Will FA back or sack Capello?
World Cup 2010: Rustenburg
By asking the Football Association to back him or sack him, England coach Fabio Capello cleverly forced his employers into a corner.
In the aftermath of Sunday's dreadful defeat by Germany, Capello insisted he would not resign but said he wanted talks with the Club England chairman Sir David Richards.
"I want to know he has confidence in me," said the Italian.
If, following those talks, the FA offers anything other than unequivocal support for Capello at Monday's news conference in Rustenburg, the writing will be on the wall for the former Juventus, AC Milan and Real Madrid coach. Even putting off the issue until the team returns to London on Tuesday will place his future in doubt.
At this stage, it is difficult to call but the vibes coming from FA sources on Monday is that they will back him to help rebuild the England team.
If that is the case, the main reason is financial. Having removed the break clause from his £5m-a-year contract on the day the team flew to South Africa, sacking Capello and his vast backroom team, including trusted assistant Franco Baldini, would cost £12m.
The break clause was in there to deal with exactly the scenario England now find themselves in - and former chairman Lord Triesman and Sir David will face severe criticism for removing the financial safety valve.
In fairness, Capello can only shoulder so much of the blame for England's poor World Cup campaign. The players deserve the strongest criticism but the Italian's inflexibility over tactics and his strict regime undoubtedly played a part. Just saying what worked in qualifying should have worked here will not wash. He should have adapted.
And if the FA sacks Capello, who is there to take over? There is no obvious alternative. And if Capello cannot perform alchemy with the so-called golden generation, who can?
The England team needs to be completely rebuilt before the 2014 World Cup and, ironically, the FA might need to say to Capello that, if he is to stay until the end of his contract after Euro 2012, then he is the man to carry on and deliver that overhaul.
Changing manager two years before a World Cup no longer looks sensible, given England's backwards step in South Africa. Bizarre as it might seem, Capello could end up being rewarded for failure.
The bigger question is perhaps whether he would want to stay. Yes, he is extremely well paid but the next generation of England players are not as talented as this one. He cannot be expected to perform miracles.
And, ultimately, he cannot be held responsible for the structure of English football, which puts commercial success ahead of the national team. Until the FA and the Premier League get together and work out a plan that puts the England team at the pinnacle of everything, there will be little real progress.
As I pointed out in my blog last Friday, this is the fundamental difference between the English and German football models - and how it showed.
There is, however, one man who can and should help bring change. Sir David is both Capello's boss and chairman of the Premier League. If anyone can try to coax the self-interested clubs into doing more to help England, he should be able to.
Failure to use Sunday's defeat as a springboard for a root and branch review of the game will not only raise questions about whether Sir David is conflicted by holding two such important positions but will lead to pressure on him and not Capello to stand down.
UPDATE 1351 BST:
Fabio Capello tells a news conference in Rustenburg that he wants to remain as England manager but has been told by Club England chairman Sir David Richards that he must wait two weeks to discover his fate.
UPDATE 1415 BST:
So the Football Association has asked Fabio Capello for a two-week cooling off period to reflect on the future. Hardly the vote of confidence the Italian was seeking, although he claimed he was happy with the situation.
Interestingly, two weeks was exactly the period of time in the break clause, which the FA removed on the day the England team flew to South Africa.