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Capello's conservatism costs England

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Phil McNulty | 07:21 UK time, Sunday, 5 June 2011

Wembley

Pep Guardiola's Barcelona took Wembley on a thrilling ride on the famous Catalan carousel. Seven days later, Fabio Capello's follow-up act was a journey with England into the chamber of horrors.

Capello was on familiar territory as England's inadequacies in the 2-2 draw with Switzerland in the Euro 2012 qualifier were explained away by tiredness at the end of a long season.

As Capello wandered out with friends to survey a deserted Wembley an hour after the final whistle and contemplate the hazardous route England still have to negotiate to reach next summer's showpiece in Poland and Ukraine, he should have looked closer to home to explain those failings.

Fabio Capello

Capello decided to pick James Milner ahead of Ashley Young. Photo: PA

And this is because the tone for a wayward performance and a draw that extended England's winless sequence at Wembley to four games, their worst for 30 years, was set by Capello himself.

England made short work of Wales in the qualifying game in Cardiff in March thanks, in large measure, to Capello's employment of Aston Villa's Ashley Young in a wide role that allowed him to at last demonstrate his potential at international level.

Young was building on his performance as a substitute in Denmark that brought the winning goal and much personal acclaim. The opposition was not at the high end of the world game, but Young fell firmly into the category of player Capello insisted he would encourage when he sat amid the wreckage of England's World Cup campaign in South Africa 11 months ago.

So it was to unanimous bafflement that England's team-sheet arrived before the meeting with Switzerland and Young's reward for his efforts was relegation to the substitutes' bench and replacement by Manchester City's James Milner.

Capello's choice was close to inexplicable but smacked of unnecessary caution against a Swiss side that, while marshalled by master coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, had taken only four points from four games in Group G before arriving at Wembley.

Milner's mixed form at Eastlands hardly merited his inclusion ahead of Young and Theo Walcott's claims were no stronger despite his selection. It left Capello wide open to charges that his gameplan was the product of muddled thinking and more evidence of his naturally conservative default position as a coach.

It was a move that looked even more ill-designed as England gifted Tranquillo Barnetta two goals from free-kicks to set Wembley on edge before Frank Lampard's penalty paved the way for a point to be salvaged after the break.

Capello's folly was underscored further by the fact that Young came on as substitute for the second half and took only six minutes to score a fine equaliser to at least rescue a draw for England - and win the sponsors' man of the match award for his lively 45-minute contribution.

The Italian coach's cause is not helped, on occasion, by the fact that the world knows the clock is ticking on his lucrative deal with the Football Association. He will leave after Euro 2012 and it takes a giant leap of faith to imagine that he will end his time in charge by winning the tournament - indeed he still faces a fight to get there.

To suggest, however, that Capello does not care about England is a dangerous occupation. He has a reputation that he protects jealously and it does him a disservice to question his commitment and his in-bred professional pride.

What is not in doubt is that this was a poor day for Capello. He got his selection wrong, was too cautious and even his decision to pick Bobby Zamora as a substitute ahead of Peter Crouch, who has scored 22 goals in 42 England appearances, did not stand up to close scrutiny.

If it was a bad day for Capello, he was certainly not alone as England concluded a long season in unconvincing fashion and with few reputations enhanced.

England were stripped of the suspended Wayne Rooney, who took advantage of his break to have a hair transplant, and the injured Steven Gerrard. Their drive and inspiration was sorely missed and handicapped Capello.

Switzerland, inspired by the fine young midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri, left England looking laboured and Barnetta's two free-kicks summed up the malaise.

The first after 32 minutes was missed by Rio Ferdinand, who at times looked to be suffering aftershock from Manchester United's mauling at the hands of Barcelona in the Champions League Final, as it angled in and goalkeeper Joe Hart reacted too late to make a difference.

Barnetta's second three minutes later was a shambles on many levels. Milner deserted a two-man defensive wall in schoolboy fashion and Hart's lack of anticipation was exposed as he attempted a clumsy - not to mention doomed - effort to kick the ball clear at his near post.

Lampard's penalty was his last meaningful contribution in an otherwise anonymous showing and his replacement with Young was the catalyst for England's improvement.

Young duly proved how wrong his omission was with his goal, but the villain of the piece in the later exchanges was Darren Bent.

Capello more or less admitted he had tempted fate by talking up the striker who has looked so assured recently, watching in agitation as he allowed Switzerland keeper Diego Benaglio to save at his feet before lashing a wayward finish over the top of an open goal late on.

Bent's misses raised old questions that he thought he had answered about his capabilities at England level. Three goals in successive games before Saturday suggest he should not be discounted on this latest evidence, grim though it was.

England's plus points were not restricted to Young. Arsenal's Jack Wilshere was tireless and creative, with one weaving run and perfect pass to set up Bent's first chance almost a flashback to the days of the youthful Paul Gascoigne.

And Everton left-back Leighton Baines, on as an early replacement for injured Ashley Cole, was in the sort of dashing mood that has his admirers convinced he is now almost the Chelsea defender's equal, contributing a crucial and clever touch for Young's equaliser.

Capello's day improved with Montenegro's failure to overtake England at the top of Group G when they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Bulgaria. He will take comfort in any form after the failure to beat Switzerland.

England's Euro 2012 destiny is now likely to depend on two testing trips to Bulgaria in September and Montenegro a month later. Improvement is required - from the coach as well as the players.

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Comments

Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    How England are even ranked in the top 10 in the world is a bemusement to me. Living on players Premier League reputations. As Gareth Southgate pointed out, the Premier League is a different style and different set of tactics to international football. Something our players cannot make adjustment to very well as we are technically not good enough to be able to. England are not going to win a major international tournament for a long time.

  • Comment number 2.

    The Swiss weren't walkovers. They were the only team to have beaten Spain at last years World Cup and they were certainly not the walkovers many people were portraying them to be.

    The decision to bring in Milner was made to contain the Swiss forwards, far more inexplicable was the decision to play Walcott over Young.

    Apart from that error, which Capello duly corrected for the second half, I can't really see what else he could have done. The second Swiss goal was just a complete mess up by the two man wall and the first goal also came down to hesitation between Ferdinand and Hart. Not sure what Capello could ahve done there short of playing himself in goal.

    The chances missed by Bent and Downing in the end again cannot be put down to Capello either.

    England need to stop assuming that they can steamroll everyone other than Brazil, Argentina, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands and then they might see that the team are playing rather reasonably.

  • Comment number 3.

    Come on it wasn't that bad. The Swiss were well organised and obviously fresher - tiredness IS a factor when you consider not just the amount but also the style of football English clubs play. Wilshere, baines, young, Milner, terry, and yes rio too all had a decent game. Ferdinand passed the ball well out of defence and kept their strikers anonymous - he wasn't at fault for the goal the ball went over his head. Incidentally I think our worst player was Walcott who broke down several attacks with his poor decision making- when will he learn..?

  • Comment number 4.

    What's the point of us even qualifying for next year's tournament if we're going to be 'too tired' again to take part? Never mind the players being tired, it's Capello's excuses that are what is getting a little 'tired'. Oh well, least he'll be gone after next year. Aside from that, we're just not very good.

  • Comment number 5.

    Hmmm... whilst Capello needs to take responsibility it is clear that it was really a defensive cock up that cost us the points. Really nothing to do with team selection. Don't understand this rant against the manager. I guess this blog was probably written before the game. Very poor. Very poor indeed.

  • Comment number 6.

    As I stated after the World Cup, Capello is not the man to manage this squad. His lack of man management skills continually undermines his players, and what, on the face of it looks like a tactical move at half time to bring on Young, in a clearer light, was a patch up job to cover up the original mistake of not starting him.

    The ball control skills of this england squad are horrendous, and when a team like Switzerland can keep the ball away from us for 10 minutes at the end of the game, it only serves to highlight our weaknesses. Capello cannot be blamed for our deficiencies in that area but he hasn't grasped what strengths we do have.

    The Montenegro game has now become a decider and it has all the potential of a Croatia in 2007.

    The days of the foreign coach are gone, and it's time to offer Redknapp the position, which he will gladly accept, before this whole thing goes pear shaped again.

    http://www.soccerlimeyinamerica.com/?p=1398

  • Comment number 7.

    Well of course it wasnt Alex Ferguson and Man Utd so there seems to b a general concensus for the press corps to jump back onto the England bashing bandwagon.

    We wont win every game. We arent that good as a football nation to expect to appear at the top table all the time. We will be beaten by so called lesser teams from time to time and drop home points against the likes of Switzerland now and again. (I bet Sepp Blatter was having a good chuckle to himself at half time).

