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A marriage of inconveniences for Capello

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Phil McNulty | 23:00 UK time, Friday, 11 November 2011

Fabio Capello's failure to spot the clash of fixtures between England's meeting with World Cup holders Spain and son Pierfillipo's marriage to partner Tiziana in Milan almost sums up the confused backdrop to this Wembley friendly.

Instead of joining wife Laura in Italy to prepare for the nuptials on Saturday, Capello will be assembling the pieces of a chaotic build-up into something he hopes will provide cause for optimism in England's preparations for Euro 2012.

He said at Wembley on Friday: "I will be close to my family with the mind." But part of Capello might have secretly wished to be in Italy in body as missing his son's big day threatened to become the least of his worries.

Capello has had to deal with the fall-out from allegations of racism against captain John Terry, the furore of "Poppygate" and the task of forming plans for the early stages of the competition in Poland and Ukraine without Wayne Rooney, as his finest player serves a suspension.

Whether he has negotiated this minefield with enough skill to ensure he raises a glass in celebration with Pierfillipo on Saturday night, or is instead resisting the temptation to drown his sorrows, remains to be seen.

Capello's team selection carried a random element that has become his trademark in recent times - not least his handling of Terry's presence in the squad.

Once the decision had been made to call up Terry, Capello then made it clear he would not be playing against the world champions. And yet he will return as captain against Sweden at Wembley on Tuesday, as Capello said: "I want to see something different."

There is no question as to where Capello's loyalties lie going into the game against Spain. Photo: PA

Different in this case means Phil Jagielka resuming a partnership with Joleon Lescott that was formed at Everton some years ago and is not entirely unknown to the coach as they played in the qualifying win in Switzerland last season.

Jagielka is also suffering from a fractured toe, which may raise questions in the mind of Everton manager David Moyes as to why he will face Spain, presumably in some pain, while Terry is protected until the lesser powers of Sweden arrive in London.

A date with Spain surely calls for England's strongest available side to be present and the logic behind Capello's decision was explained thus: "These are important games to see the value of the players I have needed to select. These are difficult games. Spain and Sweden have different styles, completely different styles, and then we have the Dutch to come.

"I want to understand what will happen with the players I select when we go to play the really important games at the Euros. Those matches at the Euros will be more difficult so I need to know the value of the players.

"And in these three games we will play at Wembley with the pressure. Here, the pressure is more than away from home. For this reason, you can assess the value of the players here, more than away."

Capello's other gamble is to throw Manchester United teenager Phil Jones into a midfield maelstrom that will be populated by some of the finest operators the game has seen in the person of Xavi and Andres Iniesta.

Even when Jones' calm self-confidence and undoubted potential is taken into account, this is still a dangerous assignment for an England rookie, but Capello has no fears.

"I spoke with Sir Alex Ferguson," he said. "He was in my mind when I met him in Manchester recently. He said he could play there and of course you know last year he played in midfield.

"I want to try him. This game is perfect because I want to see him as a midfielder. We haven't a lot of young players who can play as midfielders.

"He can play right-back, he can play centre-back, he can play, for me, as a midfielder because he's really a fantastic player. But I know him as a right-back, where he's really good. He played really well against Montenegro.

"I saw him twice as a central defender and I remember him as a central midfielder. I want to see him there in a really important game against Spain."

Experimentation in attack is understandable given Rooney's absence, although there was a case for Capello playing the Manchester United striker in the hope his presence might have provided the catalyst for a result that would have given England a psychological lift.

Instead, he will not figure again until the rearranged friendly with Holland as Capello works out how to fill the hole created by Rooney's red card in Montenegro.

He said: "For me, it's better to understand what will happen when you need to play without him. He will be with us against Holland. I told him he will be selected for that game but for now it's really important that we see the other players.

"This is a game to prepare for the Euros, not only to think about winning. We need to understand something more, know something more, about the players we have."

Capello has plenty to keep his mind occupied while his son has his own big match in Milan and he bristled with defiance when confronted with any hint of doubt about his selection.

"It's my job guys, it's my job," he told his inquisitors. "I have no fear. Nothing. No fear. I think the team that will play will be really, really, good."

The message was clear. No fear - but we knew that, as it takes a brave man to tell his wife he is missing their son's wedding to watch a football match.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Fabio should skip Spain's demolition of England, and go to his son's wedding.

    The ungrateful English will whinge, ''oh, but we're paying him £6m per year'', but, in reality, the marriage of his son should take priority.

    It's not like he's going to be able to prevent the England pub XI from getting utterly destroyed by the sizzling, sensational Spanish pros.

    Call me a sentimentalist, if you like. I've been called worse on these blogs. ;)

  • Comment number 2.

    Also, ''Tiziana'' - in the correct Italian pronunciation - is a very pretty name. :)

  • Comment number 3.

    I agree.. crazy decision to miss the wedding. Come on. its a friendly and most of the players will be experimental who wont play until the euros start (except rooney)

  • Comment number 4.

    For goodness sake, go to your son's wedding you daft chap. The games are friendlies. Please feel free to demonstrate some humanity; it's not all about the winning its about the the passion for football and for the big occassions - that includes the wedding of your son - we'll cope!

  • Comment number 5.

    In my estimation my low opinion of this fool who runs our national team has gotten even lower. If he was some passionate, arguably English, manager who drives his teams on through some form of patriotism then I could understand his sense of priorities. For now it just seems like workaholism at it's worst and a terrible example of a work/life balance. Definately not, mehopes, the English way.

  • Comment number 6.

    If your father had critical work meetings in 6 weeks of every year (with that schedule mapped out years in advance) why would you choose one of those weeks to get married?
    Bizarre.

  • Comment number 7.

    Very poor research for this article. It is fairly common knowledge that Capello didn't spot the clash because originally there wasn't one - the match was scheduled for Friday night. It was put back to Saturday because of Barcelona's Copa del Rey match against L'Hospitalet on Wednesday (9th November)

    And I'm not the chief football writer for the BBC.

  • Comment number 8.

    @ The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa


    Are you this negative all the time? Or do you just save it for these blogs? The game hasnt even been played yet! Get a grip!

    You say Villa is better than Rooney. What??? Not even close, Villa is a good finisher, but thats all.
    You say La Liga is superior to the Premier League. That is hilarious! Real and Barce finish 20-30 points ahead of everyone else. It's a rubbish, boring league.

    You are a sad, sad man(?) who really needs to get a life.

    On the game, it's a friendly so who really reads too much into the result? As long as no-one gets injured who cares? These games are only about managers seeing who can play in what position and combine well with whom.

