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Vindication for Capello with his reputation at stake

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David Bond | 21:14 UK time, Wednesday, 23 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Port Elizabeth

You only needed to watch Fabio Capello's post-match interview on the BBC to realise just how much England's 1-0 victory over Slovenia meant to the Italian coach.

His impassioned performance in front of the cameras matched his players' increased intensity on the Port Elizabeth pitch. Make no mistake about it, the stakes were very high not just for Capello but for the whole of English football.

jermaindefoe595.jpgThe selection of Jermain Defoe was justified when the Tottenham man scored

Had England lost and gone out, it would have sparked an inquest far beyond anything we have seen after recent World Cups. Foreign players, managers, academies, home-grown player quotas - all would have come under the spotlight.

For Capello, his whole reputation was at stake. But, as we all know, success and failure in football can be determined by the finest of margins and this narrow victory will leave the England coach feeling vindicated.

Vindicated that his two key changes - Jermain Defoe in for Emile Heskey, and James Milner for Aaron Lennon - rewarded him by producing the crucial goal. And vindicated for facing down John Terry's mini revolt three days before such a crucial game.

And he will no doubt even be having a wry smile about his decision to relax the players with a beer on Tuesday night, ahead of the match. So much for authoritarian, no-compromise Capello.

Ultimately, whether the players were playing for their own pride or for their manager, this was a much more fluent and impressive display and the one-goal margin flattered Slovenia.

Even Wayne Rooney looked almost like his old self - hitting the post and linking well with Steven Gerrard. The only worry will be an ankle injury for Rooney, but Capello played down concerns in his post-match press conference.

Many of the problems in the England camp have not gone away and the fact England were hanging on at the end means they are still some way behind the teams setting the pace at this tournament - Argentina, Brazil, Spain and Portugal. Relief at beating the World Cup's smallest nation tells its own story.

But how quickly World Cup campaigns can turn. Remember how the Italians were lucky to scrape past Australia in the second round and went on to win in 2006. Capello will hope Wednesday's win provides the spark England so desperately needed here in South Africa.


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  • Comment number 1.

    What day is it? And in what month? This clock never seems so alive.

    Good performance from England.

    They will beat Germany, who are not as good as Clive Tyldesley thinks.

  • Comment number 2.

    This was a poor display by a mediocre team, England had one of the easiest draws in the world cup, to celibrate a 1-0 victory over Slovenia as something special is wide of the mark for the standard that is required and expected, absolute rubbish. Ian

  • Comment number 3.

    Oh I do love how Capello has gone from the manager with no control or respect from his players, and who's too stubborn for his own good to a tactical genius.

  • Comment number 4.

    This is the thing that I dont understand - this quote:
    "Had England lost and gone out, it would have sparked an inquest far beyond anything we have seen after recent World Cups. Foreign players, managers, academies, home-grown player quotas - all would have come under the spotlight."
    Surely these are under the spotlight regardless of performance in the WC? We all know England should be producing better young players, have fewer mediocre foreign players, and fewer average foreign managers - we know this NOW - so why would an early exit stop an inquest? It would be papering over cracks (ie Italy 06)

    It was a FAR better performance tonight, this is what weve been expecting in this competition, intensity, passion and ultimatly good enough to beat a handy Slovenia team.

    The Germany game is too close to call - weve beaten them already once this season and on paper we are the stronger side. Ghana had plenty of chances before Germany scored.

  • Comment number 5.

    Capello is the media's darling again then.

    Clive Tyldesley's hyperbole about the Germany team was so irritating. As Greece showed, if you can shut down a key player (Argentina's Messi or Germany's Ozil) then you put a lot of pressure on the rest of the team to step up.

    Brazil will put Portugal in their place and I think Spain will struggle to make it past the quarters where I fancy Italy or Paraguay to trouble them.

  • Comment number 6.

    I'm sorry, but towards the end of the game Milner was struggling with fatigue - most notably when Joe Cole played a killer pass he just ignored. He clearly can't do 90 minutes.
    And in the second half, Defoe was completely anonymous.