    The Press have a habit of hyping everything English to ridiculous proportions and then calling for heads to roll as soon as those impossible expectations arent achieved.

    Come on Phil. Let's have a bit of realism here. The truth is we arent that good and we dont have the perfect manager, but we still head the group.

  • Comment number 8.

    One last comment and that is Capello's lack of conviction in his own decision making. Many managers are of the belief that Darren Bent is not international class, as was proved again today, but Capello continues to dilly dally around with players that he knows can't cut it. Milner is another one who doesn't measure up.

    He needs to make a determination on who's good enough and who's not and cut the chaff from the herd.

    Or let someone else do it.

  • Comment number 9.

    Average team, average manager, what do you expect? Yawn!

  • Comment number 10.

    Fatigue - apart from Young, Bent, Hart and Baines, how many others have played a full season? This has got to be the end finally for Lampard (annonymous) and Ferdinand (ball watching). They were woeful. Gerrard needn't bother coming back either as he contributes zilch when it really matters. Picking Milner ahead of Young was a very strange choice - however I am still absolutely bemused by the Walcott bandwagon. I have no idea what does he actually contributes and has developed very little in the last 3 years. Baines and Wilshire played well. Swiss are no pushovers but it still should have been a comparatively comfortable home win.

  • Comment number 11.

    The only people who can be blamed are EPL's substandard English players. No manager in the world can go anywhere with them unless EPL's mediocrity is sorted out. But that won't ever happen . Because people in England will always assume EPL is the best in the world.

    Its time for a bit less hype, a bit more quality

  • Comment number 12.

    Capello is showing how clueless he is when it comes to the England job. Agreed Young should have started on the left ahead of Milner, but not Walcott (as someone suggested earlier), who scares the living carp out of anyone whether he is having a blinder or more likely when he is playing like yesterday.

    Not sure what some fans see. Young was voted MoM yet Wilshere was the hardest working creator by a mile, Baines was better than Young as well, and if we are to be honest, Shaqiri and Barnetta deserved the MoM accolade.

    England created their own problems by not closing down early enough, meaning our last gasp lunges at players given time and spece to run at pace meant we were giving too many fouls away (and this is how the Swiss scored their goals). Even Steve Maclaren would have spotted this. Maybe not.

    One thing that struck me why Young should definitely not have been MoM was when he was put through not long after we had equalised with the opportunity to play Walcott in for an simple tap-in. Inexplicably he chose to belt it, it cannoned off his challenger and we were all of a sudden in a 3 v 4 at the back. Shocking.

  • Comment number 13.

    Big improvement in the second half with Young replacing past his sell by date regarding his international career Lampard & was lucky with the penalty.

    The players that enhanced their reputation were Young, Baines,Wilshere,Terry & it was obvious that Milner knew Young ability that they played together with Aston Villa & Milner had a good second half. Best winger & Centre forward we've got is Adam Johnson & Andy Carroll & sorely missed Wayne Rooney

  • Comment number 14.

    Come on it wasn't that bad. The Swiss were well organised and obviously fresher - tiredness IS a factor when you consider not just the amount but also the style of football English clubs play. Wilshere, baines, young, Milner, terry, and yes rio too all had a decent game. Ferdinand passed the ball well out of defence and kept their strikers anonymous - he wasn't at fault for the goal the ball went over his head. Even Bent's movement was good - he had an off day in front of goal but all strikers do. Incidentally I think our worst player was Walcott who broke down several attacks with his poor decision making- when will he learn..?

  • Comment number 15.

    This is poor journalism. If Young had played from the start you'd have won? Who can say. Credit to Capello for a good tactical adjustment at half time, and the England pressing which should have won it.

    The set piece defending looks to have been orchestrated by Arsenal, but overall it is not a performance that can be described as belonging in a chamber of horrors.

    The striking thing about football writing like this is the absolutism--- it's either raining crap or diamonds.

  • Comment number 16.

    another case of over-analysis on an england match, even if capello has looked like someone who couldn't care less for some time now. yesterday he seemed relieved and happy to use tiredness as an excuse. i thought he should have gone after the world cup shambles, and i think he would have walked away had he not been paid such a ridiculous amount by the fa. i doubt that anyone still wants him as manager, but unless he's paid off he wont go anywhere.

  • Comment number 17.

    England need to stop assuming that they can steamroll everyone other than Brazil, Argentina, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands and then they might see that the team are playing rather reasonably.
    __________________________________

    Absolutely. If the PL was played in another country, say Germany, or Italy, the best English players would be playing in its Wigans and West Hams. Ashley Young, who this article centers on, or Thoe Walcott, would not even be there at all. The England team is a group of players with a manufactured reputation which is sustained using constant hype in order to make the PL palatable at home. And looks like the FA has outsourced all its football responsibilities to the PL and found itself a job that can only make it look good - moan about FIFA.

  • Comment number 18.

    I sometimes wonder why top clubs and not so top international sides hire managers who have won it all, when all they really need do is employ someone who works for the red tops, or asspires too (like half the BBC football team)

  • Comment number 19.

    90 minutes twice a week and then complain of being tired is not a sign of professional fitness. Ride a bike for 200 km per day on a three week tour, thats being fit. Poor performance with a poor attitude to the people who pay to keep you in the style you have become accustomed to.

  • Comment number 20.

    The tiredness excuse is simply pathetic drivel really. Hey guys the bloody tournaments that matter are all in the summer, so whats gonna happen next year after another harum scarum season of the EPL.

    If i was an England fan i would honestly despair, the last good performance from an England squad was the 2004 Euros where Rooney i thought was honestly going to be an alltime great player, now somehow whether because of the Man U structure or himself he is merely a very good player for me.

    Very very sad to see, England will qualify for the next tournament where they will assume the usual Quarter final exit. There can only be one winner obviously and Spain and Germany look a class apart at the moment but surely supporters should expect England to produce one top class performance in a world tournament. Going back to the 2006 WC England have not produced a good performance against any single side in tournament play, pathetic. What is the point in having the best league in the world and being unable to beat any top team in a serious competitive fixture in nearly 10 years.

  • Comment number 21.

    capello doesnt care anymore and does anyone think milner is an international player?

  • Comment number 22.

    Another well thought out blog with absolutely no bandwagon jumping........ or not.

    The non-selection of Young was hardly the game changing catalyst for a Swiss win was it? Or are you now agreeing with Martin O'Neill (who I seem to remember you mocking Phil, when he said Young was "World Class" a couple of years ago?).

    I appreciate that England were better for 15 mins after the break and that Young scored, but after the goal where was his contribution? He did NOTHING after his first 10 minutes other than give the ball away in promising positions. How he got MOM is beyond me as both Baines and Wilshere had far better games.

  • Comment number 23.

    We're not the best side in the world, but I still feel this article is unfair on Capello and agree with #2 that there's very little you can do as a manager about bad defending. (I also think it was harsh to criticise Ferdinand for the first goal as he had gone with his man - where was the cover on the men coming in behind him?)

    I had a feeling during the last, near-flawless qualifying campaign that the press wanted to get stuck into Capello but had no grounds; since the World Cup everything has been Capello's fault. Now that they've decided that they want him out every tactical flaw or selection error is yet another reason to give him the push. Because the press are *always* right, of course...

  • Comment number 24.

    Phil, you are falling into the age old media trap of thinking England should beat anyone and everyone all the time. We are simply not good enough. The english game produces players for its club football which, improved by good foreign imports, creates an exciting product (best league in the world etc !!). When it comes to international football our players don't have the right qualities to succeed. Instead of criticising lets accept our limitiations and be realistic and get behind our team.

    We will only be successful when we start teaching the next generations how to play the modern game and/or making success at international level our top priority (will never happen - the clubs are too powerful)

  • Comment number 25.

    Yes, England were poor and I agree that the buck stops with the manager, but we had enough on the field to win. Switzerland, despite being methodical and well organised with a great manager, are not the greatest team in the world. Regardless of selection, we should be beating these sides. Yes, Young should have started, but are we basing the failure to win this game solely on him not starting? It's a damning indictment of this team if that's the case.

    Capello deseves the criticism he is getting, but so do the players. I do not buy this tiredness excuse, they are athletes working day in, day out at top clubs with top physiotherapists, dieticians etc. It seems that some of the players are getting away with it and Capello is taking the full brunt of it all.

  • Comment number 26.

    It's funny how other nations don't let the fatigue from a long season get to them. If England feel that they are tired then maybe their fitness programme needs a drastic overhaul.