  • Comment number 9.

    master stroke by super fabio.once again fabio has convinced the bundling FA that he is a good manager but lots of us know better .he has fooled the FA all the time .man go to the wedding you serve no usefull purpose in england.a major part of your job is putting the team together that you cant do ,right now it seem sir alex is the england manager

  • Comment number 10.

    What a bizarre comment to open with: "Fabio Capello's failure to spot the clash of fixtures". Surely with his father being an international football manager and there being an international football calendar, it is his son's (and future wife's) failure to realise that his father might be a bit busy that weekend rather than Fabio's.

  • Comment number 11.

    If he'd put his son's wedding first, he'd get criticised by the xenophobic media for not caring about England. As it is, he gets criticised by 5. for being a workaholic and not passionate, even though he is displaying his passion by putting a friendly first. The constant complaints about Capello are beyond parody. It almost makes me wish for Harry Redknapp to get the England job simply to prove to his media cronies and idiotic mouth-breathing "it's abaht the passion and the English banter" fans just how difficult it is to manage a collection (not a team) of English footballers.

  • Comment number 12.

    An article critical of Capello as a manager and casting him as a poor father (incompetent for not spotting a fixture clash or uncaring for not wishing to attend his son's wedding). 6 comments so far. The majority condemning Capello for missing his son's wedding. A cheap shot from McNulty or incompetence on his part. Who is to say which event was arranged first and in any case the England Spain friendly was originally organised for Friday 11th November, not the Saturday of his son's wedding. A more balanced and reasonable account:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/england/8877853/England-v-Spain-confusion-over-dates-forces-manager-Fabio-Capello-to-miss-his-sons-wedding-on-Saturday.html

  • Comment number 13.

    Why should a match between Barcelona and L'Hospitalet (a Spanish third tier side) take priority over the World Champions travelling to an extremely well-followed if overrated national team? Especially when the rest of the Copa Del Rey round of 32 matches aren't being played till next month. That seems almost ludicrous.

    As silly as it may perhaps be to not play your captain against the best team in the world, I kind of agree with it. For too long now Fabio and his predecessors have been criticised for not having a solid 'Plan B' at major tournaments. By throwing inexperienced players in against Spain he'll get a good idea of the players he's able to use in a Plan B situation - and the players he can't. But let's face facts, England should be overjoyed if they can even scrape a draw tomorrow. Spain are an immensely talented side, we're putting out a weakened version of a team that is far from it.

    Here is my friend's latest blog post on poppies, racism and John Terry. All the fun subjects. Check it out if you have a second: http://acceptableinthe90s.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 14.

    Why does the BBC even bother with these blogs? Do you really think piling up hundreds of posts constitutes success? Don't tell me you actually think people READ the piece! They're onto you dude; you don't need to read past the title, just extrapolate with generic material and you're set to go.

  • Comment number 15.

    The fact that he does earn extraordinary wages means that he could probably ask his son to re-arrange the wedding and cover any extra costs incurred.

    Had he chosen to skip the match, it's a lose-lose situation with our media. If we then beat Spain, they would probably claim that it was a tactical masterclass by Stuart Pearce and Fabio is now surplus to requirements. While if we lose his lack of commitment cost us the game.

    Although to be perfectly honest, football is better than weddings, so fair play Fabio.

  • Comment number 16.

    8. At 00:18 12th Nov 2011, nemail99 wrote:
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Oh, behave yourself!

    Yes, David Villa is a good finisher. In fact, only Samuel Eto'o can rival him in terms of slotting it in the onion bag from inside in the area.

    But David has so much more to his game than his extraordinary penalty-area marksmanship. Have you forgotten his sublime curler in the CL final in May?

    Of course La Liga is vastly superior to the EPL. Half of the teams in the EPL are practically pub teams, whereas it's always going to be a tough game in La Liga.

    Real and Barca finish clear of the rest because, incredibly enough, they are the two best club sides in the world.

    If these two Spanish behemoths competed in the EPL, then they'd finsih about 30-40 points clear of the also-rans and pub teams which make up that shoddy and low-standard league, which is the English Pubmiership.

  • Comment number 17.

    He should go to the wedding. Wont make any real difference to the game.

  • Comment number 18.

    15. At 00:33 12th Nov 2011, quiddenC wrote:

    If we then beat Spain
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    But that's a non-starter, as it's physically impossible.

  • Comment number 19.

    I'm surprised you're on this blog #soul patch? Nothing to blame on Alex 'chequebook' Ferguson here!

  • Comment number 20.

    19. At 00:36 12th Nov 2011, Neags wrote:

    I'm surprised you're on this blog #soul patch? Nothing to blame on Alex 'chequebook' Ferguson here!
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well, £20m-man Phil Jones is only in the squad because ''el chequebooko'' signed him for a ridiculous sum of money.

    I suppose it's not that ''ridiculous'' when you're endowed with a blank chequebook by your handlers...

  • Comment number 21.

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

  • Comment number 22.

    lol I knew you'd find some sort of excuse! I take it you feel the same way as Smalling and Rooney (when selected of course). I put it to you that Cesc, Villa, Mata and Silva are in the squad because the other 'el chequebooko's' signed them too?

  • Comment number 23.

    I don't care about the son's wedding.

    I do care when a a manager states Rooney will play against Holland, we have two matches before then. Why play him then? When we know Rooney cannot play for 3 matches at the Euros. I know, you all know what Rooney can do, maybe Capello does not know? So why play him against Holland. Once again we have gone into the Beckham territory of automatic selection, this sends out the wrong message.

    It's bad enough to think that we have to take a player to a tournament who can't play, like the many ocassions at recent tournaments, when we have taken players who are injured or only just returning after a long lay off. Beckham and Barry spring to mind and they had very poor tournaments.

    In recent years we have had the mindset of creating automatic places for certain players, that is unhealthy because it suggests there is no competition for team places in certain positions.

    Before anyone suggests Rooney, as the only player we have that is class and has to go. That is total rubbish about having to go because past history in many nations teams tell us no player is irreplaceable and many teams have gone on to be successful without the star name. In the past England has dropped a truly world class player and been successful without him. There is only one possible exception and that is when the entire team is built around a player, only then can it be acceptable to have automatic selection for a player.

    In England we place an unhealthy emphasis on results for friendlies, Germany never has, for them it is about preparation and that is the reason why they are the most successful European Nation in major tournament history, infact in world terms they more than match Brasil for reaching the later stages of the WC.