    Also, I don't know if you've noticed this, but England's route to the final now takes us past Germany, Argentina (most likely), Spain (most likely) and if we get there we'll probably be facing Brazil.

    If we perform like we did in the group stages, we will be slaughtered. I will be pleasantly surprised if we survive the next round myself.

  • Comment number 7.

    England played well and would have won by more if Lampard and Rooney had been a little more clear-headed about their chances. Fair play Matthew Upson - not a player I have ever rated - for cementing his place in the team and Ashley Cole played the kind of football that made you forget all about how he comes over away from the pitch.
    Shame about those missed chances, though. Instead of Ghana, then Uruguay, it's Germany then Argentina, then, I dunno, Spain? Italy? Netherlands?
    Let's make it easy, shall we?

  • Comment number 8.

    Gavelaa - I agree with you, I was baffled by Clive Tyldesley's and Chris Coleman's lovefest for Germany. Lahm (like Kewell in an earlier game) should have seen red & Ghana had a penalty. Germany looked decidedly shaky at times, and Maertersacker is about as much an international class centre half as I am. Ghana gave Ozil too much freedom, and they're finishing was poor, hence the defeat.

    England can beat Germany, possibly should beat Germany. Problem is we shouldn't be in this section of the draw - and for that I do blame Capello. How bad does a player's form have to be all season (Heskey) for him to still get picked for England?!

    All this 'they have to be fit and on form to play for England' nonsense he spouted in 2008? A joke. £6m a year to guide us to a 1-0 win over Slovenia, so we can now all laud his tactical genius? He's laughing all the way to the bank...

  • Comment number 9.

    Barry far too casual in possession - gave the ball away half a dozen times.

  • Comment number 10.

    I'd argue that this England team has, to date, given very little to the tournament and for the sake of the joy of football and self-expression the sooner they're on the next plane home the better. Seeing, Joe Cole stuck with the ball to the corner flag in the last 5 minutes against Slovenia?? It's almost the antithesis to the Dutch philosophy. Obviously i'm in the minority but there you go!

  • Comment number 11.

    Why after years and years of commenting on BBC blogs AND a line above that says all posts are reactively moderated does my comment disappear under a line saying 'this comment is awaiting moderation' ???!

  • Comment number 12.

    Oh please,
    England get overexcited from a win against Slovenia?!
    Prior to England's first match 'The Sun' used a clever anagram to describe their group.
    But England only manage to just make the last 16?
    Germany will walk right over them.

  • Comment number 13.

    Really tired of reading the endless negative comments from the Scots and a few Welsh... if your team doesn't qualify for anything why not pick another team to support rather than defining yourself by who you 'hate'?

    I thought this was a good performance, especially considering the pressure the players were under and the poor pitch (looked like Wembley!). Sure, the finishing could have been better, and England didn't win the group, but getting to the next round was the most important thing and there will be a few other 'big' teams following France out of the tournament. These days even the supposedly weaker teams are well drilled, as illustrated by how long it took the geniuses of Argentina to break down Greece.

    And yes, I found it entertaining to watch, although the likes of "AScottishGooner" will doubtless disagree. Well done England.

  • Comment number 14.

    Substituting Defoe for Heskey. Footballing genius. And Milner for Lennon. Who'd have thought it?
    Next thing you know he'll make the masterstroke of playing Joe Cole. Well, just a little bit just so's you don't get the idea he's taking any notice of what other people are saying.

  • Comment number 15.

    First off, fair play to England for getting through their group-at the end of the day I suppose that is all that matters in terms of the first hurdle.

    However, the team for some reason have really struggled to get a hold of and keep the ball in a manner which truly would strike fear into the opposing team-even today Slovenia had a good couple of chances to score, and I think a 'better' side-one such as the Netherlands, Spain, or Germany would have taken, although I do have to say that I thought the Australians made the Germans look good in their first game in their group.

    Therefore, unless there is a massive improvement in the next game, I can see England going down their usual road-that of flattering to decieve.

