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Crisis at camp Capello

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David Bond | 12:54 UK time, Saturday, 19 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Cape Town

Deflated after their listless performance against Algeria, England's players were given Saturday morning off to relax or take in the sights of Cape Town.

Outside the team's exclusive Vineyard Hotel, a group of camera crews and photographers waited to capture those players brave enough to venture out.

Others, like Wayne Rooney, remained holed up inside. After his frustrated outburst at the many England supporters inside the stadium who expressed their anger at England's display, the Manchester United striker was rather more camera shy the morning after.

England manager Fabio Capello was the first to leave after breakfast, taking a car just after 0900 local time. He has a lot to reflect on after seeing his meticulous plans for this World Cup go so wrong.England coach Fabio Capello vents his anger during the match against Algeria
Capello was furious with his side's performance against Algeria. Photo: AFP

Having exuded such confidence during qualifying and such certainty in his own methods, the Italian - a winner of nine league titles in Italy and Spain - is giving off the air of a man in personal crisis in what is his first World Cup as a coach.

His body language as he came off the pitch at half-time last night spoke of utter befuddlement at how a group of players with such large reputations could be shrunk in the face of supposedly weaker African opposition.

His press conference display was hardly more encouraging as he spoke of his bemusement at his team's form and pointedly refused to rule out quitting if England are eliminated after Wednesday's game against Slovenia.

Although he cannot be blamed for the paucity of world-class players at his disposal (get ready for that debate next week if the results go against England), the pressure is on in a way that will be different and possibly more intense, than anything he experienced in La Liga or Serie A. He has never had to deal with such huge national expectation.

England return to their Rustenburg training camp later on Saturday. Sensing the anger of fans back home and here in South Africa there is a mood at the top of the Football Association to see Capello front up and face the media on Sunday. This would be unusual as the manager normally only speaks the day before matches.

The FA knows this is a key moment in its costly Capello project. There is a feeling at the top of the organisation that it has spared no expense in giving Capello and his players absolutely everything they asked for in terms of preparation and if they do go home early there will be serious questions asked about why a £5m-a-year manager and his vast coaching staff could not take England forward.

And given the disappointing way England have started this World Cup there will undoubtedly be a few jitters among FA board members at the last-minute decision to remove the two-year break clause in Capello's contract just before the team left for South Africa.

Some at the FA believe Capello would probably quit anyway if England did fail to get out of Group C. But there is no evidence from the manager's past that he would walk away lightly from such a lucrative deal.

But before we reach the end game in this now all too familiar drama, England can still qualify and even win the group if they produce a performance to match expectations on Wednesday.

And to end on a more optimistic note - this is exactly the same situation England found themselves in at Italia '90 when two 1-1 draws left Sir Bobby Robson's team needing a win against Egypt to go through. They did, and they reached the semi-finals. Robson only achieved that after changing his methods following talks with his key players.

The question is: can Capello change before it is too late?


Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    Two words: Joe Cole.

  • Comment number 2.

    The England players, coaches and manager and everyone else needs a new target. Every game now they should be set a target of 10 goals. For every goal they fail to score below this they must give 1 weeks wage for each goal. So win 4-0 they give 6 weeks wages.

    If they score 2 goals or less then they should give 10 weeks wages. For every goal they concede they should give 2 weeks wages.

    All the money should go to South African charities for education. The players should be aware as many TV viewers are that many games have had empty seats because many ordinary South Africans can't afford the prices.

  • Comment number 3.


    I think you will struggle to teach this old dog new tricks.

    Tactically, England were sound in both matches. The problem was ball control (first touch). They should have tried drilling crosses and free kicks. They should have tried through balls more often not lofting it in. Through balls would also take away the need to stop and turn.

    Lots of players have come forward and criticised the ball, the few teams that have chnged their tactics to suit it are prospering.

  • Comment number 4.

    Feel sorry for the English fans who were made to believe that they had a great side by the over confident ramblings of the English media machine. Don't feel sorry for the players they believe the hyoe too and are far to overpaid and over rated. Feel sorry for Cappelo he can't turn a pigs ear in to a silk purse!! ABE.

  • Comment number 5.

    There is too much baggage in this England team, too many unfit or carrying injuries or lack of games. Though who I would call up if it could be done I don't know.

    Oh well the clinically obese lady has not sung yet so let's hope that things can only get better.

  • Comment number 6.

    Nobody is making us believe anything. We choose to believe because it gives us hope. Anyway, about 90% of supporters I speak to do not believe, and did not believe before the start of the tournament, that England can win it. I reckon that 10% of any of the 2nd tier (and I include England in that tier) team's fans believe their team can win it. We are no different to anyone else.
    As for our media - read the papers. They get behind the team at the beginning and if things don't go well they criticize. That's their job, basically, isn't it, to reflect the mood of the nation?
    By the way, you're ABE comment shows you don't feel sorry for any English fans and I for one don't need your sympathy so try being a bit more adult.

  • Comment number 7.


    The media were slating england in the final run up to the world cup, the results were more impressive than the display.

    These players are world class when in league club shirts and can contend with the very best of the rest. Something is not right and the main problem is that nobody knows what it is!

    The last 5 performances have been poor and the players know that they are capable of better, so let's see it!

  • Comment number 8.

    There is simply no player of the mould of Messi for Argentina, Sneider for the Dutch, Xavi for Spain etc. A player who is comfortable with the ball at his feet, a player who is truly world class. While some teams have a number of them, England doesn't have any.

    Capello has always named his team 2 hrs before a match and the team had no issues with it during the qualifying. If they had, they should have brought it to the notice of Capello. They did not and hence there was no issue then. Or was it because they were playing minnows baring Croatia?
    Does that mean they are in a league where they do not belong now? Going the show they have put up, it looks so.

    I said in one of Phil's blog that Capello should play Green against Algeria. If he did make another mistake, he can justifiably be dropped forever or for a long time. My logic was that the team could score one more than Algeria if there was a mistake. If they did not then they can pack off to the north pole and we can enjoy the world cup.

    David, I am afraid I have puncture your optimism. Sir Bobby Robson had some truly world class players at his disposal not these posers. This lot may get out of the group but will not get much further with even lotto winning luck.

  • Comment number 9.

    i think fans of england should support there team know matter what if you put anyone under pressure like the england team have been by the media then how do you expect them to play well football is a (sport)first and foremost a competition second the world cup is a great competition we stop putting wild expectation on our and get behind let them relax and enjoy it with out the pressure sure we like them to win but so what if the don,t it,s not the end of the world ,one more thing i think the england team should have an english manager we have plenty of talented manager why don,t we use them

  • Comment number 10.

    All England's fans want England to win the world Cup. Most of those fans believe they can win the WC but don't realistically expect it without some breaks and certainly not if they don't play well. Everyone expects them to get out of the group. The team is lucky everything is there to play for - they must win.

    The test of a good coach is not how he coaches a winning team but how he coaches in adversity. This is Capello's test and also during the game if it's not working.

    First get Rooney to apologise to the England fans, soccer fans around the world and to Algeria, for his remarks and for his poor play. He needs to show some humility. Slovenia will maul him to death and if he gets no calls, keep his cool.

    The rest of the players have to realise they are not world class and show some respect for the game and the hundreds of other players who are not at the world cup. Yes they all know how to play, but they seem to have forgotten this because of all the systems they have been subjected to and the garbage from the media.

    Capello must select players who are physically and mentally tough enough to win this game. He must be ready to make changes if necessary quickly in the game. Most of all England expects the players to play their best and if they bow out it's only because their best wasn't good enough.

  • Comment number 11.

    England just needs to play. All this scrutiny is getting us no where fast. Clearly England can play and now they need too. It is that simple. Just play the game; forget the pressure and expectations and just go it and enjoy it. If we win, great, if we lose, ah well, I guess it was not in the cards. But play the game like you did when you were kids. Have fun!