    Capello is paid an obscene amount of money for being clueless, it is his job to manage which includes developing a playing style that can compete using a variety of players. At no point during his management have we looked like competing but there again it was the same before him.

  • Comment number 24.

    22. At 00:51 12th Nov 2011, Neags wrote:

    lol I knew you'd find some sort of excuse! I take it you feel the same way as Smalling and Rooney (when selected of course). I put it to you that Cesc, Villa, Mata and Silva are in the squad because the other 'el chequebooko's' signed them too?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We've already unanimously agreed that Pep is not a chequebook manager. Pep's a gent, and also one of the greatest managers of all time. So that rules out Cesc and David Villa being ''chequebook'' signings.

    David Silva and Juan Mata were playing in the best league in the world for Valencia. Only they will know why they opted to drop down a level to the Pubmiership.

    But, Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Mancini are very shrewd in the transfer market. Unlike,the more ''robust'' transfer policy of Alex ''chequebook'' Ferguson, which amounts to nothing more than bidding obscene amounts of money to buy the services of 3-4 mercenaries per season.

  • Comment number 25.

    23. At 00:53 12th Nov 2011, Londoner in exile returns wrote:

    I don't care about the son's wedding.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Oh, pish posh!

    Who are you? Ebeneezer Scrooge?

    Away with the misanthropes and malcontents!

  • Comment number 26.

    The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    Fabio should skip Spain's demolition of England, and go to his son's wedding.

    The ungrateful English will whinge, ''oh, but we're paying him £6m per year'', but, in reality, the marriage of his son should take priority.

    It's not like he's going to be able to prevent the England pub XI from getting utterly destroyed by the sizzling, sensational Spanish pros.

    Call me a sentimentalist, if you like. I've been called worse on these blogs. ;)

    ....................................................................................

    Sorry Real Madrid have not reached a final in the CL in almost 10 years...in that time Liverpool, ManU & Chelsea all have...so come on how do you respond to that in a logical fashion?! In addition to this Villarreal one of the better Spanish teams in recent years were ceremoniously thrashed by Man City recently. No one tunes in to spanish football except for El Classico...hence the EPL is the most watched league in the world...so you can keep your primera liga and i'll stick to the EPL along with the 600 million other people.

  • Comment number 27.

    @ The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa

    "Of course La Liga is vastly superior to the EPL. Half of the teams in the EPL are practically pub teams, whereas it's always going to be a tough game in La Liga"

    Oh really? How many times have Barce and Real won 8-0 or similar in recent years?

    It's clear to everyone here you now very little about football, let alone being an "aficionado", as you like to call yourself. You even think Sir Alex and Manchester United put "shackles' on Cristiano Ronaldo! HAHAHA
    You should spend more time watching football than being on here, then you might learn something about the game.
    You remind me of this loser who spends all day on YouTube wumming on football videos. Your bitterness is clear. Very,very sad.

    Capello should have gone to the wedding, this match is pointless, as are the vast majority of friendlies these days.

  • Comment number 28.

    2 questions #soul patch;

    1. Who's unanimously agreed pep's a gent? you and you're ego? they are chequebook signings and mercenaries at that if you like it or not!
    2. How can you call Villa-Boas shrewd when Chelsea are 3 months into a season? (and before you mention Porto, he learnt his skills from the master Mourinho!)

  • Comment number 29.

    27. At 01:06 12th Nov 2011, nemail99 wrote:
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    How many times have Real or Barca won 8-0 or similar in recent years? Probably the same amount of time that Chelsea, United and Spurs have in the Pubmiership.

    Of course Alex ''chequebook'' Ferguson put shackles on Cristiano. Why his language may have been a bit too emotive for some, it's no wonder that he claimed to be a ''slave'' while at United.

    Still, old ''chequebook'' wanted to force a sensationally gifted pro like CR9 to play for his second-rate team, rather than let him step up in class and play for the biggest club in world football - Real Madrid.

  • Comment number 30.

    Soul Patch

    When anyone decides to take a job, like being the England manager, I would say that for the limited number of days when the nation is watching his team, I expect him to be there too.

    Although for what he has achieved as an England manager I doubt if it really matters if he was there or not.

    As for your earlier comments regarding Barca and Real winning the EPL by 30-40 points. Your forgetting they would have a handicap of having to share their money with the rest of the premiership, unlike spain we in England believe in fairness when it comes to competetive sport such as football. Only part of the payment is greater for the successful clubs, it's called prize money. Apart from that it will never happen so you cannot possibly know.

    As far as history goes Spain are actually minnows in terms of success at a national level, rather like England, infact exactly like England.

  • Comment number 31.

    *your (it's past my bed time!) :P

  • Comment number 32.

    Oh and by the way, Capello has the highest win % of any England manager EVER (65%).



    While he may not have done the best job in the world, what is a cold-hard fact is that he never had a chance with you idiots. Idiots include the England players who obviously don't believe in him, but not because he isn't good, but because what they really want is a babysitter like Mourinho or Ferguson.

  • Comment number 33.

    28. At 01:11 12th Nov 2011, Neags wrote:
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    1. We've unanimously agreed that Pep Guardiola isn't a chequebook manager. It's self-evident that Pep is a genuinely classy guy, one of the greatest managers in history, and he's a proper gent, as well.

    2. Yes, Real Madrid boss, Jose Mourinho, was Andre's mentor.

    Villas-Boas is a shrewd manager, and his extraordinary coup of plucking Juan Mata from the best league in the world, just demonstrates his canniness.

  • Comment number 34.

    @ The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa

    Do you want to have Pep's babies? The way you talk about him sounds like man love.

  • Comment number 35.

    @ The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa

    "How many times have Real or Barca won 8-0 or similar in recent years? Probably the same amount of time that Chelsea, United and Spurs have in the Pubmiership".

    Not even close. Showing up your lack of knowledge now aren't you?

    La Liga is the most uncompetetive and boring league in Europe, slightly behind Scotland. We all know which two teams will win La Liga for the next 20 years. YAWN.

  • Comment number 36.

    26. At 01:06 12th Nov 2011, jonnyboy1104 wrote:
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Borussia Dortmund had never reached a European Cup final before 1997. Did that have any relevance when they were crowned the best team in Europe that year?

    The EPL is the most watched league in the world, only because the world is full of Basset Hounds, who'll sycophantically lap up the Sky Sports propaganda milk.

    If you go to many parts of North Africa and the Middle East, then you'll see that La Liga reigns supreme. Unsurprisingly, as it's undisputedly the best league on the planet.

