Walcott and Capello stun Croatia
Slaven Bilic ended his inquest into England's destruction of Croatia accompanied by the strains of "My Way" booming out of a sound system situated near his left ear - a suitably bizarre end to a surreal night in Zagreb.
Regrets? Well, Bilic had more than a few as he surveyed the wreckage inflicted by a superb England performance and a stunning statement of his talent from 19-year-old Theo Walcott.
Bilic, who it is almost impossible to dislike, even had a "what did the Romans ever do for us?" moment as he tried to unscramble his senses.
"Until the first goal Walcott was not so good" - so basically he was pretty hopeless until he had the audacity to score three goals and generally take Croatia to the cleaners. Fair enough.
It was difficult to work out who was more stunned - Bilic, or those of us who pitched up at The Maksimir Stadium claiming a point would be just cause for celebration and left barely believing the emphatic victory margin we had just seen.
England coach Fabio Capello does not do carried away, so we should not have been surprised that he sat in a tent pitched in The Maksimir car park and passed off the country's most stunning triumph in recent memory as "nothing."
And those of us who sat in wonder in Munich's Olympic Stadium as England thrashed Germany 5-1 in a World Cup qualifier seven years ago will know exactly where he is coming from. We've been here before.
There are similarities. A striker scored a hat-trick, as Michael Owen did back then, and Emile Heskey was the willing sidekick in both games.
So Capello is actually right. If there is to be euphoria, which he thinks there should not, then it should at least be tempered.
But natural caution should not detract from just how good this was - both from the coach and England's players. It was five-star stuff.
We have all been quick to criticise England and question Capello, so it would be churlish not to give them the credit they deserve when they deliver in such emphatic fashion.
Let's start with Capello and a bold team selection that flew in the face of suggestions that he is simply a hard-nosed pragmatist whose first instinct is always conservatism.
Capello took the attacking option by selecting Walcott ahead of David Beckham and playing Joe Cole on the left.
He has huge faith in Walcott, and to say that he repaid it is understatement gone mad.
A new international star was born in Zagreb, and in the same moment we may have seen the end of Beckham as a player who starts the big games for England.
There was something symbolic about the embrace between the pair when the older man replaced the youngster late on.
I expected Capello to play safe and pick Beckham, but he went with Walcott and showed what top coaches can do in big games. They can make the tough choices that make the difference.
Walcott scored three goals, showed pace to burn and courage in abundance after he was flattened by a shocking body-check from Josip Simunic that deserved a red card.
He will now be at the centre of huge national attention, but he is in safe hands with Arsene Wenger and he has shown remarkable self-assurance and maturity for a teenager during these last few days.
On the evidence of what I have seen from Walcott, I would be staggered if any of this went to his head.
And what about the other plus points?
England were brave, had a system that suited them and had top performers all over the pitch as a Croatian team that has been their nemesis was reduced to an ill-disciplined shambles in the closing stages.
The central midfield partnership of Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard worked well, and it will be a dilemma for Capello when Steven Gerrard is fit again, although I would still expect him to find a place for the Liverpool captain.
If Capello can be cold-eyed enough to overlook Beckham for Walcott, he will not shy away from picking Gerrard ahead of either Barry or (more intriguingly) Lampard if the occasion demands.
And finally, after a dormant period, we saw some flashes of the real Wayne Rooney, creating chances and scoring himself.
England needed big performances from Rooney and Lampard and they delivered. No complaints there.
I stated when Capello picked his squad that it was a mistake to exclude Michael Owen. I still believe he should at least have been in the squad, but the Italian's answer to the gripes is six points and that wins every time.
England were mature in dealing with a combustible atmosphere in Croatia.The Maksimir Stadium is an intoxicating venue and a test for any visiting team, but England coped in a manner that reflected the maturity and experience of their coach.
There was some disgraceful racist chanting aimed at Heskey from a small group of Croatia fans on one occasion after the break, but in the interests of balance it must also be stated that the majority of their supporters took defeat with great humour and good grace.
Capello may not be the cure-all for England's problems, but he does cut an imposing figure and it has been clear around the camp in recent days that he has total respect.
And in Walcott he sees a talent to nurture.
There will be huge attention thrown upon Walcott's young shoulders now, but he is a very impressive personality who has been relaxed and eloquent around the media and whose future can be guided by two of the game's statesmen in Arsene Wenger and Capello.
England will fly home with a job well done. Faith has been restored in the team (with that ever-present proviso of not getting carried away) and Capello has produced the sort of big result his reputation has been built around.
It is not the start of a brave new era. It is not a new dawn in English football. It is one outstanding victory against one of Europe's most formidable sides - and that is more than enough to be going on with.