    Come on lads I am 100% behind you.

  • Comment number 12.

    The England team need to remember why they are out there, they need to remember the messages of support from our Armed Forces, they need to remember that they have some talent. More than anything they need to 'give it a go'. If they play another game like that they will forever be remembered as one of the worst England teams ever - I'm sure none of the players want that. For some players this may be their last chance, the fans still believe, still back the team, the team must NOT let us down again. Last night is history, the best way to wipe it from memory is to go on and regain some respect by playing as they can and should.

  • Comment number 13.

    And one more thing to keep it in perspective ... one of my neighbours has purchased one of those plastic vuvuzelas and is learning how to play it. So you think you guys have problems; try listening to that all day!

    Come on England!!!

  • Comment number 14.

    Put them all on the plane now and deduct they pay for the period and give it to South African education.

  • Comment number 15.

    I think the point is that while Capello is a brilliant club manager - proven - he has never managed an international team before, nor, obviously, has he been in the pressure cooker of a World Cup. Managing international teams is a specialist skill and his 'Fabio knows best' paternalism has come up short.
    I still believe that england will get out of the group stage because that is what we do. We perform when there is no alternative but to perform, but I fear yet another 'plucky' reverse in the knock-out phase. as Adrian Chiles - wittily - observed at final whistle, England are unbeaten and - I think - will hold out against whoever for extra time, penalties and the inevitable Pizza Hut advert. Fabio seems unable to alter this familiar tournament narrative.

  • Comment number 16.

    they simply are not motivated enough, club rules country in their minds, i do not think they are ALL gelling as a squad. You only need one or two rotten apples...
    Yes the manager has to shoulder some of this but in percentage terms i levy most of this dismal affair on the squad. Let them run home to the safety of their clubs (and their mansions). Then let the bi-annual cycle of debate on the scarcity of quality english players in the premier league commence. This situation is very unlikely to improve, there's not enough money in it to change it.

  • Comment number 17.

    Out of position, clearly out of their minds. It looked like they all wanted to go home to Mum and a big hug rather than play football. Taking random pokes at a ball before giving it to the opposition to play with is not competitive sport. Rooney and Gerrard are a joy to watch for their clubs, free and devastating whereas they look like amateurs for England. For a moment I almost suspected they had all put lots of money on a draw.

  • Comment number 18.

    David, I am afraid I have puncture your optimism. Sir Bobby Robson had some truly world class players at his disposal not these posers. This lot may get out of the group but will not get much further with even lotto winning luck


    #8 Bradatta - Sorry, I don't agree with you there. We had Gascoigne, Lineker and Waddle, but - as an old person - I can tell you that in 1990, people thought the team was rubbish at the group stage and Robson was vilified; bit like now. I don't see Rooney, Gerrard and Lampard as hugely inferior to those players. They are absurdly talented, much sought after players.

    Just can't do it for England

  • Comment number 19.

    Anyone remember the tabloid headline when the groups were drawn?:

    E ngland
    A lgeria
    S lovenia
    Y anks

    Its looking less easy by the day.

  • Comment number 20.

    This has nothing to do with ability, nothing at all. Anybody who thinks that is an idiot. Rooney "can't trap a bag of cement" said some dolt. This is confidence. belief, mental stuff. You can see it on their faces when they go out. These players are SCARED. I have never seen anything like it and I have watched England since the early sixties. It was funny-I read the sad news that Nobby Stiles has had a stroke-I wonder what he would have been saying to players on the pitch yesterday? We need a LEADER and badly.

  • Comment number 21.

    I said it before the game and I will say it again, 4-5-1 and to go back to post number 1 Joe Cole.

    Capello is not cut out for this level, that is now more evident than before, and its unfortunate we realise that now.
    Sat next to him on the bench is a man full of passion heart and grit, what England need right now, and that is Stuart Pearce. As a long time Forest fan, I can tell you, we need a leader like him, and to be honest there is noone on the pitch that looked like they cared. Even Beckham seemed more riled than anyone out there, it was disgusting performance not because we drew not because we played badly, but because noone seemed to have any passion whatsoever. And for me that is what is key here, Joe Cole always worked hard always gave his all, always seemed to care, if he doesnt play in the final game, and Capello doesnt change things, he has to go, because with that ignorant faith in a failing flawed line up we will never win anything under his supervision.

    We need a man who can lead, but leads because he wants us to win, not for money or fame, but for England, the players dont have to be the best, we dont need world class players, we need a team of winners,

    As Muhammed Ali said

    'To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If youre not, pretend you are'

  • Comment number 22.

    Something is very wrong, but as PompeyJim said - no-one knows what it is!
    It's not Capello, and it's not the quality of the players. People who are saying we haven't got any world class players like argentina etc are idiots - that is completely irrelevant in this context. Whether we have truly "world class" (whatever that means) players doesn't matter - what we do know is that we have good players who should be able to control the ball, pass accurately and BEAT Algeria.

    Why they just collapsed completely is beyond me!? It was a truly awful display. And there's no point saying Joe Cole this, Lampard and Gerrard that. What ever it is that is wrong with them runs far deeper than any of these individual talking points. They just seem to have completely stopped functioning, at the time we really need them to!

  • Comment number 23.

    I am an Italian supporter, so I am obviously more concerned about Italy's performance, than about England. However, I have followed England closely, because I live here, and because I was curious to see how an Italian coach like Capello would fare.

    I think England have been very average in both matches. A comment was made about the tactics being right, but I think that's giving Capello a little too much credit. The US and Algeria are both modest teams which shouldn't really have posed a problem. I think the fact that England took something out of both games was more due to their inability than the tactics England employed.

    Having said that, I think Capello has been in for a little too much criticism. You have too quickly forgotten that England's problems haven't started with Capello - you did not even qualify for the last major tournament, with virtually the same set of players. Capello will definitely change something in the final game, if for no other reason than to give the team a jolt. But the problem is that the players have not been able to cope with the pressure. No matter was formation Capello decides to go for in the final match, England will only win when the likes of Lampard, Gerrard and Rooney decide that they will not leave the field unless they have given every last drop of sweat in them.

    On the issue of naming the squad two hours before, I think too much is being made of it. The point of Capello doing this is because he wants all 23 players to train at the same intensity and he thinks that those players who haven't been picked won't. That's all. I don't see why the pressure is increased.

  • Comment number 24.

    How gracious of you to include an optimistic note in one of your articles.

    The pressure of the cynical media has got to Capello and he's not thinking straight.

    Please, please drop Heskey and the long ball madness.

  • Comment number 25.

    Even Australia can score goals as they are right now against Ghana. Why do loyal fans not start boycotting these players and so stop funding their lavish extreme luxury lifestyles. Perhaps if life was a little harder for them they would make an effort to earn their keep.

  • Comment number 26.

    After watching several rival countries play, England by comparison lack speed and anticipation and is sluggish at best. This isn't a managerial problem it is a lack of ball control, confidence and dare I say experience. Mexico, Korea and Serbia show a work rate that England can never match, and in all parts of the field.
    Some moments of hope in there but with so many poor losses of possession under such little pressure, and some atrocious defending, (which looked rank amateur at points) left our only star players frustrated and also making stupid mistakes.
    Not the ball, not the manager, not the crowd, not the wages. The players need to keep their heads and the press need to back off too. They know as well as we do that it isn't working well at the minute, I just hope they don't throw it all away over some scathing media coverage.
    However, their lack of speed passing will have us locked out of the game looking average nomatter who we face. Oh.. and someone tell them the net isn't 40feet high too.

  • Comment number 27.