  • Comment number 37.

    Waldovski @32

    Another stat, when will you lot realise stats alone mean zero.

    Now if you look at who we have played then you will realise that when he has come up against a half decent side he has been found out.

    It is also a managers job to get the best out of his players and he has never done that because he lacks vision.

  • Comment number 38.

    Couple of points to direct around the comments here.

    16 & 22 - Sorry but not going to have Silva or Villa lessened on here. Class players and Silva is most certainly showing that at the moment. Villa and Rooney are different playesr. Personally I would love bothin my team!
    20 - Jones' price tag only rocketed as MU expressed an interest. You can knock £5m off straight away if he had gone anywhere else. It always happens. He was a fine player at Blackburn regardless and has played extremely well for MU since he went there (I'm not a MU fan before you ask). Definitely have welcomed him to White Hot Lane (Might have given away my loyalties there).
    21 - He is unfortunate as the media and (a vast number of) the public do seem to never be happy and will criticise wherever possible. Does not matter what nationality the manager is for England; unless the world cup is won he will be a failure. However where did you get this average IQ comment from? Any actual evidence to back that up with?

    Finally, with a 47.8% divorce / separation rate in Italy, Capello might prove himself a betting man yet...

  • Comment number 39.

    35. At 01:26 12th Nov 2011, nemail99 wrote:

    Not even close. Showing up your lack of knowledge now aren't you?

    La Liga is the most uncompetetive and boring league in Europe, slightly behind Scotland. We all know which two teams will win La Liga for the next 20 years.
    YAWN.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Barca beat Osasuna 8-0 this season, and that's it. Every time I glance at the results of the EPL, I see Man City knocking 4s, 5s and 6s pasT pub teams.

    The EPL is, statistically speaking, the most uncompetitive major league in Europe. For the past 15 years, it's only yielded 3 winners (and one of those, Cheatsea, only became ''winners'' because of dodgy Russian money.)

  • Comment number 40.

    The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa

    "The EPL is the most watched league in the world, only because the world is full of Basset Hounds, who'll sycophantically lap up the Sky Sports propaganda milk".

    Actually, most people who watch the Premier League around the world don't watch it through Sky. And they watch it because because of the speed and excitement of the EPL, La Liga is not even close in terms of entertainment, that's why it's nowhere near as popular.

    The way you come up with absolute rubbish you sound exactly like the guy on YouTube. Are you the same guy?

  • Comment number 41.

    @ The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa


    "Barca beat Osasuna 8-0 this season, and that's it. Every time I glance at the results of the EPL, I see Man City knocking 4s, 5s and 6s pasT pub teams."

    Then you obviously haven't been watching any football for the last 3-4 years.

  • Comment number 42.

    40. At 01:35 12th Nov 2011, nemail99 wrote:
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It doesn't matter whether it's Sky which shows it, because the Basset Hounds will be kept equally as brainwashed by the local TV stations, who will make out that Sunderland (a pub team) v Stoke (another pub team) is somehow remotely exciting or interesting.

    If there was a fair international market, then La Liga would be adopted by most countries in the world, and the EPL would be thrown in the bin where its Neanderthalic and pub standard football belongs.

  • Comment number 43.

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

  • Comment number 44.

    @ The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa

    I was right, the bitterness is overwhelming you. You have no reasonings behind your arguments, just garbage for the sake of it. Can you explain how La Liga is disadvantaged in the international market?

  • Comment number 45.

    I for one do not demand or expect England to win the World Cup, after all it is held every four years and only one team can win it at a time.

    What i do expect is a nation the size of England with clubs that can develop talent along with the nations player pool and successful league, to compete and challenge at tournaments.

    On the rare ocassions in recent years, when we have shown up well, it was down to managers who were prepared to change the way we played and use players who fitted the system.

    Countries a fraction of the size in population often compete far more successfully than England.

    All I want from England as a team, is to see us play well, without fear, and to compete with other nations that for the last few years have outplayed us. It is not asking much.

  • Comment number 46.

    Based on comment 43, I assume you read and factor in your own comments?

    Seriously though do you have any evidence?! I assume not.

  • Comment number 47.

    Capello's winning percentage is, as pointed out, reasonably impressive. However, it is not as simple as comparing it to, for instance, Glenn Hoddle's record and saying Capello was therefore a better England manager than Hoddle.

    He has, in my mind, made several selection errors for us. We played well and comprehensively beat Bulgaria away then he seemed to opt for a more cautious approach a few days later at home to Wales. We won the game, but the headline was another poor England performance. Against Switzerland in June he dropped the in-form Ashley Young, despite the fact that we were without our biggest creative force (Rooney). Young later came off the bench and rescued a 2-2 draw.

    In the build up to the World Cup we didn't even know who our number one goalkeeper was and he was too safe in his squad selection with Wright-Phillips and Carragher favoured over younger players (eg Adam Johnson, Ashley Young).

    He hasn't been a poor manager for us by any means despite what some would have you believe, but sometimes his squad selections and approach to certain games leave me bemused.

    It is clear, as it was back in December 2007, that he took the job for the money, and who could blame him? When he's done, he'll go back to Italy and do a few interviews about how our players are brain-dead and we'll lose even more standing in world football. Blame the FA.

  • Comment number 48.

    Soul patch

    You have no idea, regarding the level of any posters IQ. The mere fact that you insinuate a lack of intelligence for the English, reveals a great deal regarding your IQ.

    I know my IQ but until you posted that ridiculous comment I would never have thought about raising the issue of a nations intelligence.

  • Comment number 49.

    Soul Patch... would it not be prudent to go and discuss football with more challenging adversaries rather than bang your head against the wall talking to us primitive English folk?

  • Comment number 50.

    QuiddenC
    @47

    Of course the FA is to blame, as they have for years.

    One fact, the two most successful managers in recent times both knew they were going to be out of the door before the tournament began. They did not earn a kings ransom and they truly did experiment until they found a style that enabled us to have success while playing in an attractive manner.

    From 96 onwards it has been downhill, yes people can use as many stats as they like but watching England apart from a few performances has been awful.

    How a manager [Capello] can state that his team are scared of playing at Wembley is madness because it is his job to get them to play without fear. That fear comes from poor management.

  • Comment number 51.

    A few points for "The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa". 1. England may not be the best team in the world but they are no where near the worst.2.The English Premier League is one of the best leagues in the world(hence there continual strong champions league performance record), along with the Spanish,and i would never describe any of the top fligh teams as pub team like.3.If the British are so stupid and inferior why are you joining in our football chat?.4.Ohh and finally just remember where the game that you apparantly know so much about was invented ,yes thats right it was invented in Britain, so have some respect.What a complete fool you have portrayed yourself to be and im sure everyone will agree, bye.