  • Comment number 16.

    a much better performance - better balance & shows significant promise going into the last 16 - Mr. Bond, keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 17.

    how funny that no one mentions the referee now?! wasn't it meant to be all *bad* for England? hahahaha....if it isn't the ball, the humidity, the referee....
    well played England, we knew you could do it! best of luck for the next one!

  • Comment number 18.

    This article is complete rubbish.

    England once again did the bare minimum to get through. England needed more goals in this game to top the group and get a better draw.

    It is simmply not good enough for players of the calibre that England possess to just do the minimum requirement.

    I am absolutely livid that the England team have allowed the USA to finish above them in the table, this is simply not good enough.

    This group of players need to drastically change their attitude if they are ever going to win a trophy.

    Time is running out for the 'Golden generation' (soon to be renamed 'disappointment generation').

  • Comment number 19.

    Good first half performance and should have been at least 2 up at
    half time.
    Second half they faded and faded until they were clinging on in
    desperation against a very very poor Slovenia team.
    Gareth Barry was woeful throughout and gave away possession everytime
    he was anywhere near the ball and is way out of his class.
    Rooney getting better but still nowhere near top form.
    He will have to hit form soon for England to stand any chance going
    further in the tournament.
    Watched match on Irish TV and the pundits in Ireland were not impressed
    and were baffled by the Capello interview given post match with Gabby
    Yorath who was on toe curling form " so the shackles were off? ".
    The reality is that England have scraped through in the easiest group
    and face a young German side who started the tournament so well but now
    look a little lost for ideas and immature.
    Will be a very tense affair as always and it really does have 1-1 then
    extra time penalties and then well it can't happen again can it?

  • Comment number 20.

    Tournament football is all about momentum. I am not saying England will win the cup but on a scale of 1-10 we went from 1 to 4 today. If we beat Germany then we go to 7 in my opinion. Don't tell me Argentina will be better than 7 by beating Mexico (I think this will go to penalties..) so it's wide open.

  • Comment number 21.

    We played better than in the other matches, but we've played much better.
    We missed too many chances and nearly came unstuck. In the other games obvious player under-performing, because being played out of position.
    The main thing is we qualified, I guess.
    I'm not concerned that we are up against Germany, the old enemy.
    Ghana were just as good, but failed to put their chances away.

  • Comment number 22.

    Defoe offered very little to the England team, other than his goalscoring instincts. I'm not convinced he's the player we need next to Rooney. But then there are plenty of reasons for Rooney not to be on the pitch, although his performance today was much improved.

    The main benefit of playing Defoe today, alongside the equally miniature Rooney, was that England couldn't just lump it to Heskey - something which they do when lacking courage.

    I still think Heskey is a better option up front in terms of linking the play, and it will be interesting to see which option Capello goes for in the next game.

  • Comment number 23.

    I think, to be fair, Capello is a world class manager in charge of an average team. The opposite is Argentina - an average manager in charge of a world class squad. It is strange how fickle the England players confidence is; so nervous for the 15mins at the start and end of the game, confident for the hour in the middle. Defoe was lively, but not prominent or outstanding. Milner was very good; as was Cole and Gerrard. Johnston, Terry, and Upson played had their moments, both good and bad. Barry and Lampard were poor. Rooney was......, well, better. Signs of improvement, yes, champions in waiting, no. But Capello has dealt brilliantly with the Terry saga, the media hype and escalation and again has the confidence of a nation.

    The big worry was the fact England felt the need to hold the ball in the corner for the final 3 mins. Seriously, against Slovenia? There's still a fear there. Show it to the Germans and they'll not be generous asthe Slovenians.

  • Comment number 24.

    I don't think England should get too excited about coming second in the easiest group. Don't get me wrong, I like some of the players in the squad but I feel the thing that puts me off England the most is the general cockiness of the media and some of the English supporters. For example, at half time in the Algeria vs Slovenia game Shearer said he had no doubt England would beat Algeria whilst laughing. Not to mention that they never even spoke about that game at half time- just England. I think that they forget that not all viewers support England and are too ignorant.