  • Comment number 27.

    england need to get rid of the likes of lampard,ferdinand and some others who have dragged the team down with their egos.i watch england sometimes and wonder why do we bother supporting them,the football is hideous the morale is rockbottom,passion,enthusiasim and determination is non exsistant.we always hype these wasters up and they horribly choke,and with players like young and baines fighting for regular slots in the 1st 11 it shows we can go further down,it isnt the managers fault it is the players end of story,so before 66 and after 66 the manager was the issue each time for our choking and terrible football so ugly i watch with my hand over my face?capello is a winner the players are losers.

    everyone knows we are useless and cant be compared to other teams and deep down we know england have no chance to get to the semi's of a major event never mind a final/win

    if you look at the spanish team 7+ are barca players and the rest are from madrid and other teams in spain,they have political veiws they disagree with but come through their issues ,whereas the england players will kick up a stink if they are not being paid the same as player A B or C,like come on andy carrol worth 35m and milner 24m that is delusion

    it starts from grass root teach kids to pass the pall force home the message of technique and skill,instead of kick,run,run,run kick,smash a player,long ball and run some more.stoke have invented their own technique long throw into the box,if barca or another spanish team done this they will be booed not cheered like they are here.it is worring but i dont realy care anymore if england lose consistantly then the headless chickens at the FA might actually do something

    players like rooney are overhyped to the hills,he was ronaldo's plaything at man u and now he cant move an inch towards messi who performed when it mattered most in the big ocassion ,unlike rooney he is all muth and does nothing,the only possitive was jack wilshere if he hadn't played 55 matches for a 19 year old he could of won us the match with passion,enthusiasim and determination that his "teammates" lack and will never have

  • Comment number 28.

    Yes, England were poor and I agree that the buck stops with the manager, but we had enough on the field to win, or should have done! Switzerland, despite being methodical and well organised with a great manager, are not the greatest team in the world. Regardless of selection, we should be beating these sides. Yes, Young should have started, but are we basing the failure to win this game solely on him not starting? It's a damning indictment of this team if that's the case.

    Capello deseves the criticism he is getting, but so do the players. I do not buy this tiredness excuse, they are athletes working day in, day out at top clubs with top physiotherapits, dieticians etc. It seems that some of the players are getting away with it and Capello is taking the full brunt of it all.

  • Comment number 29.

    How come England are tired and Barcelona aren't? The intensity of the 4 games against Real Madrid must have taken a lot out of them yet they still performed.
    Despite what anyone says, England underestimated the opposition and were not up to it. That is Capello's fault, even though he initially sent out a side designed "not to lose". That's his way and he won't change now. Despite his reputation, he just doesn't seem to have the motivational ability required at international level where every game is a Cup tie.
    There is also a striking lack of depth of quality in the England squad, emphasised by the comparison with Spain, who despite resting most of the Barcelona players, still beat the US easily, and the US beat them last time out.
    I was struck by the MU/BCN game where BCN had a majority of Spanish players and MU had a majority of non UK players. There must be a knock on effect of players used to playing at the highest level, ie, Champions League and internationals.
    The fault of the Premier and it's business ethic maybe?

  • Comment number 30.

    This "too tired" excuse is complete and utter rubbish. These are highly-paid professional athletes who, apart from Ferdinand, haven't even played a competitive game for nearly two weeks. Add to that Lampard not playing for half a season, Parker only playing one full game in the previous five weeks, the likes of Milner not having exactly been a permanent fixture in the Man City side all season and the tiredness explanation starts to unravel pretty quickly. Besides, haven't most of the opposition players also had long, hard seasons in various European leagues?

    The simple fact is that Capello should have walked or been pushed after the World Cup debacle. Another manager wouldn't be able to address our inferior technique problem but almost certainly would not have started Milner in place of Young.

    Part of me was hoping that Montenegro would beat Bulgaria last night, just so that Capello can leave earlier. We're not going to win Euro 2012 because we're not good enough so what's the point of going accompanied by all that inevitable media hype? And, as a previous poster pointed out, what's the point in going if they're going to be too tired anyway. We have two difficult away games against an improved Bulgaria and a tricky Montenegro to negotiate if we're going to automatically qualify. Because, does anyone fancy our chances in a two-leg play off against Croatia, Serbia, Russia, Czech Republic, Sweden, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, or even the Republic of Ireland? I certainly don't, because these players would probably bottle it and our buffoon of a coach would almost certainly pick the wrong team.

  • Comment number 31.

    Capello couldn't care less about the England job - he is passionless and the national team spineless.

    Time to sack him and give his job to a young manager who is proud to be English and is a proper fighter and leader.

    Step forward Stuart 'Pyscho' Pearce. The ONLY man who can save England now.

  • Comment number 32.

    #9 just about has it right. Don't you idiots remember how bad we were at the last WC (and all the other recent international tournaments for that matter)? Nothing has changed! We are still technically challenged; we still try and play the same mediocre brand of football. No overpaid coach is going to be able to change that. Every few years, we change the coach and everyone thinks we're going to be world beaters. Somewhere along the line we have to realise that there's a limit to what any coach can do. We play very average football and are never again going to be world beaters unless there is a fundamental overhaul in the way the game is played, coached and managed. I can't understand why it comes as a complete surprise to everyone.

    I'm not sure what the saddest thing about this is: the England performances or you lot in complete denial about the state of English football. Wake up!

  • Comment number 33.

    England will never get anywhere as long as the FA does not address issue of foreign players in the Premier League. And they want to break away from FIFA my foot!!!!

  • Comment number 34.

    Tired? How about this? Messi played a WC in 2010, came back to domestic action and played all but 2 or 3 league games, all the Cup games, all the European games, and international friendlies. Then he is off to play in the SA Championships, after which he will report back to domestic scene in Spain for next season. Maybe, next time a BBC journalist gets a chance to interview him, the one and only question should be 'how come you don't get tired?'

  • Comment number 35.

    Trying to pin any blame on Hart, especially for the second goal, is a sign of how completely clueless and inept Phil McNulty is.
    Do you understand why Hart put a 2 man wall in place ? Shall I explain it to you as if to a child learning the game ?
    They were covering the part of the goal that Hart could not. Hart was covering he back post and potential cross in to the area. It's about angles.
    Wilshere knew he was in the wrong to break away, and every other "knowledgeable" pundit said so. Except you.
    Just take a look at the blinkin replays if you can't understand something this basic.
    Woeful article.. Again.

  • Comment number 36.

    To everyone saying we're a mediocre team, with an average manager and should never expect much, that's just pessimism. Yes we're not the best team in the world by far, but we should still have more points in our group than we do. We fielded a sub-standard team, so a draw wasn't as poor a result as everyone's making out.

    However, 4 games in a row at Wembley with no victory? And not even against decent sides. That's the statistic that worries me, and until we get a new manager in, someone who really understands the English side, that's not likely to get much better.

  • Comment number 37.

    Stupid forrins comin in an riun are game, they cant even talk proper, like, you know what I mean? they should be banned, like, know what I mean.

    Simple fact, England could have god himself in charge, we are not good enough, change will take years not weeks and a new manager.

  • Comment number 38.

    Lampard, Ferdinand, Terry and - had he been fit - Gerard.

    Too old.

    Past it.

    Won nothing for England.

    Time to move on.

    As demonstrated by Young's performance.





  • Comment number 39.

    Tired, I haven't had a day off for over 3 weeks and put in a 15 hour day yesterday, got in at 10.30pm - and back in today, all for what these 'sportsman' get paid for jogging around a training for a morning. Overpaid, overrated, pampered average footballers.

  • Comment number 40.

    Terry's and Capello's comments are indicative of -we must always have an excuse but we must never ever admit we're not good enough.
    It will take time but the English football supporting public will come to realise that the most money gorged lge in the world with the highest paid footballers in the world cannot produce decent England players.
    England are so utterly predictable-play it along the back then hoof it forward or out to the wing where the winger gets to the by line and sends in a cross. Watching Barca last week on the same pitch just emphasised just how poor we are.
    We need:
    1) More UEFA coaches with all the badges (Spain have 10 times as many)
    2) More UEFA trained coaches working with under 10s (Spain have 5 times as many)
    3) Performance related pay for footballers-it is abhorent what they earn
    4) A cap on foreign players in the PL (Spain can choose from 72% of La Liga, Capello has 32% of PL)
    5) A root and branch overhaul of the FA-they are simply the worst governers of our national game
    As for Capello -is there anymore striking example of someone "taking the money and running" since Don revie went to the Arab Emirates? He is winding down and seeing out his contract and is working on auto-pilot. How elose do you explain the inclusion of Lampard and Milner?