    Well, what on earth was last night all about. If it was a masterclass on how not to play football then England have to win an award. David, you were castigated over your Capello blog, not least by me, and quite rightly, it was one game in. However, I'm sure you are having a little chuckle now.

    Capello does not know why we were so bad last night - well on £5m a year he damn well should. I can tell you why we were bad:

    Playing Heskey, SWP, Gerrard on the left, Rooney when he is clearly not fit, sorting out your No1 keeper from the start of the tournament. I could go on. Everyone of that team last night should hang their heads in shame and make sure they play an absolute blinder on Wednesday. If they have any shred of pride or decency they will do the right thing against Slovenia, roll their sleeves up and play like professionals and not confused school kids.

  • Comment number 28.

    There is a lot of talk about 'media pressure' in England, and articles like this hardly help the issue. What is the point on mounting a personal attack on Capello and claiming he is in a personal crisis? Although I don't agree with the way Rooney vented his feelings last night after the final whistle, and I certainly don't condone their poor performance, why can't the media show some support for once and try and rally fans around a team that obviously needs support rather than a flood of criticism. Come on guys, you're English as well, lets leave the badmouthing of our team to foreign media or at least wait until we're out of the tournament. C'MON ENGLAND.

  • Comment number 29.

    Spain, France and Germany have all suffered defeat in their groups. I am surprised at the thousands of comments citing England's "worst game in recent memory", when a draw is still a point. Dissappointing, drab, underwhelming - all fine adjectives, but England's LOSSES to Russia, Ukraine and Croatia were far worse results and only date back to c. 2008

    We can still qualify, and we should do. Get behind the team, at least while hope lasts.

    Lampard has been our worst performer 2 games on the trot and needs to make room for somebody else, barring a change of shape. Not Good Enough from such an obviously gifted player. Joe Cole to step in; judging by the lack of creativity, he ought to have featured in both games.

  • Comment number 30.

    Its the same every 4 years.

    British (not just English) players are technically average. There was not 1 single English player on the park last night that was as technically as good as any Algerian.

    People are far too quick to believe the media hype about a lot of the players. Some do look very good as part of a bigger jigsaw in their club sides.

    For example take Darren Fletcher at Manchester United - he has looked superb and one of the clubs better players over the last 2 seasons - but for Scotland he has often been from average to bad.

    Why? Because at Man U his lack of tecnhical ability is not so important with many others around that do have it - in the Scotland team they are all have medocre tecnical ability and thats a problem.

    Replace the name Fletcher with Gerrrard/Lampard/Rooney etc and Scotland with England and you have the same problem.

    I am amazed more do not see the problem - the Algerians controlled keep kick outs and turned in and instant - the English were like cart horses in comparason. They threaded passes through the tiniest of spaces and controlled, passed and moved keeping possesion in a way any UK team could only dream of. The English players were/are simply worse.

    Until this problem is sorted with kids and footballers in the UK we will never do anything on any international stage without foreigners to help.

    As for Englands good qualifying campaign - it was possibly the easiest group. Although this is possibly the easiest WC group as well.

    This is just another average techincally limited England team - take a note from Alex McLeishs old Scotland tactics - everyone behind the ball and counter quickly - you may get 1 chance then take it. If your not Brazil its pretty effective.

  • Comment number 31.

    I find it surprising that Capello's decisions haven't been debated more. He's brought a lot of unfit and out of form players, not to mention players who have been in relegated and relegation threatened teams. A World Cup squad should be created on the basis of form, fitness but also mentality - that third attribute is indelibly linked to the stature of a player's club.
    Look, for example, at Spain's goalies: Casillas (Real Madrid), Valdes (Barcelona) and Reina (Liverpool). The two GKs we've used at South Africa played in teams which came 17th and 20th in the Premier League.
    I am an Arsenal fan, so I am biased, but as this tournament has progressed, the more Capello's exclusion of Walcott becomes mystifying. Shaun Wrigh-Phillips - short of form, fitness, confidence and, frankly, ability. He can't get into the Man City team, so how come he's become England's saviour?

    The most troubling element is how poor Capello's tactical choices have been. King in for Ferdinand backfired; Milner being put in while ill backfired; SWP on the left backfired TWICE; Green as GK backfired; Heskey in so Rooney can push up as a CF backfired.

    We have jokers in goal, a world-class striker who's hiding in midfield, a donkey up front, clueless wingers, two past-it fatigued/bored midfielders, two central defenders lacking any pace. Could you say the same if the team was set out like this:

    Johnson Dawson Terry A. Cole


    Milner Gerrard J. Cole

    Defoe Rooney

  • Comment number 32.

    I would like to see Joe Cole in the next match to play along side Wayne Rooney. Joe has been on the bench so Please Mr Capello let Joe play what have we go to loose. I can understand the frustration on our nation and for those who have paid to and see our lads play. So come on England play football.

  • Comment number 33.

    Capello is not the problem the players are, it's they that do the passing and stop goals, we could have lost that match! They should be used to playing along side each other no matter name or rank they just can't, that IS the problem.

  • Comment number 34.

    England WILL get it right, no doubt. Now if only my neighbour would stop or get better at playing his vuvuzela! It currently sounds like a cow giving birth.

    Come on England!!!!

  • Comment number 35.

    One thing I noticed is how poor the ITV commentry is. Here in Ireland after the first match the panel (including Graeme Souness) were saying how poor England were. Over on ITV they were saying it wasnt "top-notch" but was still a great performance. Even last night they were saying England are unbeaten in two matches and still in with a chance of making it through the group as if that made their performance ok. They really should be more realistic and unbiased and admit when their team is rubbish.
    The general consensus on the panel here was that Gerard and Lampard should not play together as they are too similar and that Rooney should be left to play on his own without Hesky. They also rekoned that England have no playmaker like Xavi or Messi.

  • Comment number 36.

    Yes, it was dire last night, simply not working hard enough or perhaps some ill effects of vaccines etc, I wonder how many players have taken medication? Anti malaria tablets almost put me on my back for a week!

  • Comment number 37.

    Nobody seems to have twigged that this last performance is all about the players being put under far too much pressure from fans and more importantly in their own camp. In recent world cups there has always been the pressure of the occasion but this was balanced with an element of protection within the England camp.

    For all Sven’s floors he was able to make the players feel good about themselves and their chances. Now of course this has led to us being complacent in the later rounds and going out with a bundle of excuses but still in 1998 we outplayed the Argentina and should have won, 2002 we scored and led against brazil, even in 2006 we still had a belief.

    In boot camp Capello we've gone to far in trying to snuff out this complacency and have succeeded in creating a culture where the players are well.... scared. They are never told if they are going to play until the last minute and the manager is a distant figure who you would imagine must have problems communicating.

    Now I know that I'll get replies saying, they are top players paid 100k a week and that they manage to perform with this pressure for their clubs but, money can’t protect you from pressure and at their clubs fans worship them and don’t boo them (well with the exception of arsenal) if they have an off day.

    So I say bring back the wags, the show biz and the atmosphere the unreasonable and unfounded optimism and the players will respond. Look at the best players in the world, Ronaldo is a complete arrogant ‘you know what’ but the one thing you can say about him is he believes in himself. We need Rooney to come out on Wednesday and think "I don't care if they boo me, I'm Wayne Rooney, I won the champions league, I scored 33 goals this season and I'm going to take apart Slovenia like the division 2 level side they are" instead of "I better play it safe because if we loose this then we're out of the world cup"

    If we're going to go out boys lets do it with our head held high, to be better we have to first believe we are better!

  • Comment number 38.

    18. At 3:17pm on 19 Jun 2010, kentspur wrote:
    David, I am afraid I have puncture your optimism. Sir Bobby Robson had some truly world class players at his disposal not these posers. This lot may get out of the group but will not get much further with even lotto winning luck


    #8 Bradatta - Sorry, I don't agree with you there. We had Gascoigne, Lineker and Waddle, but - as an old person - I can tell you that in 1990, people thought the team was rubbish at the group stage and Robson was vilified; bit like now. I don't see Rooney, Gerrard and Lampard as hugely inferior to those players. They are absurdly talented, much sought after players.