  • Comment number 25.

    England are through!!

    Where are all the ABE'S???

    Come on Gordon!! Where are ya? Lets hear ya now!!

    No? Thought not!


  • Comment number 26.

    A really short one from Bond.

    No doubt because he didn't have much cynical to say.

  • Comment number 27.

    ah but if England achieve the minimum requirement against Germany, Argentina and then two other teams then we have won the world cup!

    what is the bother with all the whingers, is your slogan "moan when you lose whine when you win..." because it seems to take a lot to shut u lot up!

  • Comment number 28.

    England were truly the second best in the group behind USA who played much much better football against Algeria and England too.

    England vs Germany may be a different game but I can't see England will come out on top.

    All the best for the fans honestly!

  • Comment number 29.

    r2k: Are you telling us that Germany or Italy (etc) wouldn't have held the ball up in the last few minutes knowing that they were going through unless they conceded? I beg to differ, based on what I've seen in previous tournaments. Even Spain would have done the same.

    The main thing at this stage is to get to the knockout rounds - not the easiest route ahead but at least they're not flying back with France in econ class!

  • Comment number 30.

    The one good thing about playing Germany is that there can be no excuse for the team not being psyched up: same goes for Argentina.
    Can they (we) win?
    Who knows: but at least tonight they turned up.

    Defoe and Milner yes! Heskey Crouch and Lennon please carry on keeping the bench warm!

  • Comment number 31.

    number 4. Our u17s our European champions. u21s runners up at last years european champions there is a gap between our current lot who are 28-32 to then 22year olds lets say but the youngsters are looking promising so maybe things are looking up.

  • Comment number 32.

    Gotta play gerrard in a central role now we are down too the knock-out! There is no margin for error now in the knock-out, I can't see us beating the best unless he plays more central! It's going to get much harder and I think we will need to adopt the 4-5-1 to progress as far as we can!!!

  • Comment number 33.

    Reality check!

    England were better than the previous two games - we limped into the next round.

    But seriously to beat a team from a nation with only 400 registered professional footballers and then crow about about it as though we have won the World Cup is WAY WAY over the top, just as the doom and gloom was before todays game.

    England have a powerful workmanlike team - don't expect top quality and you won't be disappointed.

    In the end the facts are simple... Germany are nothing special and England can beat them.

    Look at it this way, there are teams with far greater technique than us going home tonight..Look at Serbia..shocking display at this tournament losing to Ghana and Australia... But that's football.

  • Comment number 34.

    Well done England!
    Unfortunately they now play Germany as and we ALL know every world cup England loses to Germany on penalties.
    Its just the way things are.
    But to be brutally honest don't you think the USA deserves to be top of the group if nothing else on pure effort?
    They've played their hearts out for every minute of every game.
    Maybe something England should do more of.

  • Comment number 35.

    England get through but USA deserved overall to win it. It was better but still not right. I knew they would rue those wasted opportunities - one more goal would have done it. For me. Lampard is still a problem. What does he actually contribute ? He missed a sitter again today and was barely in the game. Because he plays, Gerrard has to go left. Why not just take Lampard out altogether. As for Joe Cole - what a load of fuss about a player who's done little for a long time and did even less today other than hold the ball by the corner flag for the last three minutes.

  • Comment number 36.

    Re zeemo is it any surprise that some people despise your cockiness, one 1-0 result an 2 draws in a relatively easy group and u think you are world beaters. Face it England should cruise that group.Algeria can't score at all. Slovenia smallest pool of players to pick from in the tournament. USA decent team and u underestimated them.

  • Comment number 37.

    I actually heard the BBC commentator at the end of the game saying something like 'this demonstrates england mean business in this world cup' and i was just stunned. After two mediocre draws, england won to a poor slovenia with what's supposed to be their full force team. This HARDLY suggests that england mean any actual business in this world cup. If faced with stiffer opponents that will not play around, i fear that england might even get trashed at some point. Tread very carefully after these group stages, is what i suggest.

  • Comment number 38.