  • Comment number 52.

    Now, now, girls. There's no need to fight. I'm sure you're all pretty!

    My IQ comment wasn't directed at anyone personally, and, for what it's worth, I don't think that IQ scores are a valid measure of intelligence.

  • Comment number 53.

    Soul Patch @52

    My IQ comment wasn't directed at anyone personally, and, for what it's worth, I don't think that IQ scores are a valid measure of intelligence.

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

    Now that is strange, especially from a poster that uses stats for everything under the sun.

  • Comment number 54.

    Soul Patch although I often find myself in agreement with you, despite your obsession with pubs - seek help, I cannot agree regarding Guardiola. The style Barcelona play is not of his making. If anything he is a product. He uses the checkbook like everyone else and there is nothing wrong with that.

    Please don't be like some of the fools on here and say how come Barcelona didn't win until he came along? Perhaps the team hadn't played together as unit for an extended period yet. Many of the principal players were in or barely out of their teens.

    Many on here mistake parity for competiveness where it could just as easily be a synonym for mediocrity.

    Someone asked how is La Liga at a disadvantage internationally. Easy - in many cases the language. As much as the French hate it- English is the international language. In addition, in my neck of woods, the Premier league did something brilliant. About 8/10 years ago they offered the TV rights for basically nothing. So they got their games on TV. Much like VHS and Betamax, I do realize they are both dead, the superior technical format did not win. Sony guarded their format like the Fates guarded their eye. JVC didn't care and VHS became the format.

    So in summary - language, market saturation, massive hype machine - once you signed on it is in your best interest to hype the product you're peddling.

  • Comment number 55.

    @35

    'La Liga is the most uncompetetive and boring league in Europe, slightly behind Scotland. We all know which two teams will win La Liga for the next 20 years. YAWN.'

    Ok, lets check. EPL winners are - ManU, Chelsea, Arsenal and, Blackburn.

    Chelsea being an absolute bore-machine when they did win it, and Blackburn being arguably slightly better than Newcastle or Southampton at the time.

    That soul patch guy seems way over is head about Spanish stuff, but I've watched some LaLiga, I have to agree he has a point.

    Forget the friendly later today, that's just entertainment- England should more worry about meeting Germany again next year. But even then if they were to lose, nothing would compare to the hiding of 2010.

    Looks bad for England I'm afraid, they need another Shearer, Gascoigne, Linekar etc and pronto.

  • Comment number 56.

    @ Avonns and The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa

    Ok, lets check. EPL winners are - ManU, Chelsea, Arsenal and, Blackburn.

    There may have only been 4 different Premier League winners, but most of the Premier League seasons have been close, going down to the last 1 or 2 games. In Spain, Barce and Real are 15+ points ahead by Christmas and win by 20-30 points by the end. The football in Sapin is slow and dull, with exception of the big 2. That is why their league is poor.

  • Comment number 57.

    *Spain* lol

  • Comment number 58.

    @36.At 01:28 12th Nov 2011, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:

    If you go to many parts of North Africa and the Middle East, then you'll see that La Liga reigns supreme. Unsurprisingly, as it's undisputedly the best league on the planet.

    I happen to be working in Bahrain at the present time and La Liga hardly registers on the TV over here. Ther only time that we here about it is when Real Madrid play Barcerlona. The EPL is huge and it is wall to wall coverage on Saturdays and Sundays.

  • Comment number 59.

    Regarding #56

    "There may have only been 4 different Premier League winners, but most of the Premier League seasons have been close, going down to the last 1 or 2 games".

    Yes to decide if Man U or Chelsea were going to win not who among 4/6/8 teams. Isn't that what happend more or less last year in LA Liga (Barcelona only won by 4, were as Man U won by 9. The race was for second place).

    For the last six years it's beeen a race between Man U and Chelsea (except 2009).

    In Spain for the last six years it has been between Barcelona and RM (except 2008).


    How is their league poor? Their middling clubs have had just as much if not more success than the English and their top 2 are without par.

    By the way since the EPL there have been 5 different winners in La Liga.

    I fail to see the great gulf. If La Liga is poor the PL is even worse, at least they (Spain) win more in Europe.

  • Comment number 60.

    @59 Press Any Key

    You do make a point and a good 1 but english football, all in all is more exciting. The way the english game is played is just thrilling. I am not saying that Spain is bad but the thing is Real and Barca finish 30 points ehead of the third and fourth place teams. While in the EPL top 5 is very closely contested. Even though your right it has been Chelsea and ManU for the top 2 for the last 6 years (except 2008). people like to see teams closely contesting for places. Last season Barca were 34 points ahead of Villareal who were fourth while in the EPL ManU were 12 points ahead of 4th place Arsenal. Do you see the difference? 34 points to 12 points!!!!!!!!!! The difference in skill between spanish teams is just too great while in the EPL they r faily close except that in the end, whoever can win consistenly are crowned champions which has been ManU for last few years.

  • Comment number 61.

    I read a few days ago that the England Spain game was originally planned for Friday night and Fabio was scheduled to go to his son's wedding. If so this blog is irrelevant.

  • Comment number 62.

    Family is more important--especially the wedding of your son! What message is being sent to the bride and her family--that English football is more important than her special day? And, let's be straight: Will Capello's presence on the sidelines really make a difference on the pitch? Like England will beat Spain with Capello on the sidelines but lose if he is not there? And does anyone SERIOUSLY believe England will win the Euros? Family first--I am sure that as Capello ages gracefully he will NOT be saying "If only I spent more time with Rooney. If only I had a little more quality time with John Terry. Too bad I wasted my time with silly things such as my son's wedding, the birth my grandchildren, baptisms, and the like."

  • Comment number 63.

    Of course there are those who may feel that he will be of more use in Italy than at Wembley....
    My grandson is always very confused anyway as he thinks 'Postman Pat' now manages the England team.
    I guess there is a resemblance.