    Just can't do it for England

    Sorry - disagree with that one. We were absolutely awful against Eire in the first game of '90, then played unbelievably well against a Dutch side that were then European champions and had ripped us apart last time we played them competitively in Euro'88. Bobby Robson changed his rigid 442 after discussions with Bryan Robson and Terry Butcher, who then played sweeper against the Dutch - the first time in England's history we had played with 5 at the back. Gascoigne took the Dutch apart and we were incredibly unlucky not to win the game. I vividly remember there being no question of beating Egypt in the final game - we had shown that we were too good not to qualify from the group and we duly produced a solid performance in which qualification was not in doubt. In '90 a stupendously talented kid called Gascoigne emerged, a proven goalscorer called Lineker was feared by all, an old warhorse called Butcher refused to bow down and the boss could make tactical as well as personnel changes because he put the team before his own pride. This isn't 1990. The confidence isn't there. I hope and pray we'll turn it on against Slovenia, but we haven't seen even a glimmer of real quality yet. At the moment, we are poor, we look poor and we don't seem to have any idea of how to change it. Let's hope that changes by Wednesday. Somebody needs to step up to the plate.....

  • Comment number 39.

    I wish to bring attention to something that I have not heard anyone yet say about England's sad performance last night. I speak as a chess enthusiast and football fan. As a chess player I am well aware that the quickest way to lose at chess is to underestimate your opponent and still more to assume that you've only got to turn up to win. Every world cup - and Euro championship - the TV pundits and the press fall over one another to tell us all how great England are and how useless our opponents are and convince everyone that our players only have to turn up to win, comfortably. This puts the players under needless pressure and they go out there with entirely the wrong orientation to play the match. And as soon as we find out that our opponents are half-decent and good in defence and we don't get immediate success the players get frustrated and try too hard. We play badly because we have set ourselves up to play badly. Then the fans and the press rubbish us. It happens every time, and we never seem to learn the lesson. Which is don't over-hype our chances or rubbish the opposition beforehand. It happened in 1986 with Portugal and then Morroco and in 1990 with Ireland, for example.
    The only positive which might now come out of all this is that expectations have been dampened considerably meaning that our players without so much expectation on their shoulders might be able to go out there against Slovenia and actually enjoy playing football. It is important to enjoy the game whether it is chess or football or whatever, if you are to play anything like your best. I agree with your commenter above Sim Brow on this point. Lets go into the game with the positive attitude which says merely let's just try to play our best football and see if it's good enough. (As a league chess player that's all I try to do in each game - play my best chess and hope it's good enough. And I never assume my opponent is poor, whatever his grade may be - rule number one in ANY SPORT : always respect your opponent). If we go out there and play our best football I belive we will get through. For God's sake let's allow our players to enjoy playing the game for once (Sim Brow is quite right on this one).
    Come on England !!

  • Comment number 40.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 41.

    This is the first England game I have watched after my 16-year-old son, Danny, died in an accident 3 months ago (, if you care to learn how to preserve the life of your own 10 to 20 year old child/teenager). He and I watched every England game on TV, here in Canada (I was born in England), side-by-side. I kept thinking, "If Danny misses England winning the World Cup, it will be even more agony or me." Thankfully, this team is being very compassionate on that front. Danny missed nothing yesterday. Though I sure missed him.

  • Comment number 42.

    I am not remotely a footie expert but England still seem incapable of running with the ball. Every move involves cross and back-passing, the laborious setting-up of a tactic, by which time the opposition are more than placed to deal with it. Almost all the other teams in any contention can dribble, move the ball around, and just keep in possession. Every time you pass a ball you lose control of it,so unless your passing is accurate, the other team benefits. I have no idea what's the problem with the lacklustre performance, but keeping the team list under wraps unti the last minute doesn't help, and like France, we have the players but not a team.

  • Comment number 43.

    Can we have a different formation for Wednesdays game please? I would love to see Joe Cole playing up front with Wayne Rooney.Wayne didn`t have anyone to pass to during last nights match thats why he was booed at the end. Perhaps we then can win on Wednesday.

  • Comment number 44.

    Totally embarassing display by England, no idea, no system, slow and ponderous. It's time to take a look at Crouch and Defoe up front and Joe Cole has to be slotted in somewhere (at least he'll try until he drops). We have totally seen enough of Wright-Phillips and he should not be even on the bench. We are not seeing hardly any overlapping runs by Cole or Johnson, which is what they are really good at!

  • Comment number 45.

    Adam Johnson is beginning to look more and more like a crucial oversight!

  • Comment number 46.

    Even if England play amazing in the next game there is a good chance it is all too late. If we end up coming #2 in the group England could be looking at a Germany - Argentina - Brazil/Spain route to the final, I believe we can compete and beat those teams, but not consistently which would be required.

    If it comes down to it and we draw/lose then I cannot think of a word to justify being knocked out of the world cup when the team in #2 could go through with just 3 points...

  • Comment number 47.

    Ahh our golden generation of footballers have turned out to be the biggest waste of time, money and most of all, effort.

    Most of this team are guilty of having not qualified for the euros not because of bad management but because they are just bad players. So how can we expect them to perform at the world cup.

    The FA have given them a "my old man" type manager with Sven and Mclaren and then got em the complete opposite in a disciplinarian which is in my mind is a lot better.

    It's not fabios fault it's the players. Although his decisions have been some what funny.
    Joe cole. Where has he been or is this part of the Capello masterplan to hide our secret weapon.

    If we get out of the group will anybody be complaining if we then go on to lose against germany aet 3-2.

    The most positive England and their fans can be is that The World Cup throws up an awful lot of surprises. As we have already seen. We just got to hope one of the surprises is England turning it around to actually get out of the group.

  • Comment number 48.

    Chickens already being hatched here. Very depressing performance yesterday, but since when was it that an English football team gives up before the final whistle? As already mentioned, just like in 1990 we still have a game to play where a win will guarantee us a place in the last 16. I'm not sure it was much different in 1986 either. Let's wait for the end before the post-mortem.

  • Comment number 49.

    What are the odds of a media apology to Sven if we fail?

    If one of the most respected managers in the world can't get us out of the group it will reinforce my belief of the total averageness of our team and the so called "golden generation" of English football. Man for man compared to frances of the 1998/2000 era we are nothing of the sort.

    Looks like Sven had us over-performing

    Maybe Mclaren sold us short, but not by much on this evidence. Perhaps the media should apologise to him to?

    It's about time we stopped blaming manager after manager when the same group of players fail under all of them.

  • Comment number 50.

    I have noticed that Fabio has suddenly forgotten all the English that he has learnt over the last 2 years. (The interpreters are back)
    Is he prepared to make the dramatic changes required?
    Crouch and Defoe to start up front.ABRAH (Anyone but Rooney and Heskey)
    Either Gerrard or Lampard to start in midfield NOT both!
    Joe Cole to start on the left
    Dawson or Upson to replace Carragher.
    Walcott to change his name by deed poll to Shaun Wright Phillips and replace his new namesake on the bench!
    The rest as you were, only because we have no one else.
    This team would do no worse than the team last night and at least we would have frightening bench including Rooney and Lampard.
    The alternative of more tried and trusted failure is not the answer.

  • Comment number 51.

    have to say the Algerians look fit as, rippling muscles, well fit bodies, compared to the English - stands to reason , most English cant go to the shops without getting in the car .

  • Comment number 52.

    Passing the ball to feet consistently is not something that needs to coached.