    Was impressed with our 12th man, Herr Stark.

    Listen, any other ref in this tournament would have Johnson & Barry off by the hour. As soon as the first Slovenia trip came, out came the missing card.

    There were still too many today(Lampard,J.Cole,Johnson,Barry) who need to step up. Others like Milner & Defoe weren't much of a threat later, either.

    This was a game we should have won by 2 or 3. We really need a massive improvement to stay in after Sunday & that's across all areas.

  • Comment number 39.

    England won thanks to measured and professional approach of the manager and the players overcoming the immense pressure piled on them by the media.

    The thirst for blood has been insatiable and its a shame that thru you the BBC have been part of the blood lust. I hope the "reporting" and blogging becomes more informative & investigative rather than sensationlist.

    Dont forget, that it is us who have paid for BBC tickets to South Africa

  • Comment number 40.

    I was going to write a list of the negatives about England's performance but...Terry and Upson looked extra good in central defence, Rooney and Gerrard sparked a bit, Johnson and Ashley Cole went well and covered a lot of ground, the goalkeeping was immaculate, Barry and Milner were at least as good as other teams' 'make up the numbers players' - guys who go okay without looking like internationals, and Defoe scored the all important goal...GO ENGLAND!

  • Comment number 41.

    Agree with the comments above that it's another dull article from Bond.

    Does the guy have any insights?

  • Comment number 42.

    awful title to the blog... hardly vindication, everyone would have made the much needed changes, hardly tactical genius?!!!

    typical glass empty, glass full commentating....

    a much improved performance but that is coming from such a low point, and failure to register more than 2 goals against 3 first division standard sides says it all... so far at least...

    but some sides do grow during tournaments and we always play better against better sides, you never know... and there's surely nothing better than an England v Germany knock-out game?

    this is what the WC is all about!!

  • Comment number 43.

    Rooney's one on one miss has cost us a easy route to semi. It is simply unacceptable to be 'happy' about scraping through the second easiest group after Italy's. Thanks to chronic underperformance in two games we now face the very likely outcome of losing to the Germans on penalties !! We give the ball away too cheaply to be contenders.....and Rooney is still woefully out of form. Glad they responded today, but sadly it is too late to avoid the unavoidable......last 16 elimination. Please prove me wrong, as I will gladly eat my words.

  • Comment number 44.

    I think we are strong enough to beat the Germans as I thought we were strong throughout the team and hopefully can keep improving. The Germans seem to be getting worse.
    Our midfield was creating trouble for the defence, Lampard and Gerrard for the Slovenian defence and Barry for ours.

  • Comment number 45.

    NorthfieldVillain wrote:
    "Defoe offered very little to the England team, other than his goalscoring instincts… I still think Heskey is a better option up front in terms of linking the play."

    The one thing that we have been lacking since our arrival in South Africa is a goal scoring threat. Defoe did something today that Heskey hasn’t done for a long time. Okay Defoe doesn’t hold up the ball or nod it on but to be honest so much of Heskey and Crouch’s holding play is so predictable that it is easily snuffed out.
    I always find it amusing that both of our so called target men aren’t actually that good in the air… so playing long balls up to them is generally a waste of time...

  • Comment number 46.

    There are NO world beaters in this team, but to play collectively is their only chance to survive with effort and commitment from ALL of them.
    Today was a workman like effort and nothing to get excited about.

  • Comment number 47.

    Lets have a look at the positives then, shall we?

    James looked good, and johnson is starting to look like a class right-back. Milner had a great game, and Gerrard for me was man of the match, put in a great shift and combined well with Rooney down the left. The presence of Defoe allowed Rooney a little more freedom to link with Gerrard, which we all wanted to see, and to be honest we should have seen a few more goals. An honourable mention for Upson who came in for Carragher but should keep his place for the Germany game on this performance.

    If we cant beat Germany, Argentina, Spain and Brasil (our most likely route) then what is the point of competing? This performance has given me hope after a much-maligned (and rightly so) performnace against Algeria. Bring on the Germans!