  • Comment number 64.

    jonnyboy1104 - I have to agree with Villa that the PL is of a poor quality than La liga.
    Last week, I watched a match between my team, Stoke, and Newcastle (who are really doing well right now). The match was dire and painfully dull. Every ball ended up in an almighty tussle or push/pull and shove. Often the ball went straight out of play after a physical encounter. Infact the ball was out of the field of play so much that the ball boy has to be considered when the possesions stats are displayed. Delap probably had the highest possesion stats of all. With the ball in his hands! As for the Newcastle GK, he kicked 6 goal kicks straight out of the pitch. Let alone the passing accuracy of the outfield players, the GK could not kick the ball into the pitch! It was a depressing match to watch by ANY standards.
    Guess what the commentator says at the halftime whistle? 'Terriffic match, pulsating..'!
    Truth be told, the PL has poor quality. I am beginning to think that Silva and Mata are not of exceptional quality. I think that any decent la liga player will be standout in the PL. Sorry..

  • Comment number 65.

    Firstly let me make one thing clear...I actually would have understood if Capello had decided to go to his son's wedding - but as he said his job is with England even though he is upset at this clash in the calendar.

    As I said in the blog, though, it just sums up a rather chaotic build up to this game.

    So let me ask three specific questions.

    1) Should John Terry, having been selected, have played tonight? I think he should, especially with Phil Jagielka carrying an injury.

    2) Should Phil Jones play in midfield? A bold move but I would have preferred to see him at centre-half alongside Terry.

    3) Should Wayne Rooney have been selected for this game? I think he should and then been released for the Sweden game because this is a meeting with the world champions.

    And in general, do England have a chance tonight and if so, where can they hurt Spain?

  • Comment number 66.

    I happen to be working in Bahrain at the present time and La Liga hardly registers on the TV over here. Ther only time that we here about it is when Real Madrid play Barcerlona. The EPL is huge and it is wall to wall coverage on Saturdays and Sundays.

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

    Unfortunately we have all the players. Look how many from the Premiership were nominated for Ballon d'Or. EPL is a boring league because there are very few creative exciting players, the only ones being Silva, Mata, Suarez, Modric etc.

  • Comment number 67.

    Phil, very disappointing that you decided to take a cheap shot at Capello. Poor journalism, especially for a BBC Chief Football Correspondent.

    Why are these friendlies important? It does provide a focus for getting the squad together and playing games in which the opposition will provide surprises and so a better opportunity for the players to learn about each other and what they need to be better than. The Spanish squad are at their peak and playing with great confidence as well as skill.

    The PL and La Liga are not really comparable because the style is so different. English fans would not be happy with 5 minutes of their team passing the ball around at the back. The PL is much more a league in which the demand is for goalmouth action and incident. There is a small number of dominant teams in both (only 2 in La Liga) and both leagues serve up some dreadful games, it happens because this is sport, all be it very rich sport, and sportsman are not automatons. As for passion, a very over-used word these days and passion on its own doesn't mean much except in the FA Cup where the minnows go down as gallant losers.

  • Comment number 68.

    Capello's England like the last 2-3 incarnations of England have been distinctly average and knowing he's stepping down, but that Euro 2012 should be a development opportunity for the future, I think Capello should be a man and step down, let the new man take over ready to go forward toward 2014 in Brazil - the only issue I see with my own masterplan is this - if the new man came in, did marginally well in the friendlies but went out in R1 a'la Keegan in Euro2000 would the media want them sacked by September 2012?

  • Comment number 69.

    In my view Capello deserves the benefit of the doubt. Does it really matter that we're playing Spain? When all's said and done this is a practice game for the Euros and even if we lose, Capello will learn something about his players. It was after all the players who failed in S. Africa, not Capello. I hate to hark on about 1966 and all that but in the 2 years leading up to England's finest hour Alf Ramsey was villified for messing around with the team and even playing without wingers. The Alfer ignored the naysayers though and experimented all the way through to the '66 Home Internationals when he finally came upon the 4-3-3 inside forward formation (the wingless wonders) that ultimately won the pot. So give Fabio some space - he's innocent until proved guilty and there's stiill quite a bit of evidence to review until we can make a definitive conclusion about whether Poland/Ukraine will be a rebirth or a groundhog day for the Three Lions.

  • Comment number 70.

    Should a man who doesn't have a diary be running our country's football team...

  • Comment number 71.

    I'm appalled by the comments made about Capello's or his son/daughter-in-law's inability to schedule a wedding and, whether or not it was right of him to miss the wedding over a friendly is not our judgement to make. Simply put, Capello is dedicated to his job and anyone who is dedicated and passionate about their job will understand the harsh sacrifices one has to make when 'something comes up'. This is the reality of working life and most of you can't seem to appreciate very very difficult decision he has had to make. Give him some bloody sympathy you lot (Phil included) just as I'm sure the players will and will for that reason play their hearts out.

  • Comment number 72.

    This pointless slating of cappello is getting old.
    But on a positive note keep it up. You must make redknapp realise more and more everytime he reads this pointless blasting of cappello why he shouldn't take the england job. I dont think he wife will be to happy now hes had some heart issues.
    Spurs fan...

  • Comment number 73.

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

    explain.

  • Comment number 74.

    @65 Phil

    JT? No. I understand FC's reason for leaving him out. He wants to see what one or two others are capable of and what better way than playing them against Spain. It's a friendly so why not.

    Jones for midfield? He is being talked up by the media. Again a chance for FC to see if he can play that role. I guess we will see soon enough. He is playing in the best league in the world, the EPL, for the second best club in the world so you can understand why. the EPL is the place to be.

    As for Rooney? Same again. A chance to try something/someone else.
    The prem is full of world class teams and players. So let's see.

  • Comment number 75.

    I think that the habit of criticising the england manager is a hard one to break. Come on guys, the friendlies are important for the manager to watch as he is experimenting. At least do him the courtesy of supporting a decision he has made to take his work seriously. I am not convinced that new English priority for family is any more than posing!

  • Comment number 76.

    @65

    1 : No
    2 : No
    3 : No
    4 : Resounding No

  • Comment number 77.

    How can we be thinking about Jones in midfield. He's 19, limited international experience, limited midfield experience and Capello's going to experiment against the best side in the world. Why not, for example, play James Milner there? Vast PL experience, decent international experience and when he played centre mid for Villa was Young player of the Year and selected in the PL team of the season. Baffling.

  • Comment number 78.

    philmcnultybbcsport

    In my opinion, JT should not have been selected considering that there is an ongoing investigation about a very serious allegation about him. Having been selected, I think that he should be playing. No reason for leaving him out.

    Phil Jones has been talked up by the English media. Time for him to to start living up to it. Hope that he does his talking on the pitch like Giggs, Scoles et al, and not like Joe Cole. He should play in midfield.