    So will people now accept that English players are not as technically good as even some of the supposed minnows. Our coaching system does not encourage players to enjoy having the ball.

    We have been a predictable functional team for ages. Especially the Beckham era, relying on crosses and dead balls. This masked our failings for years now there is no escape.

  • Comment number 53.

    The midfield and attacking players who froze facing Algeria don't deserve to run out against Slovenia. Capello is supposed to be decisive and ruthless for his £5m a year, so lets see some of that in putting out a fresh team with some left/right balance.


    Johnson Dawson Terry Warnock

    Carrick Barry

    Milner Cole J Cole A


  • Comment number 54.

    I honestly believe that one of the main issues the players are having is worrying about the horrific standard of refereeing that has been seen so far at this world cup. Englnd have always been hard tackling but fair ref's at this tournament seem to be clamping down (wrongly in my opinion on any tackle that is considered agressive regardless of wether the player gets the ball or not. Taking that away from the english game deminshes our team. There are still no real excuses for the performance on Friday night however.

  • Comment number 55.

    England can advance and perhaps even get beyond that, but Capello has got to find a way to loosen up the mood in the camp. Everyone is playing tight and scared. You could hear the edge in David James' voice when he was interviewed on BBC about Capello and his team selection process. Capello needs to tell the players who will be on the pitch against Slovenia at least 24 hours in advance, loosen things up a bit, and encourage everyone to go out and play with some emotional abandon. Something is clearly amiss in the camp and the change in that climate has to come from the top.

  • Comment number 56.

    Is there any evidence to support the theory that England are struggling to adjust to the altitude at Rustenburg (about 3,800 ft)?

  • Comment number 57.

    I think Fabio can make a difference, if he stops and thinks about some of the decisions he's made and has yet to make. Why Joe Cole wasn't used is beyond me.

    I'd love England to win the world cup, but they just looked so second rate yesterday. Rushed off the ball into making errors and their shoulders dropping, conceding defeat, when the ball was stolen from their feet. 3 lions? 3 wet fish more like! These people get paid thousands of pounds a week and then one of them has the cheek to have a go at the fans for booing what was the worst performance of the tournament so far!? That's right Rooney, you want us to cheer for you? play to a standard that you get paid for! This is not Sunday league! Simple!

  • Comment number 58.

    I don't know if it's a coincidence, but all 3 Chelsea players on the field last night had shockers.

    Terry was nowhere, and his main contribution was a horrific backpass that Carragher had to cover for. A Cole was equally anonymous. Lampard did exactly the same thing he did in Germany, most attempts on goal with fewest on target, and ruining what little build up England DID manage to cobble together. His injury time move towards the box waste criminally wasteful.

    Gerrard is wasted out on the wing, Rooney is shockingly off form, Barry and Carragher between them WERE the defence for long periods.... one unfit, and the other now suspended... and that's only going to give Slovenia confidence.

    I'd go with the lineup suggested by #31 The Proffessor. Dafoe and Crouch HAVE to start. The defence changes are enforced, and the midfield needs an injection of creativity.

    But what do I know? I'm not being paid £6 million a year for my insight, I'm just a long-suffering fan.

  • Comment number 59.

    I dont understand why Joe Cole has been left out of the team so far. He seems to me one of the few players we have with the guile to unlock defenses, and the confidence and self-assurance to keep possession and run at people with the ball. Steven Gerrard on the left????? Ridiculous, leaves the side completely imbalanced.

    I was never delusional about our chances at the world cup. Never thought we'd win it. But I thought we'd play some attractive flowing football, and have a good old crack at getting as far as possible. Last night, every single England player was paralysed with fear, and played at a fraction of their actual ability, regardless of what some people are saying on this page, we do have some outstanding players. When they're scared, no one wants the ball, and everyone lacks idea's and confidence.

    I think our best formation for Slovenia is
    Johnson Terry Dawson A Cole
    Lampard Barry
    Lennon Gerrard J Cole

    But if they all play with fear again, then it doesn't really matter. I'd just like to see us play our natural game, and then see what happens. Please?? Go on.

  • Comment number 60.

    I am afraid that all the discipline that Capello has imposed has started to come back to haunt the team.
    The England team with its pampered professionals needed to be told where to get off and get rid of the hangers-on and WAGs.
    The trouble being now though is there is so much discipline and the players are told not to do this and not do thatso much, that every last ounce of creativity has been destroyed. Capello's iron rule needs to be relaxed a bit or England are heading home even earlier than usual.
    Rooney and the rest of the team also need to wake up a bit, he should consider all the cheering that the English section of the crowd did, even overcoming the sound of the vuvuzelas. England expects, maybe unjustifiably at times, but that was possibly the worst 90 minutes of football from England I've ever seen (and that's saying something).

    Get your fingers out and make up for that disgrace of a game last night, you owe it to us all.

  • Comment number 61.

    I am seriously disapointed with our World Cup performance so far I mean I wasn't expecting us to set South Africa alight with our football but I was hoping for a few goals at least. I personally think the problem is with Capello for the following reasons:

    1) He is a complete hypocrite. When he took the job he said he would only pick form players and ones who were injury free. Adam Johnson replaced SWP in the Man City set up but SWP gets the call up. Ledley King struggles to play football with his son but he can play a world cup with England?. Upson (and this is coming from a West Ham fan) has a shocking season yet gets called up - same with Carragher, Ferdinand, Heskey, SWP - the list goes on. Where was Zamora's chance in the squad even before his injury he had a stellar season and Darren Bent wasn't given a real chance either.

    2) Complete lack of creativity in the side. Joe Cole is the only player who can create something out of nothing. Spain have Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas, David Silva, Jesus Navas etc. Saying Rooney is intregal is all fine and good but he has no chances to finish.

    3) Poor squad selection. This is sort of tied into number 1. We have no real pacey centre backs, we have no left footed left midfielder, we have no real pace on the wing apart from Lennon. SWP is hopeless he couldn't even beat his man against U.S.A. in particular.

    4) Arrogance and Tactics. Capello seems to have no Plan B ridiciously sticking by Heskey against Algeria when we barely created a decent chance against the USA (apart from the goal) using those tactics. He also seems to fail to acknowlegde the fact that target man football like Beckenbauer said is the dark age of football.

    5) Inexperience. Sure Capello has god knows how many league titles in Spain and Italy but he had little or no knowledge of English football before he took the national job. This is suprising enough but the fact that he had no previous international experience or grasp of the English language is even worse. How is he supposed to communicate to the players if he is unable to understand questions from the press?

    I didn't back the Capello appointment in the first place I didn't profess to know who was better and i certainly thought Capello was the answer after qualifying but it is clear he isn't if we don't beat Slovenia. If we do crash out i would like to see Roy Hodgson (if he doesn't get the l'pool job) as he has previous international experience and is fairly respected by players. Not to mention the fact he rejuvenated Fulham without many signings just due to his tactical and man management skills.

  • Comment number 62.

    I do hope Capello can change his methods. They seemed to work in the group stage brilliantly, and i can understand why he would want to stick with them given the destruction of Croatia. However Rooney has just had an incredible season for Man U playing up front by himself, on top of which he has a fantastic understanding with Gerrard. Couple that with how Gerrard wants to play just off Rooney, the fact that Heskey can't score and miserably fails to control the ball a lot of the time, and the fact that if you play 4-1-3-1-1, you put Joe Cole on the left and watch the magic.

    My team therefore would be (From left to right)

    COLE, A
    COLE, J

  • Comment number 63.