  • Comment number 41.

    we all know that Capello was and still is a mistake. But we have to lump it until next year. All I can say is that hopefully cheshire indian wont be on the short list to replace Capello as he seems as tactically naive.

  • Comment number 42.

    Unfortunately for Capello, England fans do know the difference between sh*ite and shinola, and yesterday was definitely not shinola. Very little energy, hardly an incisive pass and no creativity whatsoever. Yes, it’s a long season blah blah blah but those overpaid mercenaries never fail to give the impression that pulling on an England shirt is not much of an honour, more a nuisance, especially when the beaches are calling and there’s all that bling out there to be draped over partners.

    Why do I keep getting the feeling that England players are just not all that good technically ? Perhaps it was watching Barcelona a week ago showing what a good team really looks like and what carthorses the best of the PL are by comparison. One’s heart really does sink when Fabio’s team sheet comes out and we see the same old same old - players who are perfectly competent PL players but who are simply not true international class - Milner, Downing, Walcott, Young, Carrick, Barry, Johnson, Defoe, Crouch, Lampard (now - his best was some years ago) and Bent to name but a few. Does even the most diehard England fan really believe we can win anything with that lot cluttering up the pitch ?

    Switzerland outplayed us for most of the game and but for Djourou’s monthly penalty gift getting us back into it, we would have been pointless. Bent missed his usual sitter: against top international sides (and even Switzerland !) chances are few and far between. Despite all his PL goals, how can you rely on an England striker who is perfectly capable of fluffing so many easy chances ? We simply did not see Owen, Lineker or Shearer making so many errors. Parker & Wilshere deserve a good run on sheer effort alone and Hart has the talent (when his wall doesn’t go AWOL) but the prospects even if we do succeed in qualifying for the 2012 finals are just too depressing. Who wants to go through another feast of football like S.Africa 2010 ?

  • Comment number 43.

    It was a 'typical' England performance, what more do we expect? It doesnt matter who the manager is we dont have enoug top quality footballers to steam role teams like Switzerland.

    Does anyone think Milner, Parker, Bent, Johnson or Walcott are top level footballers?

    Capello could be replaced by Guardiola & it wouldnt make much difference. Look at the squad of players he has to choose from, a bunch of strikers consisting of Defoe, Crouch, Zamora & Bent. 3 of them have hardly cut the mustard in the PL for years & Bent just isnt international class yet it is all Capello's fault.

    I saw Newcastle v Chelsea & Barton was all over Lampard, it is clear that his legs have gone & should be jettisoned by the manager but the press would have a field day if he tried it.

    Also regarding Hart, he may have put a wall up but diving legs first was just amateur, another one with a lot to prove. Good shot stopper but top level international football is about decision making, I am not totally convinced he has it but then again no 'keeper does from England.

  • Comment number 44.

    PS that should read 'steam roll'. my apologies.

  • Comment number 45.

    Quite surprised the performance of Glen Johnson was not mentioned. I was at the game and thought he was dreadful - maybe he didn't stand out because there were quite a few other poor performances.

    I actually thought that although England didn't play well, they made it worse by their lacklustre last 10-15 mins. They looked disinterested and content to keep the point, which was very frustrating. I think had they really gone for it and attacked to try and get a winner, even if it had stayed 2-2 people would be a lot less critical.

  • Comment number 46.

    I cannot understand why people continue to complain about England,when the fans are very anti,when it come to bringing in new players. Its the same old story,time after time...Terry Lampard Ferdinand ext,the same hard core that have let us down time after time,but are continually picked to produce the same old results.
    Young.. Downing.. Wiltshire.. Baines.. Johnson these are the players that should be picked ,to get us through.How are we going to blend the young players to play has a team ,if they only play for a few minutes or just sit on the bench.

  • Comment number 47.

    The more accurate assessment would be "Capello's lack of talent at his disposal cost England" which, granted, is also his fault.

  • Comment number 48.

    Surely the fact is, we expect too much? England no longer have any really world class players & certainly aren't a world class team. Rooney may be closest - but I bet he was glad he wasn't playing in either game. Perhaps top teams rely too much on foreign players rather than fostering homegrown skills - it's too easy to pay several million punds to plug a gap! I don't believe enough time is spent on teaching players to be good at several skills. Yes, Walcott is great at running at defence but if he can't make the final pass, he's totally wasted. Surely someone can teach him that? It wasn't just him though it was a team effort to be substandard.
    I also wonder if Capello watches players in the Premiership but doesn't translate that into world games - the premiership is a mile away from international matches, as Man U sadly found out. Look at the way players expect the referees to treat them in both games - there's often a marked difference - though perhaps not so much last night.
    It's not the time to change things drastically now but after next year's European games (if we get there!) England need a real rethink, starting with a manager who really understands how English players work, who can manage them properly & who can instill a bit of passion & pride into them. Not many of them seemed to realise they were playing for their country last night.

  • Comment number 49.

    What is the point in having the best league in the world and being unable to beat any top team in a serious competitive fixture in nearly 10 years.
    -------------
    England doesn't have the best league in the world. I assume you slept during last week's Champions League final.

    Switzerland is about the level England play at, so a draw against them is a fair result

  • Comment number 50.

    It has to be the mangers Fault. He picks the team he picks the formation. We have A Johnson who is not tired and ready to fight for his place in England and is way better than Walcott. Why would he put Frank Lampard in the starting line up, surely they have enough experiencing to see if he was tired and off he comes at half time with fatigue losing a vital fresh pair of legs in the latter stages for a new sub to come on. Milner can player deeper role as he does for Man City and then let Wislhire push more forward and attack on the Flanks with Young and Johnson. We have the players to be a top international team but we havent found the right manager, its a manager and tactic problem we have, Walcott is not a good player i dont care how fast he runs with the ball, at international level we dont need people who get confused with what to do on the ball when he gets into prime positions, he has had his chances and time for him to concentrate on club level. Bent how he missed that i will never know, unforgivable..... Downing angle was much harder and he was running onto the ball and had just come on. We need a better manager firstly and there is no way we will not qualify, but then who will be our manager.... it maybe a while until we get a cup and because of poor tactical decisions by the management we have wasted years of good talent, its like we employ managers to make sure we dont win anything. Sven with his obsession on his starting 11 and terrible and strange substitutions and now Capello who doesn't understand English footballers or maybe does not even like them, remember he was the man that ruined Micheal Owens Career at Real Madrid.

    Get Harry Rednapp or Martin O'Neil.

  • Comment number 51.

    Dont think Capello ruined Owen's career, unless you actually think he was a better player than Ronaldo at the time? Owen ruined his own by being more interested in horses than developing his game as the injuries caught up.

  • Comment number 52.

    When are England fans and their media finally going to realise that they do not have a God-given right to defeat teams such as Switzerland. The latter have a decent, workmanlike side with some average players and a few good players. That is England's level, and in fact the Swiss were the better side on the day. The likes of Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Netherlands and a few others operate at a much higher level. Do we really need this inquest every time England lose or draw against another average side? It is tiresome and smacks of arrogance.

  • Comment number 53.

    In fact i wanna go on a bit of rant. As an English fan i am sick of tired of good quality players being played out of position and making poor choices tactically and picking teams based on the image created by the media.

    England have world class players, England have enough to be a regular semi final team in all competitions and every now and again sneaking into the final and once every 10 years winning a cup. I think that is realistic, and its more than fair to say that it is the managers not the players fault we are not doing this.....

    Just look at the selection last night, everyone was surprised, but some how or another we just dont understand Fabios brilliance, nonsense the guy is not good enough, he was the main reason our country was not only bad but a complete laughing stock at the world cup, him and nodody else, and the only thing that is getting tired is our patience seeing him as manager......

  • Comment number 54.

    @sirHellsBells
    Please get someone who has played football to explain to you why it was virtually impossible for Hart to get to that free kick once Wishere had moved 2 yards to his left. No goalie could have predicted that. It was fundamental error by Wilshere, who I still believe is England's best player these days.
    It may have looked clumsy by Hart going with his feet but he had zero chance of diving forwards for that due to his position at the back post.
    I can't believe you don't know this if you claim to be a fan of football.

  • Comment number 55.

    Well according to the stats he was better than Ronaldo at the time with minutes to goals on the pitch, and nay good manager would guide him away from personal problems off the pitch but he just snubbed him.

    poor comment....

  • Comment number 56.

