Mixed emotions for Capello
England coach Fabio Capello insists he spoke quietly to his players after a shambolic first 45 minutes in Amsterdam - the Italian will keep his powder dry for more significant days than this.
The trademark iron mask slipped as he generously blamed two crass errors from Rio Ferdinand and Gareth Barry that gifted the Netherlands a two-goal lead on lingering pre-season rust.
It is unlikely Capello will be so forgiving if lapses are repeated as the countdown continues towards what England captain John Terry is convinced will be a serious assault on the World Cup in South Africa next summer.
As Capello rightly stated, it is better to distribute the presents in a friendly rather than in a World Cup encounter, when they could prove fatal, but the lessons must still be learned.
Capello's forgiving mood would have been helped by a second half full of spirit and encouraging cameos - with Jermain Defoe taking top honours with two goals to equalise goals from Dirk Kuyt and Rafael van der Vaart.
And his claim about pre-season cobwebs causing England's lapses had some basis in logic, given the unusual timing of this friendly just days before the start of the Premier League campaign.
All criticism of England's performance must be placed in the context that this was effectively the end of pre-season preparations for many players.
If that harrowing first half in the Amsterdam ArenA served a purpose, it was to deliver a timely warning that England cannot make a difficult job potentially impossible by gifting possession to teams as technically gifted as the Dutch - especially 20 yards from their own goal.
Ferdinand and Barry have been two of England's most reliable performers and men Capello may count on heavily in South Africa, and he will remain confident these were one-off aberrations.
Steven Gerrard will be back after injury and the performance of Defoe, as well as Carlton Cole and James Milner when they were introduced, suggests a dogfight for places on the plane to South Africa will ensue as the season progresses.
The downside was that England looked pedestrian and technically inferior to the Dutch in the first half - the pluses all came after the break.
Defoe's introduction was electrifying, streaking clear to score after 49 minutes and providing a poacher's finish for the equaliser 13 minutes from the end of an entertaining encounter.
He looked busy throughout, flashing a header just over from Milner's cross, and may just have pushed Michael Owen's hopes of an international recall further into the distance.
Owen will want to use his new Manchester United career as a launchpad for the revival of his England ambitions, but Defoe has stated his case and it is clear that Capello is an huge admirer.
Milner was another to create a favourable impression with a marauding performance on the left that troubled John Heitinga, making more of an impact than his Villa colleague Ashley Young.
Carlton Cole, an enigmatic figure for much of his career, also suggested he is finally becoming the finished article under the tutelage of Gianfranco Zola at West Ham with a lively performance as replacement for Wayne Rooney,
It all made for a sympathetic Capello as he starts this vital 12 months - but his air of authority ensures England's players will know such carelessness will not be tolerated in the future.