    I remember the flack both Mr Bond and der Kaiser recieved for daring to criticize England. I think England is an average European team on par with other average European teams like Serbia, Portugal, Switzerland, Denmark Sweden Etc. Having said that average European teams like Croatia, Belgium,and Turkey have managed to reach the simi finals in the past so get out of the group and anything is possible. It usually takes a very good team to win the world cup. Since 66 Brazil have reached the final four times winning three times,Italy have reached the final four times winning three times, Agentina reached the final three times winning twice, Germany reached the final four times winning twice, France reached two finals winning once and Holland were runners up twice.It is perhaps inevitable the the eventual winners 2010 will emerge from this group of six with perhaps Spain as dark horses. Comparisons have been made with the sixty six team that also drew their first match and went on to win the tournment. The 66 tournment had only 16 teams competing, England were playing at home but most importantly they had the best keeper in the world by a country mile , Banks. Two colossus in Bobby Moore and Jack Charlton in central defence. A genius called Bobby Charlton in midfield. Two warriors called Alan Ball and Nobby Stiles, Two great strikers called Hurst and Peters and the rest were not bad either.

  • Comment number 64.

    England need to play to their strength, which is 100 miles per hour. That's the only way they are educated to and comfortable with.

    They are the best in the world at playing 60-70 matches per year in any conditions. But that doesn't make world cup winners.
    You need to deliver in 7 matches in a month to do that.

    Judging by the two matches so far, England simply do not belong to the best 16 teams in the world.
    But they have one more chance. To succeed, they need tempo and spirit.

  • Comment number 65.

    You cannot play Lampard and Gerrard in the same team.They are too similar.Let one play the 1st.half and one the 2nd.and give them a free role.

  • Comment number 66.

    I'm trying as best I can to remain positive, so here we go. Despite Algeria being the more creative and betterb in possession our defence had them in their pocket. Never did I feel we would concede.
    And for maybe 7 minutes of the last 15 in the first half we actually put some passes and movement together nicely to actually look like a team, all when Gerrard came in and linked with Rooney.
    While I'm trying to be positive I find it odd how many people said Ashley Cole was out best player. He's an attacking fullback and our only naturally left sided player, so I would expect him to actually attack; not be anonymous.

    The solution?
    Very, very, very, very simple. Frank Lampard should never be allowed within 3 miles of an England shirt ever again. The only thing he adds to England as a team is, well.... absolutely nothing. Making Gerrard a less effective player isn't adding, it's taking away. Darren Bent was rightly left behind because he is only successful in a system built to his strengths. When he has to fit into a team he's fairly awful (see Spurs career). Lampard is exactly the same. Remember the start of this last Premier League season when Ancellotti changed Chelsea's system? Remember how effective Lampard was? No? That's because he wasn't. He can play one way in one system and shine, otherwise he's just seriously average, at best. He's also possibly the least passionateb footballer ever. Send him home, Capello.

    I'm assuming there's some fitness problem with Joe Cole, otherwise his omission is completely illogical. If he's fit he has ton replace Lampard on Wednesday.

    And finally, Lennon and Wright-Phillips have highlighted exactly why the decision to leave Walcott was just plain wrong. Yes, Lennon started last season on fire, but after injury he did nothing for Spurs. And Wright-Phillips can't even get in City's team. Walcott's final ball may be erratic, but he'd have spent 2 games skinning the fullback and causing havoc instead of cutting inside and laying it off to England's worst midfielder since Carlton Palmer.

    Actually, sorry Carlton, that's a bit harsh. You were much better than Lampard.

  • Comment number 67.

    As usual, the British go to the WC believing they are the best while they´ve only got the most overvalued team in the world. How many international-class players do you have?? one, two, none?? where are the Terrys and Lampards and Coles and Rooneys that are supechampions on the Premier League? Now we can see how big they are. Did any of the mentioned guys (and the rest of team) ever achieved anything on serious international arenas?? Do you think beating Faroe Islands and Israel and LIechtenstein makes you WC favorites?? Sorry, but you can´t ask the palm tree for bananas, they will never deliver.

  • Comment number 68.

    1. Allan Hansen, a Scot for goodness sake, is the first pundit I’ve heard focussing on Gerrard’s natural tendency to want to command the midfield. The long running debate on the merits of Gerrard and Lampard, who is also a natural in the same role, playing at the same time seems to have been forgotten. Yesterday it looked as though they cancelled each other’s role out, creating exactly the kind of midfield confusion that was once a hot topic. Play one or the other. As Allan said, use the best players in their best positions.
    2. Drop Rooney for the next match. We have plenty of diverse talent up front, and if we do get through he’ll be so frustrated as an onlooker that his adrenaline levels will drown whatever it is that’s inhibiting him when gets back on the pitch
    3. English is a complex, powerful and subtle language. Great leaders lead with their words at least as much as they do with their actions. How can anyone lead men into battle when they have a poor command of their army’s language. Let’s have an native English speaker – even Allan could do a better job of communicating.

  • Comment number 69.


  • Comment number 70.

    I've seen far better performances in League 1. Forget 'Calamity James', it's Calamity England. You don't witness a performance that technically wretched and dispirited, without something awry behind the scenes. Capello's stubbornness could be England's downfall - and it's pathetic that the players are informed just minutes before embarking for the game on their coach. If England lose Wednesday, the manager, and the players who played, should give SERIOUS thought to donating their earnings for the period of WC2010 to local SA charities.

  • Comment number 71.

    The thing Capello need to do first of all is to have the guts to drop some of the "big-name" players! First and foremost Frank Lampard! he has been utterly rubbish for 180 mins now, yes he is awesome for Chelsea but just can not do it for England! FACT!
    James; Johnson-Dawson-Terry-Cole; Lennon-Barry-Gerrard-J.Cole; Crouch-Rooney. If this dont work come half time, bring on Defoe!
    Or play 4-3-3 with Barry-Gerrard-Milner; Lennon-Rooney-J.Cole

  • Comment number 72.

    One of the things that I've noticed after the USA was that the England team became more nervous and less confident. I watched the press conferences and Capello and Gerald were obviously having difficulty dealing with the pressure. That was because of the hoo-haa after the USA match which in reality was not that bad for England - they did not play that badly. The pressure of the World Cup obviously grew during the week, hence the terrible performance last night. There probably needs to be a massive change in our attitudes toward our football team.

    1. As far as history goes we are not as good as Italy, Germany, Brazil and Argentina. We have a consistantly good but not excellent history.

    2. Since 66' we have mostly been in the same league as Croatia, Russia, USA, Mexico, third placed south america teams etc.. not the top tier.

    3. We need to put our expectations in level with that. England can ever get to the World Cup Final with that sort of pressure.

    4. Lets stop sacking one manager after another and let one make a mistake on the England job, learn from it and come back stronger.

    "overall all changes to be made"

    A. Start from a young age to change football culture in this country - get in the Italian, Argentinian and Brazilian coaches at a young level.

    B. Everyone to send their kids to football coaching. The more kids playing football the better.

    C. Keep your kids fit - yes if everyone does the nation will fitter and more likely to produce great football players.

    D. More footballing tours to the continent for kids - pick up early ideas.

    Also we have shorten the premiership season - maybe lets cut out the League Cup for premeiership cups or bring in the Premiership clubs into the FA Cup a round later.

  • Comment number 73.

    It's nout to do with formation or team selection. If players lack the basic ability to trap a ball and make an accurate pass it doesn't matter what formation you line up in. Something is badly wrong for the whole team to have a collective mare.

  • Comment number 74.

    #38 Manchester Met

    Sorry (we're so polite), but my recollection of 1990 does not tally with yours. The game against Eire was generally considered poor; the Holland game was an improvement, but people were still calling for 'the Bull' (as in Steve of then 3rd division Wolves fame) and we scraped past Egypt 1-0 with a goal from defender Mark Wright and the last minutes of that were real nail-chewers. In 90 normal minutes and 29 minutes of extra time, we were pretty poor against Belgium - saved from penalties by the last minute free kick - then contrived to go two down to Cameroon - a spirited, but fundamentally limited team - in the quarters.
    The reputation of the 1990 team was based on the semi-final - which we lost. Apart from that, England were really, really lucky - both in gameplay and in the way the draw opened upn for us.
    I think we were better in 1986 when - in the game against Argentina (the best team in the tournament) - we were horribly UNLUCKY.
    I see no reason why this lot would do worse that the 1990 boys if they are favoured with the same good fortune.