    I think that it just shows you how big a step up international football is compared with the premier league. I mean scott parker was so out of his depth is was untrue, i mean ok so he can play in the premier league for a team that is struggling and he is the best of a bad bunch, he is a leader but i'm sorry he is not good enough to be playing for england. His distribution of the ball is not good enough and once he crossed the half-way line it was apparent just how out of sync he was. Obviously capello should have started with young but i would have also put huddlestone in the middle instead of parker. I am also still to be convinced that leighton baines is good enough and you have to say that the whole team does not look capable of getting past the quarters of any championship. bent young and wilshere are going to be key in them progressing but i think that players like ferdinand terry lampard gerrard etc they are passed it and england are in trouble because i really don't see them beating the likes of spain france germany holland etc all of which have developed and will almost certainly be in the later stages of the euros. Hopefully some players can step forward for the u21s because england badly need something fresh just like wilshere has produced consistently when he has been given a chance maybe mcceachren should be given a chance and i'm not sure why pearce didn't put benik afobe in the u21s because he is a real talent and has been class in his time at huddersfield.

  • Comment number 57.

    The problem is long term. Not the fault of the PL.


    Going back over the last sixty years...

    Germany have been in SEVEN world cup finals and SIX european finals.

    England have been in ONE.


    We just ain't that good!














  • Comment number 58.

    1) More UEFA coaches with all the badges (Spain have 10 times as many)
    2) More UEFA trained coaches working with under 10s (Spain have 5 times as many)
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    My youngest son Javier aged 6 trains twice a week and plays friendlies every Saturday. During training there are more than 100 kids split into groups with about 10 qualified coaches. Every kid has a ball at his feet, head, chest, at all times and sessions are centred around having fun. Kids learn to do things with the ball, dribble, step overs, pass, control etc always with their heads up looking for options. Spain are light years ahead of England with the development of technical skills and will continue to dominate world football for some time.

  • Comment number 59.

    Owen came off the bench when games were won & scored goals in that fashion, Ronaldo was twice the player owen was & Capello was gone at Madrid when the decision was made to sell him, as we have said English players lack technique in comparison to Spanish players, Owen was out of his depth in that league & would always be a player to come off the bench.

    With regard to Hart, you may be some uber goalkeeping coach but he did not cover himself in glory, a point made by most pundits during and after the game.

    The guy was always going to shoot near post, any football fan knew that and to dive legs first smacked of a player scared to connect with his near post.

  • Comment number 60.

    I thought it was a shame that Cole started over Baines. After all, Baines has had a fantastic season with Everton, it felt a lot like another case of selection only from the "Top 4". Teams should be picked based on form, regardless of who they are, where they play and what division.

    As for the free kicks. I think that the wall can be blamed for both of them. The first was within shooting range and the two-man wall didn't even look like it was a threat to Barnetta. The wall should've had at least one more man and been more central. The second one; Milner pussied out, ran away and the ball travelled right through where he was supposed to be standing.

    Bent looked slow and unconvincing. All that he can do as a striker is 'tap-in' and he couldn't even pounce on the perfect opportunity for that when it came. Absolute tragedy that Capello seems completely oblivious to Sturridge. The only way that anyone can say that Sturridge didn't deserve to be in yesterday's team would be if all the other English strikers had better end-of-season scoring records.

  • Comment number 61.

    apart from the absolutely mistaken blaming of Hart for the second goal I agree with Phil. (come on Phil, how could Joe Hart have been able to reach the second speculative free kick of Barnetta? after the first goal he went back to the rear post. how could he have known that Millner make such a stupid mistake????????????????????????? you should realize that are no goalkeepers on the world to reach the other post in time!)

    what I really do not understand in Capello: if he wants Bent to spearhead the attack why doesn't he give him a better chance of using him with Young and Downing together like at Villa? he could have built a defensive midfield behind them and start changing at halftime if it hadn't worked.

    any idea?

    btw. has anybody noticed how many years Capello grew older by his face in the last year? this guy clearly looks like as an old and conservative tyrann - like Blatter. or is it blasphemy to tell you that English football has its own Blatter??? :-)

  • Comment number 62.

    MB

    If i speak for myself i do not agree with you that i think we just need to turn up to win. I think each and everygame we need to fight and play 110%. That is what every player should do when playing for England play their socks off and play with their heart. England in fact are lucky that all the players play in the Prem, other players have to fly half way round the world, anyone ever had jet lag. So i hate this nonsense that our players are tired, other teams are not?

    We have the players to brush aside teams like the Swiss... It doesnt mean we have a god given right to win, but we certainly have the players, but not the management.

    Fabio out thats the solution and anyone that follows football can see that he got it wrong, teh swiis found space and passed it much better and much sharper and England were off balance and had one really over rated Walcott on the right.

    Woeful managing is to be put under scrutiny here not the result, its ok to lose a game, its ok to draw but what we want to see is a team that functions and even if we get beat or draw the game then we should put in performances that make us a nation proud that our boys fought till the last minute and the manager used all his resources correctly, the factors that i feel are absent, and should be addressed asap if we ever wanna have any chance of competing against the true world class sides. I feel we have the players but not the spirit or the coaching set up....

  • Comment number 63.

    Fatigue hahaha
    Average team have been for decades

  • Comment number 64.

    54.
    At 10:16 5th jún. 2011, fatClyde wrote:

    @sirHellsBells
    Please get someone who has played football to explain to you why it was virtually impossible for Hart to get to that free kick once Wishere had moved 2 yards to his left. No goalie could have predicted that. It was fundamental error by Wilshere, who I still believe is England's best player these days.
    It may have looked clumsy by Hart going with his feet but he had zero chance of diving forwards for that due to his position at the back post.
    I can't believe you don't know this if you claim to be a fan of football.

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

    the man in the wall was Milner not Wilshere!

  • Comment number 65.

    I am not saying Owen is as good equal or better than Ronaldo, i am saying that Fabio didnt like Owen.... Even the Real Fans at the time would get frustrated with Fabio snubbing Owen so i will listen to them as they watch Real play week in week out ;)

  • Comment number 66.

    54. At 10:16 5th Jun 2011, fatClyde wrote:
    @sirHellsBells
    Please get someone who has played football to explain to you why it was virtually impossible for Hart to get to that free kick once Wishere had moved 2 yards to his left. No goalie could have predicted that. It was fundamental error by Wilshere, who I still believe is England's best player these days.
    It may have looked clumsy by Hart going with his feet but he had zero chance of diving forwards for that due to his position at the back post.
    I can't believe you don't know this if you claim to be a fan of football.

    ____

    Might want to get your facts straight before you start having a go at other posters. I do agree with your general point but it was Milner that stepped out of the wall, not Wilshere.

  • Comment number 67.

    @64: You beat me to it. Still, I agree with fatClyde that it was hardly Hart's fault that either goal went in; it's easy to say that he should have reacted faster but in both scenarios the defence was set up to avoid him having to react. Goal 1: Ferdinand and Terry both failed to clear it, and Ferdinand completely misjudged the flight of the ball and jumped underneath it. Goal 2: Milner moved, so the wall that was meant to block the angle to the near post no longer existed.

  • Comment number 68.

    To quote Ray Davies......So tired, tired of waiting, tired of waiting for you.... to come up with goods.

    Fabio, you earn 6 million a year to do whatever it is you do. Can you not see who is fit to play and who isn't?

    It isn't as if it matters which of your squad of world beaters is up to the task.






  • Comment number 69.

    While I'll agree the Swiss are not pushovers, England beat them comfortably in Basel. Interestingly though, on that occasion the Swiss produced 10 minutes of good football. During this 10 minutes, England flapped! It seems raising your game above mediocre is enough to beat them.

    I'm tired of the excuses, which will be trotted out again and again as all players and coaching staff know nothing will be done about them.

    "We're tired" - OK FA, cut the premier league to 16 teams and the football league can drop the Coca-Cola cup. No? Didn't for one second think you would. I also don't think it would make a scrap of difference, other than removing the excuse.

    I see Ben Foster is "taking a break from international football". Why do players feel they can choose to play for the national side rather than grasping it as the honor it should be? This attitude is why England are average. Ben's is another name you should be removing from your contact-list Fabio. Add to his Ferdinand, Terry, Cole, Lampard and Gerrard. That might wake a few up!

  • Comment number 70.

    Same old comments regarding Englands performances and technical abilities of the players.

    Until the FA get junior league football sorted out once and for all and we start producing more technically gifted players instead of just the biggest athletes possible we will never compete with the best.

    Again lots of comments about Barcelona and how good they are but again it all goes back to how you produce players.

    My son is nine and four foot two and in 15 months time will be playing eleven a side on a full size pitch, and in the middle of winter to boot.

    Maybe thats why England players are not good enough?


  • Comment number 71.