    Rooney should be playing. He is a fantastic player, and probably the only one that is worth following in the England set up. Reminds me of Hugo Sanchez. Great player, poor national side. Like Sanchez, Rooney will never get the recognition he deserves for his ability.

    Finally, I think that England have a chance. My prediction is 1-1 or 2-1 to Spain. The Spanish will not be looking to win this one, they will be looking to play well and test a few things. They always put playing well ahead of results, especially during friendlies.

  • Comment number 79.

    1) Should John Terry, having been selected, have played tonight? I think he should, especially with Phil Jagielka carrying an injury.

    2) Should Phil Jones play in midfield? A bold move but I would have preferred to see him at centre-half alongside Terry.

    3) Should Wayne Rooney have been selected for this game? I think he should and then been released for the Sweden game because this is a meeting with the world champions.

    ----

    1. I think Terry is already too slow for the Euros. And they are another 10 months away at the end of a long season. So I wouldn't have picked him - any more.

    2. Agreed that Jones ought to have been in the backline.

    3. Cant see the point in playing Rooney. We all know he's i. essential and ii. going to be missing for two games (at least) if not three. So we need to find a Plan B.

  • Comment number 80.

    Oh, and yes, we can't beat Spain in a friendly.

    But I doubt can do it when it really matters in, say, the QFinals of Euro 2012!

  • Comment number 81.

    For Godsakes man, go to your son's wedding - at least you'll have a happy day with your loved ones.

    England will never ever win any of the major trophies again - the structure of our football doesn't lend itself to assiting the national side. It's all CLUB CLUB CLUB before COUNTRY.

  • Comment number 82.

    1) Should John Terry, having been selected, have played tonight? I think he should, especially with Phil Jagielka carrying an injury.

    Forget the baggage surrounding Terry, he's clearly a player well past his best and his slowing reactions and lack of mobility would play straight into the hands of the Spanish who would have him for breakfast. He shouldn't even be on the bench.



    2) Should Phil Jones play in midfield? A bold move but I would have preferred to see him at centre-half alongside Terry.

    Agreed - a bizarre selection

    3) Should Wayne Rooney have been selected for this game? I think he should and then been released for the Sweden game because this is a meeting with the world champions.

    No - playing the world and euro champions makes this a much bigger game than your average friendly - we need to see how a different partnership up front copes with pressure and give then experience in a big game to help get them be ready for the proper pressure in the Euros.

    And in general, do England have a chance tonight and if so, where can they hurt Spain?

    Not really. It won't be a rout - maybe 1-0, 2-0. But I expect a similar pattern to the last Champions League final, with Spain totally controlling the game and winning at a canter. No-one can live with them at the moment, let alone an experimental England team.

    Having said all that, maybe I'm the minority, but much as I admire the technical brilliance of both Spain and Barca, the style of football they play is pretty but excruciatingly boring. I'm waiting for someone - the Germans probably the most likely at the moment - to suss out the tactical answer and put some life back into the game.

  • Comment number 83.

    Whats wrong with this coach!! No wonder his organisation of the team is in shambles because he always has his priorities upside down. After all his contract is not going to be renewed after Euro2012. Missing your son's wedding for a thankless job!!!

  • Comment number 84.

    Lol at The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa 's drivel. It doesnt surprise me that ur not a popular guy on here. Tribal footballing rivalries have totally and utterly made u lose the plot!! I mean anyone who says Man City have 'spent wisely' is either playing a really funny joke or is seriously deluded. To call sir alex by chequebook and say mancinis millions were wise spendings is a complete and utter joke!

    In Scotland the guy won European CUPS (yes cupS as in more than one), with a pretty average team in 82 and 83. He's also won 4 SPLs, he did that with 2 teams (St Mirren and Aberdeen) that didnt include either Rangers or Celtic, who've played pass the parcel with the SPL. He broke the mould no team apart from Celtic or rangers has won the SPL since! I'll tell u this for free lols, St Miren and Aberdeen are NOT rich clubs in the slightest! That alone should show that he aint a chequebook manager.

    If u look at Dalglish's spending blitz (100 millions worth), even if he has balanced the books, and Chelseas 50 million pound signing of Torres along with the whole Man City first team squad and reserve squad, where over half a billion pounds has been spent of them in over 3 or 4 years and theyv achieved a solitary FA cup iv got to wonder how can u slander Sir Alex for spending money?????? Even at United, the guy broke the dominance of Liverpool winning the Premiership in his second year as manager, 20 YEARS AFTER THEIR LAST PREM TITLE. Hes balanced spending with nurturing talent, yes he's paid over the odds for Ferdinand, Cole, Yorke, Veron and Rooney. But at the same time he nurtured Nicky but, Neville brothers, Scholes, Giggs, Welbeck, Jonny Evans, Keane (and another keane is in our academy, its only a matter of time until he makes it to the first team) now Cleverly. Paid small sums for Cantonna (who he paid 1.5 mill for), and Solksjaer (who he paid 500k for!!), Hernandez (6 mill) and they've all turned out to be Man Utd legends. So please enough of ur rubbish......

    I do however agree with u about some of ur points (shockingly enough!!). The amount of rubbish written about Capello is quite simply shocking! He's given up going to his son's wedding to manage England in a FRIENDLY, yet people have the audacity to question his commitment to the england team, some even excusing that away as Capello being a 'workaholic'. And unfortunately i too think that today is going to be a real demolision job, i dont think we'll lose by many goals but performance wise, the Spanish are going to absolutely rip us to shreads!! U never know anyways lols, i mean after seeing the greeks win Euro 2004, absolutely ANYTHING is possible!!

  • Comment number 85.

    @66

    In the last ten years no spanish player has won the Balloon d'Or

    An English player has - Michael Owen 2001

    End of argument

  • Comment number 86.

    should be a good game to watch this one 4-0/5-0 spain,it will at least lower expectations for the euros,im only watching because spain are playing,no fans should even go to england games,imagine england playing at wembley in front of 20.000 fans with loads of empty seats,thats the only way us fans can get a clear message to the FA,they dont care about the fans or what they think so the only way we can hurt them is in there pockets by not paying off there wembley debts,england should have put out as good a side as they could 2nite and experimented vs sweden,if we meet spain at euros most of the team 2nite would not get a look in so whats the point!spain will have 70-75 % of the ball and by the 2nd half they will start cutting our exhusted players apart,cant wait!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 87.

    Wow, it's normally the third page of comments when soulpatch has bored us to death with his BS.

    As for playing Jones in midfield - why? We have plenty of 'midfielders' to choose from, why play a defender out of position? Just crazy.