  • Comment number 75.

    Will we beat Slovenia? Yes. Wll we win the world cup? No. Even if we get to the semi finals the whole world must be laughing at how our rich talent arguably produced the worst performance of the world cup of any team(including france.) It's clear we need to rebuild after this 'golden generation' Terry, Carragher, Becks, J.Cole, Lampard, Gerrard and Hesky etc. should never be picked again - we should allow the next generation to have a crack - at least they will play with pride not fear, common we all expect our sporting stars to fail at some point but to be scared even before you have failed is not the English spirit.

  • Comment number 76.

    Play 4-3-3. I don't give a donkey's if they haven't played that for sometime. They can't do any worse and will have no choice but to attack with a 4-3-3.


    Warnock Dawson Terry A.Cole

    Gerrard Barry J.Cole

    Defoe Rooney Crouch

    @ 18. Kentspur

    You may have something there. There was Shilton, Barnes to go with the 3 you have noted. Rooney was in the mould of Messi 5 years back I think. Now he is just a good player. Why? Numerous reasons I guess. I do not rate Gerrard & Lampard. They are both good at running a short distance with the ball and letting rip a shot, when there is no one to challenge.

  • Comment number 77.

    mcguirk12 wrote:
    Capello is not cut out for this level, that is now more evident than before, and its unfortunate we realise that now.
    Sat next to him on the bench is a man full of passion heart and grit, what England need right now, and that is Stuart Pearce.

    Next in, oh your crap, next in, oh your crap.

    When will it end? Better to give a coach sometime to build.

  • Comment number 78.

    Capello is to blame for putting out such dysfunctional team. Walcott didn't get into the team as he wasn't following instructions. The team were clearly following instructions and looked stilted; and afraid to express themselves. The strategy picked was not right. Gerard plays best in the centre as does lampard / save their energies and don't play them together.

    Capello is getting paid how much exactly ?

    It is typical of the FA to confirm contract extensions on managers on the back of one reasonable qualifying campaign without any final tournament proof to back it up.

    Let's see if Capello persists with a system that doesn't work or like Bobby Robson, have the courage and humility to change the team / strategy.

    My bet is that he doesn't and is rewarded with £5 million for failure.

  • Comment number 79.

    The significant problem is that the premium league couldn't produce English players during the last 4 years. Whereas the Spanish one -for example- has supported Spanish team as well as Argentine with a lot of world class players. also the level of the quality in the league has been less than what it should be.

  • Comment number 80.

    Forgive me but have we all forgotten where England where in football terms when Capello took over? Mr. Bond I am sure you delighted in rubbing salt in to his predecessors wounds too. The expensive FA Capello project has already taken England forward.

    On the subject of Capello's press conference performance he had hardly had time to reflect before you vultures are demanding your pound of flesh. I guess also if he knew what the problems were and how to change things he would hardly tell the Worlds press!

    England have been poor no doubt about it. However may be we have all forgotten that we have not lost a match, we have looked defensively solid (even though we have no goalkeeping options, full backs that are unable to defend and a centre back that is too slow for any form of professional football, according to the BBC) and we are still able to qualify for the next stage.

    Have the football giants of Spain, Germany and France remained unbeaten in this World Cup?

    What England need from supporters, countrymen and even the critical media is encouragement as all is not lost. All could be lost though if people like Mr. Bond (What are your football management qualifications Bondsy, any FIFA coaching badges? Related to Billy Bonds?) continue with their rather annoying habit of criticising at every opportunity.

    Funny you are not criticising the player in your article only the manager. May be you could be inline for the £5 million if you do get your FIFA badges. Good luck Bondsy.

  • Comment number 81.

    THe players look burnt out, all these rants about the players not caring are way off the mark - the oppossite is true, Rooney has obviously got a decent first touch, but he is so edgy he's lost his composure. Half of them can't even kick the ball sweetly coz they are so tense. It's a vicious circle with the criticsm rising. Maybe being away with Capallo and his background team for a few weeks isn't ideal if he is disciplarian. A big roll for the manager is to relax the players, maybe a Venables or Redknapp would be better in this respect. Bring back the dentist chair and get Shilts to do some of his race nights and we could be world beaters.

  • Comment number 82.

    #36. "Yes, it was dire last night, simply not working hard enough or perhaps some ill effects of vaccines etc, I wonder how many players have taken medication? Anti malaria tablets almost put me on my back for a week!"

    Pretty much all of the players would have had the vaccines needed in South Africa years ago (Hep A, Typhoid etc) if they've been to Asia for their clubs. There wouldn't be any side effects that would effect their football and anyway if they were having it for the first time they would have had them months ago.

    In regards to antimalarials, for South Africa you only need them for the Kruger Park. It was likely that the ones you had were the cheap ones. Pay for the expensive ones if you can. THe cheap ones are a false economy.

  • Comment number 83.

    Whatever happens now I just wish after the World Cup we can take a good, hard, long look at the England set up and start giving younger players a chance. We should get rid of the majority of this squad who are living on past reputations. I would stick with Capello and change the players.

    The big problem is the FA and the Premier League. Full of old men who are only interested in money.

  • Comment number 84.

    The real problem is the FA. Capello was an idiotic choice as England manager. They signed a man who lacked the basic qualification for the job - the ability to communicate with the players. He had never managed in England and did not speak the language. He had a record of going to top clubs and keeping them at the top whereas England needed a manager capable of transforming a poor side into a top side - a Redknapp or a Hodgson or a Wilkinson (or of course a Mourinho!) You can't blame Capello for taking the job but he is clearly not up to it. It is unbelievable that the FA have removed the two year break clause from his contract. The only chance England have is player power or if the FA were prepared to bring in a new manager - even Beckham as caretaker would be better than this. Rooney has to be dropped on current form and Gerrard should not be guaranteed a place. We should find a formation that brings the best out of Lampard and play Joe Cole and Crouch who have never let England down. This team could do well.

    Johnson Upson Terry A.Cole
    Lennon Lampard
    J. Cole
    Crouch Defoe

  • Comment number 85.

    Part of what makes a champion is the abiltiy to keep cool and not crack under presure. How are these players suppose to cope with a penalty shoot out in a final if they can't handle it enough to string a couple of passes together aggainst Algeria. Players/fans have no right to call themslves world class if that is their excuse.

    Dont think its the manager either been like this for years, they were just as bad aggainst the mighty trinidad.

    Agree with Trimmtrab comments; Brooking, Waddle and Wenger have been saying the same for years.

    IMO we need to accept English football is just not that good on a competitive world level, its entertainment first and foremost. Only then can something can be done aout it at the grass roots level.

    It's not all over if Capello can pull the team together back together get them playing as a unit we get a bit of luck then we've got as much chance as anyone else.

  • Comment number 86.

  • Comment number 87.

    England couldn't do anything wrong with the fans when they were playing the qualifications and TERRY was the captain suddenly Gerrard is the Captain and instantly England are falling behind the pace, so I think either
    1. The Sun is to blame for publishing the JT story or...
    2. JT for getting caught.

  • Comment number 88.

    just looks like the players are sulking about something?

  • Comment number 89.

    firstly capello isnt playing our best player. joe cole always sets england alight and why he is on the bench just defies belief.