    Firstly, your dig at Ferdinand's performance is laughable, he had a fine game. For the first goal the ball went over his head and everybody else's too yet somehow he's to blame? Think about it.

    His awareness and tackling were excellent and his distribution both short and long was fantastic.

    Leaving out Young was daft, England lacked threatening players who could pull something out of the bag so he should have started Young.

    Milner brings nothing to the table but hard work, i'm not sure he's attacking enough to even be a wide-midfielder at this level let alone a wing-forward.

    I wouldn't be too harsh on Bent, the fact that he's getting chances is a good sign that he can play at this level, his finishing is usually good so I think it was just a bad day.

    Lampard should be axed, he contributes very little and make the 4-3-3 look very blunt from midfield.

    Parker is aggressive and energetic but he makes needless fouls, is very simple in his distribution and doesn't shield the back four very well.

    I think England should try to play with their best technical players in midfield and play the forwards with the best movement to compliment that.

    -------Carrick Wilshere--------

    -----------Rooney-----------

    Walcott----------------Young

    ------------Bent------------

  • Comment number 72.

    My only observation is that many of the England players seemed to be able to walk off the pitch in a very relaxed way. If they are supposed to be exhausted after a long season or whatever excuse was given, they should have looked exhausted. This was the last game of the season they could have given everything. All too often there were players with the ball searching for people to pass to. This was either laziness or some fault in the training schedule.

    The whole point of Barca's success is that players provide alternatives to the man on the ball. The Swiss when in posession were doing that better then we did. We talk about tempo, and it can work, but it works only against poor (or lapses in) defences. I'm a Villa supporter and admire Bent, Young and Downing, but their style has its limits. They don't build on anything and the English game is similar. They require luck or poor performances from the oppostion ie they can't win a game when the oppostion plays well.

  • Comment number 73.

    Just to say that it was not Wilshere who moved out of the wall for goal number 2, it was Milner, whose selection on the wing mystified me, especially over Young. Walcott demonstrated his inconsistency regarding his decision making but did track back well a few times when Johnson went missing.

    As far as I'm concerned there are only two problems for England - right back and who to pick in central midfield (assuming the 4-3-3 is here to stay, which I hope it does). Wilshere looks the part there, so barring a loss in form or injury we can assume he will be picked, and rightly so. Parker looked off the pace at first with some poor touches giving the ball away, but got much better as the game went on. Who is the third though? Huddlestone? Barry (God forbid)? Lampard or Gerrard? That really is a conundrum, as an all rounder like Gerrard would be ideal. Personally (although slightly biased as a Spurs fan) I would love to see Huddlestone in that midfield trio, but I fear it would be lightweight against more physical teams.

    As for right back, Johnson is the best of a bad bunch, who at least is reasonably effective going forward. The likes of Walker and Kelly probably need one more year each in the Prem to really see if they can cut it there. Until then, the team just has to compensate for Johnson and be aware that he does go missing defensively. There are prospects there though, so all is not lost.

    All that remains to say is that I do believe Milner has a future with England (on the bench as a utility sub), and that I back Bent to come back in an England shirt next time and perform well. Everyone has off days, and that was one for him. Also, I think that the attacking trio of Rooney----Bent----Young works and should be used again (inuries/form etc allowing). There is always scope for the likes of A.Johnson, Lennon, Walcott, and Downing (and the likes of Etherington and Jarvis as well) to come in and play should inhury strike or the from of the respective players change.

    "Rant" over

  • Comment number 74.

    "Inexplicable" selections probably become easier to understand if you've see the squad in training for a few days. If you haven't, what's your basis for criticism?

    Many commenters have mentioned the basic skill gap found in England players - at least this is something the FA are going to try to address (although why we are proposing to go to the U13 level when all the successful programs go to the U14 level is beyond my understanding). Unfortunately it'll take 10-15 years to show fruit - if it's actually adopted.

    Funny thing is that, but for Milner's idiocy, Phil would have written a totally different column praising the selections and tactics. Who'd want to be a manager?

  • Comment number 75.

    67.
    At 10:38 5th jún. 2011, Wolves Secret No18 wrote:

    @64: You beat me to it. Still, I agree with fatClyde that it was hardly Hart's fault that either goal went in; it's easy to say that he should have reacted faster but in both scenarios the defence was set up to avoid him having to react. Goal 1: Ferdinand and Terry both failed to clear it, and Ferdinand completely misjudged the flight of the ball and jumped underneath it. Goal 2: Milner moved, so the wall that was meant to block the angle to the near post no longer existed.

    ------------------------------
    I had a former comment which clearifies why I do not think Hart was responsible for the second one. on the other hand, I agree with you that he neither was responsible for the first on as this is the most vicious-type of free kicks he could have. if he moves towards the ball to catch a header he can have a goal like yesterday. if he stays at the back he cannot do anything with a header as it is out of his reach.

    so to sum it up, old Keano's words come into mind: if the ball falls down in your six yard box that is the responsibility of your defenders...

  • Comment number 76.

    Post 37 smacks of myopia and gross ignorance.I will reserve the rest of my views for more pertinent issues.England were not appaling against Switzerland.The high expectations are not founded on any recent performances so I guess the real solution is a lowering of expectations,then building it back up when results call for it.stop taking it out on the Manager and players.its the collective responsibilty of the whole football fraternity to make changes in the football psyche from the grassroots. Spain decided from 2006 stop playing football with their bodies and rather use their brains.it was a fundamental change and its paying dividends.Anyway,post 37,just so you would know,Cruyff who is credited with this ,isn't Spanish but a foreigner.Wake up!!!its the 21st century!!

  • Comment number 77.

    overall, we we're average by our standards. It was just a flukey free-kick and milner playing like a 3 year old. It looked liked the players didn't care. There didn't seem to be a game plan, or a strategy, it was just lets go on the pitch and see what happens. We also lacked tempo and conviction. I would have thought that Scott Parker and Lampard would have been able to dictate the tempo and the game better but they didn't.

    As for capello's excuse, well we only looked tired in the last 10 mins anyway so it was not the reason we lost.

    We dearly missed Rooney, but bent wasn't that bad. He just seemed to have the finishing skills of Kenwin Jones in Stokes match against Blackpool a month or so ago.

    Rooney would have injected some sort of inspiration by his tireless pressing and drive, if only he didn't get himself so many yellow cards.

    But hey, at least we're still top. Capello needs to get his players to regroup and he needs to make sure his players are 100% prepared because they didn't look like they were on the pitch.

  • Comment number 78.

    A typical unenergetic, listless performance just like we had in the World Cup from which we seem to have learned exactly nothing. Its not a question of tiredness- its a question of the manager abjectly failing to do what he's paid handsomely to do- motivate a group of rich guys into having real pride in their performance for their country. He's not up to it, and wasn't up to it in some of his previous jobs either.

    And Joe Hart can count himself a lucky man. He gets to play for Manchester City when there's a better goalkeeper available to them. I've listened to and read a whole lot of stuff about Switzerland's goals and IMO they are goalkeeping error plain and simple. Not at all a good performance by the England Team or the England Manager, but the fact remains that with a competent keeper we'd have won 2-0

  • Comment number 79.

    I see a different problem. I see a group of players who are some of the best in the world. However fans and the media are determined to moan and groan about everything. You are destroying any chance the players have of getting anywhere in a major competition. You put pressure on them, you mock them and you destroy their confidence. Every other country around the world gets behind their team and players. Everybody pulls in the same direction and this is turn gives players confidence and belief and with that comes the confidence to be able to play nice football and look technical.

    All this nonsense about English players not being technical is quite frankly bemusing to me. They don't havethe confidence to show it, they are too afraid of making a mistake as the fans and media will then get what they want, a chance to moan. I mean English fans can't even get over their club differences to back their country. It is disgraceful. Reading this blog alone, we are told nealy every player is not good enough. Thirty-one year old's are too old - remind me of Xavi's age please? It is pathetic.

    This is the reason so-called smaller teams do well, they stick together with everybody pulling in the same direction. You look at Northern Ireland, the players available are mostly League One standard, with a few exceptions but when playing against big teams they fight together.

    I don't think the problem is the players. In Hart, Johnson, Terry, Cole, Gerrard, Young, Parker, Downing, Johnson, Rooney and Carroll, you have a great group of players. Then behind that there is a lot of potential. The problem with the manager is that he is so afraid to lose, due to the media and fans, he doesn't let the players go out and enjoy the game. It looks a chore to them. If you can't enjoy the game, playing for your country, then something is wrong.

    To sum up, you are to blame, not the manager, nor players. Think about it.

  • Comment number 80.

