans out there who love the pretty football that they are entertained with, but would dearly love to see a trophy lifted too. It's a question of finding a way to win with what you have at your disposal - England players are not the most technically gifted in the world, so there is no point playing as if they are. Play to your strengths.

  • Comment number 90.

    oh~ my god~
    odds~
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 91.

    And people wonder why I think patriotism is pointless?

    To everyone complaining about the complainers, seriously don't bother. If England won the World Cup, they would still complain, ok? You would hear things like "lucky" and "scraping wins", as well as lots of posts starting with "Ok, England may have won the World Cup, but..."

    Nothing will satisfy these people. Nothing. Ever. All they care about is having something to moan about, whether it is their football club, their country, the weather or old Mrs Harris's cat on their lawn. If they didn't have something to moan about, they might just be forced to turn their criticism inwards and actually deal with all their insecurities, regrets, failures and the mundality of their lives. Heaven forbid, they might actually have to face the fact that their lives are shi... - well, I can't say what I mean as Auntie still clings to the fantasy that there's at least one kid out there that knows less swear words than your average dock worker, but you get my meaning...

    These people are not real football fans and should not be confused with the rest of us. While I did not watch the match (I refuse to pay for Sultana on principle of it costing too much damn money), the result and performance sounded just fine to me. Anyone expecting a team - ANY team - to bring their A game to a minnow opponent in the early qualifying rounds of a tournament at the end of a long and gruelling season has CLEARLY never been involved in any significant sporting activities in their lives.

    It doesn't matter whether your sport is football, tennis or extreme choir, you save your best performances for your best opponents. If you don't, you don't win. Is that really THAT difficult to understand?!

  • Comment number 92.

    4 nil, against a team of field labourers, on a pitch that would be ridiculed on a Sunday league stage, ok you could say job done and 3 points, but can anybody really really and I mean really see this current England side winning anything competition wise?? Spain and Holland to name two straight away would mock Cappello and the team that he put out.

  • Comment number 93.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]Fabio Capello gave a nod to Almaty's image-makers with a glowing recommendation for the National Museum and England's coach ended a tortuous trip to Kazakhstan three points closer to World Cup qualification.

  • Comment number 94.

    Why do so many of the moaners go on about not being able to see England winning anything? Do they not realise that most of us don't expect England to win the World Cup. Obviouls we would like them to win it but we don't expect it.

    All I expect is for them to get there and then get past the group stage and to show some will and determination and a bit of pride - that is what I expect of the players, something they abjectly failed to show for the Euro 08 qualifying tournament. Most of us are not so blind so as not to realise that there are nations out there better than England.

  • Comment number 95.

    England won and thats what they set out do, when before there was always a possibilty they would end up drawing or losing.
    However, they rarely have played against quality opposition. They have an easy group although hammering Croatia 4-1 away is a quite a result.
    I think they would have to step it up a level or 2 to be anywhere near contending next year.
    Only really played France and Spain, and got dominated in both. I think there is a lot of work to be done if England have any chance of being anywhere near winning next year.

  • Comment number 96.

    was walcott playing. did nothing against the poorest opposition. he has only had one good game in 92. awfully overrated.

  • Comment number 97.

    3 more points and England are looking good for qualification. Clearly we are still a long way behind the likes of Spain but given where we were a year ago I can't see what more Capello could have done.

    Realistically England are unlikely to win the work cup but a quarter final place is a sensible target and would represent significant improvement. We would need luck allied with discipline and some big performances to get any further but Greece and Italy have shown that the best team on paper doesn't always win international tournaments.

    But overall, the target has to be continued progress. That is what went wrong under Sven (after a very good start) and that will be Capello's biggest challenge.

  • Comment number 98.

    Just signed in to state that poster 55 is ridiculous. Gerrard played well, but England clealry would have won without him. As for his attempted chip, I think you'll find it was a misplaced through ball that got a massive deflection off a Kazakh player.

    England played well enough and got the result. We should start with the same team against Andorra.

  • Comment number 99.

    @NikosBg

    If you don't consider Johnson as the best right back in the country right now then you must not have been watching the prem this season. The guy has matured into a strong and fast player with good defensive characteristics, I think he got a shock in the first 20 minutes and he completely looked jet-lagged to me, not a reason to write him off as 3rd rate.

    and Barry 3rd rate? not a bitter Villa fan are you?

  • Comment number 100.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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