    4-4-2 is too rigid against teams who are more than happy with a 0-0 draw. we need gerrard in an advanced midfield position behind rooney. possibly look to play three at the back

    never mind giving the players the day off get some ball work done. they clearly havent got to grips with this ball yet at all. they need to get the ball down and practise pass and move over and over again.

    the media need to try and take some of the pressure off the players before wednesday, this is clearly affecting them. they look petrified.

    The England camp needs livening up a bit as well. i mean even before a ball was kicked all the interviews were downbeat. (its certainly not euro 96 with the dentist chair is it?) maybe a new manager someone like harry redknapp is needed after this tournament. a manager who can inspire the players and inject some life into them. capello is very professional but he doesnt have that personal touch that makes up 75% of being a manager in any job. let alone the england football team.

  • Comment number 90.

    If hugely experienced, professional footballers forget how to control a football, how to find space and decide to put in minimal effort when they cross the line that's their responsibility. The manager can't be blamed entirely for that. England couldn't do the simple things last night.

    What is Capello's responsibility is the team he selects. The team he picked last night was devoid of creativity and ideas and I'd like to see him drop a big name in the next match. Gerrard is tactically unaware and was playing his own game rather then one that best suited the team (try and actually play on the left a bit Stevie if that's where you're meant to be), Lampard may well have not played as he was anonymous and Rooney played like a schoolboy. When the best player in the team against Algeria is the keeper then it shows something is'nt right.

    The defence is fine, and will still be whether Upson or Dawson step in. Having Barry back provided a good shield for the defence and at least hs technical quality alows England to link the midfield and defence. Joe Cole should come in for Heskey and play on the left. It's not Heskey's fault, but the team can't resist hoofing the ball at him when he's on. If there are more technical players on the pitch and better movement (with Gerrard off of Rooney) then they might keep it on the deck. The other alternative is to drop Lampard, play Gerrard in the centre and have Defoe and Rooney up top.

    Something has got to change.

  • Comment number 91.

    I really feel for Capello, these players really are taking the Micheal. We have pundits moan about Capello's policy of naming a squad 2 hrs before the game. He did this through out the qualifiers, and everything was fine and dandy. The team obviously weren't doing what the manager was wanting, everybody could hear Capello on their TV during the match he was incredibly vexed!! Importantly everyone needs to remember that if England win the next game theyr through to the next round. Its not over at all, now aint the time to boo our players, we need to get behind them. The Italian press were satisfied with the draw and saw it as something to build on, we English all had that pic of Rob Green and talked bwt the match against the US as if it was a disaster. We blast our players in the press and as a result we've been singing about 1966 for the past 44 years. Twas black and white telly, it sounds incredibly clichéd now! The Italian press tries to be positive and they have won the world cup 4 times, one less than Brazil, nuff said really......

    The England team clearly are not playing like winners, they dont look like theyr enjoying the world cup. Tis like Southgate said, Capello has to slap them out of this, charge them up to play like they did against Croatia @ Wembley, make them enjoy their game not act as if its an office job. Its all well and good blaming the manager but Capello is an extremely successful manager. Everyone knows hes a high class strategist, if he cant make England into a dominant force in competitions then i dont think anybody can to be quite frank!!

  • Comment number 92.

    It's dead easy to pop at the journalists and, no, I don't suppose Mr Bond has his coaching badges, but that doesn't mean he can't comment. If he was critical of previous coaches, so what? That's his job, isn't it?
    All the players looked poor and not all of the players are inherently poor (though I can't really speak for Emile....) so you do have to look at the manager. he's paid a lot. He can expect public scrutiny.

  • Comment number 93.

    Its not Capello - the usual English mentality to start suggesting somethings fundamentally wrong in the camp, he's applying too much pressure blah blah - blaming others, looking for a witch hunt!

    Simply the players did not perform! and thats it!
    - Lennon looks like a boy out of depth (he has two chances to start now, not experienced enough 'off bench impact' seems appropriate)
    - SWP couldnt even get in the Chelsea/Man City team and whilst played ok for 5mins is simply not going to win us the game - if we get another 5 good mins that will lucky two matches running and also why bother with Joe Cole in wings!
    Capello stuck to what he believed as he mentioned from training to pitch something happens- now for change!
    - appreciate Heskey's endeavour and hard work.. but lets face it, not working

    I agree with previous entry
    Joe Cole (for lennon)- experience and structure and he plays with cashley! left sorted

    4-1-3-2 (Crouch for Heskey) .... and go for it!

  • Comment number 94.

    We look in disarray.
    I pray Slovenia beat us, so that it can give us a kick up the backside in the future.
    Getting past the group would be the worst thing that's ever happened to us.

  • Comment number 95.

    It's just not Capello but the FA who need a good look at themselves.

    As stated Capello has only known Italian and Spanish football before his apointment.

    At most of the clubs he has managed, money has been no object - he has had his choice of players.

    Now he finds himself in the the most brutal of footballing competitions, and has to the best with what he has, and nothing that he has done before in football has prepared him for what lies ahead.

    Throughout the qualifying campaign England tended to grind out results without looking world beaters.

    He is used to being "The Boss" his word is law. I think the England players know he would not entertain any request for a full and frank discussion on playing systems,personnel,and their views on the way ahead.

    You get the feeling that the player respect him through fear, rather than respecting him as a man - Do the team want to play for the manager?
    Does Capello have the same relationship with his players as Robson's 1990 squad.

    When the FA appointed Capello they felt that the side need strong leadership and a manager with a bulletproof CV.

    The FA might like to look at the managers of the sides that reach the semi final stage and compare their managers CV to Capello's.

    They may then realise that successful International management is not all about honours won at club level.

    It is about man management, flexability, and being able to bond with the team, during a tournament.

    In the world of International management, club success means nothing.

  • Comment number 96.

    In 1990, England actually drew 0-0 (not 1-1) with Holland before beating Egypt in the final game so fact the situation is exacly the same. However, they pressed the then European Champions and played pretty well (though not against the Irish in the first game)

    The fact of the matter is that we have been desperately poor in both games thus far and I'm not sure where the improvement would come from.

    But let's say no Frank Lampard. Though the Gerrard Lampard debate bores me to death, let's not pretend that they absolutely have to be on the pitch on Wednesday. It hasn't made a difference so far so why not change it?

    My team for the next game would be as follows

    Johnson Upson Terry Cole
    Lennon J.Cole
    Rooney Defoe

  • Comment number 97.

    I agree on dropping heskey for my team I would of played Gerrard behind Rooney like he does for Liverpool then put Joe cole on the left.

  • Comment number 98.

    Everybody here is agreeing that English players lack basic skills.Then I ask why technically gifted Adam Johnson was not selected.Technical skill gives you confidence even if you lack experience.
    Capello must have known that English players are not up to standard when he took the job.So why did he take the job in the first place? Why did he declare England can go all the way? Was it for the millions he is earning? Are the F.A. so naive?

  • Comment number 99.

    The players are so scared, and so afraid it is crazy. They are tight and afraid to try things, afraid to shoot when in good position

    I am not sure if a change of formation will suddenly take away this fear, but Capello must try and shake things up a bit, get Joe Cole, Crouch and Defoe involved more. We have nothing to lose, there is no point in keep banging your head against the wall, no matter how many times you do it, it still hurts, so why keep doing it?

    Rooney hardly gets the ball, so when he does he feels pressure to do something because he may not get another touch for 5 or 6 minutes. HE NEEDS TO BE HIGHER UP THE PITCH and Gerrard needs to be closer to him. Why is Capello so stubborn?

    Everyone and their mothers have been saying this on this blog and every other blog for weeks now







    Or, drop Lampard, slide Gerrard further back and play Defoe

    I suspect, at this point, confidence is so low, and fear is so high that it may not matter what shape or formation we play, i hope i am wrong

    Either way, HE HAS TO CHANGE IT

  • Comment number 100.












    DEFOE (or crouch) - ROONEY


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