    It was an utterly disappointing match from England's point of view.

    I was expecting England to create in midfield. Instead I got tired watching long balls trying to bypass the Swiss midfield. Since when is the Swiss midfield formidable?

    Fatigue was a cheap excuse. If fatigue was the problem, why did England look dangerous towards the end of the match?

    In all honesty, England can reach the finals but, playing like that, they can't hope for anything in the finals.

    If there is anything positive to take out of this match, it is the expectation to watch more creative football in the Premier League this new season.

    Phil McNulty is absolutely spot on, in his starting paragraph. Switzerland looked a small version of Barcelona and England looked a collection of clueless players.

  • Comment number 81.

    I know I'm biaised so I would like to hear opinions about other footy fans. Do you think that based on his performances this season Barton would have deserved a place in this English team?
    I know he once said he was the best midfielder in England then had his worst game just after but otherwise he's been controlling and dictating the game for Newcastle on several occasions. Wilshere and Barton in the middle for England could be pretty good in my opinion even though Gerrard should probably get the nod ahead of Barton when fit...

  • Comment number 82.

    @45......couldn't agree more, he was jogging around like it was a testimonial match and I lost count of the amount of times he was caught out of position. He clearly didn't care about the outcome of the game.

    I'm not sure if this has already mentioned this, but did anybody notice lampards tackle for the first goal? The swiss player left him for dead and instead of accepting it and getting back behind the ball, he tried to trip him without the ref noticing. Lazy and petulant are two words that spring to mind. I felt sorry for parker and wilshere because they were running around like blue-rse-flies trying to defend and take the game to switzerland.

    Maybe football should adopt the selection policy of the england rugby team. Players are picked on current form, not on reputation. Take Wilkinson for example, clearly the best in england (if not the world) in his position but even when he was back to full fitness he still had to earn the right to get back into the side. I think wilshere and parker have earned the right to keep the cm spots and lampard and gerard should be left on the bench for the next game, will it happen.....I doubt it.

  • Comment number 83.

    The only player not to let his country down every time he has played is Crouch and he never gets picked !!
    That sums up Capello.
    Hart was dreadful and a few others were not far behind him.
    The second goal, Hart could have dived and tipped it round the post with his hands after all that is what hands are for!!
    The FA have screwed it up again with a completely useless manager!

  • Comment number 84.

    Why does Phil have to say that Rooney was absent through suspension and used his time to get a hair transplant. If u looked like him and had his money and some free time wouldnt you do the same, u dont exactly have a full crop of hair yourself....

    Irrelevant comment.

    We shouldn't need Rooney for the Swiss, we have the players but not the tactics to know how to play each player in their best role. Anyone who plays football knows that a team runs on Chemistry, and Fabio has not found that team flow where all the players feel comfortable. We have massive selection problems and we can pick at least 5 different teams, and all oft hem can win and beat teams in our group. Anything can make sense on paper or in theory, but the proof comes by the gameplay not just the result, even if downing and Bent got the goals and we won 4-2 i would still not be happy with the selection and the performance and why is nnobody talking up Adam Johnson who i think is a world class player and not given enough chances. He rns the wing ragged, attacks the by line, dribbles with ease into the box, can pass short and cross and scores goals, none of which Walcott can do on a regular basis.

    Fabio to blame and nobody else i am afraid, the guy maybe a top manager but not for England, just like Forlan is a top striker but not for Man U....

    If we want to win the Euros then Fabio needs to go

  • Comment number 85.

    @45......couldn't agree more, he was jogging around like it was a testimonial match and I lost count of the amount of times he was caught out of position. He clearly didn't care about the outcome of the game.

    I'm not sure if this has already mentioned this, but did anybody notice lampards tackle for the first goal? The swiss player left him for dead and instead of accepting it and getting back behind the ball, he tried to trip him without the ref noticing. Lazy and petulant are two words that spring to mind. I felt sorry for parker and wilshere because they were running around like blue-rse-flies trying to defend and take the game to switzerland.

    Maybe football should adopt the selection policy of the england rugby team. Players are picked on current form, not on reputation. Take Wilkinson for example, clearly the best in england (if not the world) in his position but even when he was back to full fitness he still had to earn the right to get back into the side. I think wilshere and parker have earned the right to keep the cm spots and lampard and gerard should be left on the bench for the next game, will it happen.....I doubt it.

  • Comment number 86.

    The over rated, under talented, pampered princesses of the premier league fail yet again, yawn, whats new?

    Personally I would be happy to see them fail to qualify at all if that spares us the ritual humiliation that they are bound to recveive.

    As for Capello....well, he states that he has learnt from the SA experience...
    Do you really need to pay £6 million pounds a year to someone who is learning on the job?...for that sort of salary I would have thought it would be reasonable to expect him to have the answers...still, the suits at Lancaster Gate know best dont they.

  • Comment number 87.

    @ 81, belgiantoon,

    Absolutely. If Barton played for a bigger club, he'd be a certainty in the England squad.

  • Comment number 88.

    Reading some of these comments has cheered me up a bit on what is a pretty boring and gloomy Sunday morning ;-).

    We currently have a group of players who are very good indeed and do deserve to be playing for England. That said we do not have a TEAM of players who are very good. The premier league is now bigger than the national side and as this is where the players money comes from it is not surprising that this is where their commitment is focussed. After all, the old saying goes that you do not bite the hand that feeds you..........

    Many have said that we need to improve the system for identifying and nurturing home grown talent. True, but do not get this confused with 'technically gifted' players. You have the gift or you don't. No grass roots football system will give young players this gift. What it will do, with the right people leading it, is show the very good players how to support and play with the brilliant 'technically gifted' players.

    Football was, is and always will be a very simple game and you can only play the side in front of you. Sometimes these sides perform over and above what is expected of them, sometimes they don't perform as well as maybe they could. Never the less you must still score more goals than them!

    I think it was Graham Taylor who said something along the lines of 'success is 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration'. Those words are some of the wisest I have ever heard a football manger say and shows that, despite some odd choices, he understood how to make a successful football team. You need 9-10 very good players who work hard, run hard, tackle hard, play hard. You only need 1-2 brilliant players for those inspirational moments of brilliance that win matches that could go either way. As far as English football is concerned not all of those players are in the premier league.

    We have again blamed fatigue for a perceived below par performance. The football league finished a week earlier..........It is also worth mentioning that with players who are apparently some of the very best in the world they seem to have forgotten that the ball never gets tired. Make it do the work through precise passing, clever positioning and little or no wastage.

    I honestly believe that Capello tries to get the team to play like this through his selection and often takes the blame on behalf of the players but never forget that he was an international player himself for Italy so knows that whatever side the manager picks for whatever reasons there are 11 players on the pitch who must take responsibility for the result.

    Yesterday 21 players mis-judged the flight of the ball for the first Swiss goal and Milner left the wall for their second......

  • Comment number 89.

    Wilshire is the best midfielder we've had since Gascoigne, no doubt. I think Parker should be his central midfield partner with Rooney in the number 10 play maker role. Lampard and Gerrrard shouldn't be in the starting line up any more, how many bad performances are they allowed?

    Bent should stay as the central striker and Young has to play, be it on the left or right he's always effective. The other forward position is up for grabs. Walcott and Lennon look one dimensional at international level. Johnson is a better bet but he needs to improve his right foot.

    Baines is a much better crosser of the ball than Cole. Its always infuriated me that people constantly trot out the line about Cole being the best left back in the world despite this glaring weakness in his game. He couldn't cross his legs.

    Terry and Ferdinand are a tried and tested combination. Terry is in decline but the presence of Ferdinand should ensure he doesn't repeat his world cup horror show if we go to the Euros.

    Micah Richards is a far better right back than Glen Johnson but unless he nails down a place in the City side I guess Capello has to stay with Johnson. Hart is definitely our best keeper neither of those goals were his fault although he could have done better with them.

  • Comment number 90.

    @ 79

    I think our comments hold alot of weight, but as fans what we are to some degree brainwashed by the media into thinking to highly about our players. But England FC should be above and beyond this, they have ample support in so many areas of the areas. They have the top training grounds, the best facilities any footballer could ever wish for, top medics, sports scientists, supposedly good coaches and managers with vast experience, sports psychologists plus a life style which should make them play to there best ability. Week in week out these players play under pressure from the high standards of their own clubs and the mocking of the opposition teams, so they should be well prepared to cope with 90 mins of pressure. And i do not think it is only England that pressures the national side, Brazil for example are not only expected to win each game but they are supposed win beautifully, the same if not worse is the expectation given by Spanish fans. So while it is a good point you make i think that the players have the set up and support to rise above this, and even though there is pressure there is also fantistic support from the fans and the nation. We are a nation that loves football, we take our pride in football, we live breath and eat football, in effect we pay their wages by the demands of our support and following. Are we not allowed to say our bit, if anything the Media should be more positive, fans will always be fans, we want our teams to win, the Media however want to sell papers and make money or get hits on the websites. Fans have the paying right to say whatever they feel, fans write with passion and sincerity even if they are wrong sometimes.