  • Comment number 88.

    @soulpatch- you irritating windup merchant!

    You obviously do not know what you are talking about! If you look at the revenues streams of ALL 20 Premiership clubs and add them up, well then there is no doubt that they are earning more money than the La Liga clubs respectively. Yes more money, equates to a better league- whether you like it or not. Because more money allows you to pay for better players, of which most La Liga clubs can't afford- something that the strike clearly illustrates before this season's opener in Spain, which you conveniently seem to have forgotten, ahem (manly cough).

    The likes of Rayo Vallecano and Granada of this world can't even pay up 2K wages a week to their players, some of which have been going on for several months- unheard of in the Premiership. To add even further insult, the English Division 2, aka the Championship, have higher earners than some of the the so called immortal clubs in La land.

    Also, your argument of the La Liga having more winners in the last 15 years than the Premiership, is not indicative of the quality of your league I am afraid. The Austrian league has had more than 6 different winners in the last TEN years. We must be KINGS OF EUROPE!!!!

  • Comment number 89.

    This article sums up the decline of British football journalism over the past decade.

    Pre-internet, football journalists spent a lot of time reporting on games , that the public couldn't watch.

    Now, when with a few clicks you can view any game in Europe that's televised in some form, we realise the emperor wears no clothes! Most run of the mill hacks have been exposed for a lack of insight, which forces them to write speculative drivel on a Wedding.

    Sad times.

  • Comment number 90.

    What's bizarre here is the number of comments slagging off Fabio for missing the wedding! What normal person would fix his wedding for a date when he knows - well in advance - that his father cannot attend? Alarming how many people don't live in the real world...

  • Comment number 91.

    And if you do not answer to post 88 SOUL PATCH- I will automatically assume you have surrendered to my argument as you have no ANSWER. I will log back on in about 10 hrs time and read thru all the posts

  • Comment number 92.

    the soul patch of david villa

    "We've already unanimously agreed that Pep is not a chequebook manager. "

    ____________________

    Eh? The bulk of the present Barsa team he inherited (Iniesta, Xavi, Messi, Puyol, Valdes etc) the others he BOUGHT. Ibramovic ( a nonsense signing whgo's now slagging off Guardiola to the high heavens in the Spanish press) Cesc, Mascherano.....and Neymar is a recent target.

    Getting back to the point: Capello should go to his son's wedding . Everybody will understand: the players, the fans and his coaching team. He can always keep in touch by all the new technological gadgets we have these days.

    Oh, and talking about Villa, it's now said that he wants to leave because he doesn't get on with Messi. WTF? First he didn't want to go to Madrid because he didn't get on with Raul. The man's obviously a trouble maker.

  • Comment number 93.

    @ soul-pach-david-villa
    Sorry guys, have to agree, England will be demolished by spain, espeically without Rooney. The England set up has been a farce for a long time now, Hoddle should never have been sacked and David Beckham should still be Captain, yes he is 36 but he can still inspire the team, unlike Terry.

  • Comment number 94.

    I cant believe spain are even money to win today, they should be long odds on!

    reminds me when Barca took on Man U, similar odds..similar predictable class gulf painfully exposed..

    easy money off the back of english misplaced optimism me thinks......

    I support England .. no reason not to make afew ££ out of them losing though...which they will.... quite badly today.....

  • Comment number 95.

    Nice to see Soul Patch has hijacked another blog by just stating blatant falsehoods and backing them up with nothing at all. A few points on La Liga:

    1. Barcelona received 3x the amount of money for TV rights last season than Man Utd did.
    2. 3rd place Valencia finished closer to the relegation zone than they did to the runners up, Real Madrid
    3. 5 teams failed to score more goals than Cristiano Ronaldo on his own, and 3 more outscored him by 1.
    4. Barcelona's second most common result was 5-0 last season.

    I have a theory that Soul Patch is just Phil McNulty trying to get a debate going by making outlandish statements of opinion as if they were fact.

    Now, the England game. I kind of feel that Capello is being victimised for no good reason, I would bet my house that he would be blasted in the media should he have missed this friendly. A no win situation for him really. That being said, it does sound like he's made some weird selections. Jagielka playing while injured against Spain probably isnt going to cover himself in glory, surely Jones or even Ferdinand would have been a better choice if Capello is insistent on dropping Terry.

  • Comment number 96.

    Well said Soul Patch. Its patently obvious La Liga is streets ahead of the Prem, but its the only thing the English have to hang on to in terms of football - the viewing figures of the Prem. Of course, in the world footballing powerhouses of Thailand, Korea, China and the Middle East the Prem probably is more popular. But if you visit real footballing nations e.g. every country in South America, Italy, France, Portugal etc La Liga is required viewing. In Scandinavia the EPL dominates. I'm not sure about Germany and the Netherlands - I would imagine La Liga.
    In terms of quality - the only thing that really matters, well the last 5 European finals played out between Spanish and English teams were won by Spain, with three of them being utter humiliations.
    That sums it up really.
    Watch out for another complete demolition tonight - just to reinforce the superior quality of Spanish football

  • Comment number 97.

    @Jock McTavish - yeah anyone could be a football journalist, I mean you only have to look at the quality of posts on these blogs to see that this writing and analysis lark is a walk in the park... (face palm)

    The only lowering of standards that the internet has brought about is the opportunity for people who's opinion of the worth of their insight is inversely proportionate to its quality to have a public forum for their semi-literate drivel, and then to vent their frustration that someone else is paid for writing about football just because, oh I don't know, they know a lot about it and are capable of putting their thoughts into coherent sentences.

  • Comment number 98.

    96.

    I'm pretty tired of having to point this out, but 2 teams are streets ahead of the EPL due to massively inflated income due to TV rights. The rest are pants. The only real reason to watch La Liga is if you fancy watching Barca or Real knock 5 goals past teams who have no realistic chance of competing. This is not indicative of a strong league, it just so happens that Real have snapped up half the promising talent in Europe over the past few years for insane sums of money, while Barca have been reaping the products of their brilliant youth system (plus, its not like theyve been exactly frugal, with unnecessary signings like Sanchez and Fabregas)

  • Comment number 99.

    perhaps the solution is for the whole of the england squad to attend the wedding though j terry would need to wear restraints and a tag.

  • Comment number 100.

    The Soul Patch of David Villa ------- The Clown
    --------------------------------------
    If La Liga is so competitive, why does the team sat in 6th place have minus goal difference? and why are Valencia and Villarreal not good enough to make the last 16 of the Champions League?
    Silly boy!

 

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