  • Comment number 91.

    I have to say, as a Spurs fan I now have two reasons for not wanting Harry Redknapp to get the England job after Capello goes. Whoever is the manager is going to get the same criticism for years to come, because the bottom line is that the players available are just not good enough to win at the highest level.

    It doesnt matter whether the manager is Swedish, Italian, English or Vanuatuan, when he cant select players able to compete technically against the Spanish or German teams the end result is going to be the same time after time after time.

  • Comment number 92.

    Whether we qualify or not, two things are certain: England will not win Euro 2012 and Fabio Capello will no longer be England coach by the end of that tournament.

    One moment in yesterday's match sticks out for me. That was when Stuart Pearce was having some kind of tactical discussion with Capello. That's when it really dawned on me just how low we've slumped as a footballing nation. We've got a continental manager who has been successful as a club coach but can't improve this bunch of mostly technically bereft English players at his disposal and also compounds that problem with some very bizarre squad and team selections, thereby proving that he can't even attempt to make the most of a poor hand that he's been dealt.

    Discussing tactics with him is an Englishman who has had no experience of coaching at club level and is even less likely to be able to improve any technical deficiencies either individually or tactically at team level. Yes, Stuart Pearce played with heart and spirit at club and international level, but please don't tell me that he is one of the best choices to succeed Capello.

    Let's stop kidding ourselves any longer that we have any chance of competing against the likes of Gemany, Spain, Holland, Spain, France and Italy, because they all left us behind in terms of coaching, technique and tactics many years ago. The least we can do is instil a coach (who has a bit more experience than Pearce) who is going to put out a team with a bit of shape, heart and endeavour that will play to the best of their abilities and may, just may, make a fist of it against these better footballing nations. We've got to compare ourselves now to a Championship side meeting one of the Premiership top six in a cup match and hope for an upset on the day. The only candidate for me is Harry Redknapp.

  • Comment number 93.

    "Discussing tactics with him is an Englishman who has had no experience of coaching at club level and is even less likely to be able to improve any technical deficiencies either individually or tactically at team level. Yes, Stuart Pearce played with heart and spirit at club and international level, but please don't tell me that he is one of the best choices to succeed Capello."


    Didnt he manage Manchester City for a while ?

  • Comment number 94.

    Yet another awful review by BBC's 'Chief football writer' which I'm glad to see is echoed by BBC's readers.
    How can we expect players and coaches not to feel under pressure when our premier journalist criticises their every move?
    Who is to say Capello hadn't planned to bring on Young later in the game in order to provide pace against the tiring Swiss team? Managerial genius to bring on a player at half time that then goes on to get Man of the Match, surely?
    Joe Hart made some fantastic saves during the game and should never be blamed for the second goal, unless you want to say it was his decision to put James Milner in the wall.
    And to mention Rooney's recent 'hair transplant' is just pathetic. Go on Phil, just use another opportunity to have a stab at our players. Ridiculous.
    Admittedly, Crouch's omission was questionable. However, Ferguson left out Berbatov in the Champions League Final and yet he is not mauled by the press. Doesn't really make sense does it?
    In my opinion, had England gone on to win the match - which, if not for a couple of missed chances, would have happened - it would have been a fantastic comeback by a depleted England team against a strong Switzerland team who beat Spain less than a year ago.
    Even after not qualifying for the last Euros, top of the group still isn't good enough?
    Let's get behind our players and management for once Phil.

  • Comment number 95.

    Capello will probably get a knighthood for this game alone, based on keeping his job after the WC shame.

  • Comment number 96.

    lets face it Capello would have been sacked after the 2010 WC if the FA hadn’t given him a new contract in the days before the tournament started.

    Leaving Crouch out was odd because we had no target man for crosses and without being disrespectful this is the type of opposition Crouch scores against.
    Milner did ok in the second half and got stronger has the game wore on but yes it did seem a tad cautious.
    Joe Hart has had two great seasons but he is still learning his trade, I thought Phil McNulty was wrong to steam into him straight after the goals because its debatableif he was really at fault for either but what I am sure of is the likes of Phil McNulty, Alan Green etc have led the slaughter of excellent English keepers like Robinson, Green, Foster, James, Carson etc and helped destroy their confidence before they even got started, young goalies make mistakes, let’s keep that in perspective.

    We are with Capello for the journey to 2012, expect more odd selections and disjointed performances.

  • Comment number 97.

    "It was a move that looked even more ill-designed as England gifted Tranquillo Barnetta two goals from free-kicks to set Wembley on edge before Frank Lampard's penalty paved the way for a point to be salvaged after the break."

    - what you mean is if the defence hadn't played like the keystone kops we would have won 2-0 and noone would have had anything to complain about!

    You simply can't gift a 2 goal lead at any level and hope to get anywhere. Goal keeping (and defending in general) has now become a REAL problem for England. Everyone we've picked in goal in the last 5 or more years (since Seaman?) has been hopeless. Not just the odd mistake but an absolute catalogue of howling errors giving away key games.

    "He got his selection wrong, was too cautious and even his decision to pick Bobby Zamora as a substitute ahead of Peter Crouch, who has scored 22 goals in 42 England appearances, did not stand up to close scrutiny."

    Wrong again! Zamora is an infinitely better player than Crouch, I can't believe that yet again you want to pick someone for their PAST record gained mostly from playing meaningless friendlies when someone better is available.

    Everything Capello did would have resulted in a comfortable win except for the quality of the players being exposed for what it is when under pressure at international level.

    The one thing Capello did get wrong is that lame excuse of fatigue. The players never look fatigued in the last week of the premiership, so why do they look fatgued after a bit of a break?

    What is it about their preparation that is different -are they over-training? Do the clubs feed them differently, or what?

  • Comment number 98.

    Time to face facts. In the political, economic and sporting arenas we are a second rate nation.

    Yesterday's performance was more embarassing than our constant efforts to seek validation from Obama when he was over here. If half your A team and half your B team cannot be Switzerland what are you hoping to achieve?

    A new 'golden' generation is required. Sadly, even if one comes through it's not going to be given a chance in the Prem as too much money is at stake. Could we encourage the youngsters to take a punt on football abroad?

  • Comment number 99.

    Yet another awful review by BBC's 'Chief football writer' which I'm glad to see is echoed by BBC's readers.
    How can we expect players and coaches not to feel under pressure when our premier journalist criticises their every move?
    Who is to say Capello hadn't planned to bring on Young later in the game in order to provide pace against the tiring Swiss team? Managerial genius to bring on a player at half time that then goes on to get Man of the Match, surely?
    Joe Hart made some fantastic saves during the game and should never be blamed for the second goal, unless you want to say it was his decision to put James Milner in the wall.
    And to mention Rooney's recent 'hair transplant' is just pathetic. Go on Phil, just use another opportunity then to have a stab at our players. Ridiculous.
    Admittedly, Crouch's omission was questionable. However, Ferguson left out Berbatov in the Champions League Final and yet he is not mauled by the press. Doesn't really make sense does it?
    In my opinion, had England gone on to win the match - which, if not for a couple of missed chances, would have happened - it would have been a fantastic comeback by a depleted England team against a strong Switzerland team who beat Spain less than a year ago.
    Even after not qualifying for the last Euros, top of the group still isn't good enough?
    Let's get behind our players and management for once Phil.

  • Comment number 100.

    I think the whole football world have to take a hard look at themselves and their actions.

    Scudamore can not take pride of being the chairman of the richest league in the world, since he cannot give directions to improving football with the cash allocation.

    The F.A. need to stop doing overtime checking the press and twitter in order to find how they can increase their revenue with one more fine but design and set the infrastructure for football to reach its potential in this country, at club and national level.

    We don't want to learn about what Victoria Beckham is going to do tomorrow or tonight. And we care not about what the jet set is doing when a football event occurs. What we want to learn is all those "why". Why is the national team underachieving? Why did the Germans revitalised their national team and where England have fallen short? Why is it that all this money coming in English football but no investment is made? Football journalists are letting football fans down when it comes to finding data and turning it into information. They're as guilty as any other football related boss.

    It is all those "why", "who" "when" we want to know.

 

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