    First ever post, so please go easy!

  • Comment number 48.

    Are you all mad! You have an Italian who has designed his strategy for winning the world cup as playing the most successful country in world cup history in the next round. If he were in the remotest possible chance to pull that off I'll take my hat off to him but I think he is about as bad a manager as we have ever had.

    The team was defensive, putting on cole after rooney had to come off was not attacking. Heskey instead of crouch is a world cup joke. In the second half after 15-20 mins Lampard, Rooney, barry and milner played little or no offensive part. He should have gone with 3 at the back, the 2 coles as wingbacks, lampard and gerrard in the centreand rooney playing behing crouch and defoe. Get 3 up and then give rooney a rest and play in some of the other squad in case.

    Germany are our Nemesis, they know how ro do enough. Australia showed how to beat serbia that's the game I would have wanted as a manager. Capello sees his best route to the final through Germany and Argentina instead of Korea or Uraguay? Mama mia wadda mistaka ta makka

  • Comment number 49.

    I'm as chuffed as anybody that we are through, but vindicating Cappello is a bit much..... 1-0 and all is fine, nothing further from the truth, we have nothing up front, Rooney is clearly not fit and out of form, Cappello gives it the "I pick players on form yabba yabba..." and yet Rooney still plays, the forwards he took are average (sorry but Defoe has been average at best since Christmas, Crouch makes us too slow and Heskey is just pants!).

    I so want us to progress, but I just cant see where the goals are going to come from? Help!

  • Comment number 50.

    Deluded. Who watched the USA games to comment they should have been top? They were 2-0 down vs Slovenia and a better team would have shut that game out. They were incredibly fortunate to draw with England and needed a last gasp winner vs Algeria. Yes England limped through, but USA even more so.

  • Comment number 51.

    stevek wrote: "playing the most successful country in world cup history in the next round"

    Um, ever heard of Brazil?

  • Comment number 52.

    Rooney was playing for Rooney, not England!!...Hopefully that is his lastg game in this world cup...we need the team not the prat!!!

  • Comment number 53.

    It's just bizarre how this was the same team that faced Algeria. They looked good today, for some periods they looked awesome - very unlucky not to score more. OK, it was just Slovenia but still....

    My points are the same they always are:

    1) people how berate Capello are idiots. There's a reason he is there and we are opining in forums (or blogging; Messrs Bond, McNulty et al.).

    2) people who say England are an average team are idiots. They're not average, they're in the top 10, and have some of the best players in the world.

    I'm not going to get my hopes up against Germany, but we definitely have the players on paper to beat them. All depends what team shows up on the day.

  • Comment number 54.

    I've actually changed my mind about this blogger.
    Having thought that frankly he couldn't write for toffee, I've now decided he writes brilliant comedy, albeit he just doesn't know how he does it.

    How's the fence you're sitting on fella? Nice & comfy?

    Jolly good.

  • Comment number 55.

    brazil have only won it one more time if you take placements in quarters semis and finals it's germany who score top

  • Comment number 56.


    Dude, the press may be doing their usual rah rah rah we can beat anyone, but most, if not all the people posting here know the road is a tough one.

    We're just happy to be in the last 16, something I think we have a right to be happy about.

    Good performance, could do, and will need to do better against a slick German side.

    For the moment, we're enjoying the ride.

  • Comment number 57.

    Seeing, Joe Cole stuck with the ball to the corner flag in the last 5 minutes against Slovenia??

    Have you NEVER heard of tactics????????????

  • Comment number 58.

    How is a 1-0 win a vindication for Capello? Vindication would be a 6-0 win and a plausible explanation for the last 2 dismal performances. We scraped through and in doing so have taken ourselves into a side of the draw where there's far less room and time to get our act together. Vindication, pah!

  • Comment number 59.

    Capello's substitutions were awful - in our eyes he killed off Englands best performance at the World Cup so far by not bringing on a striker for Rooney. He should have brought on Crouch to get a second goal. Then England could have avoided playing Germany and then may be Argentina in the following round. Capello missed a great opportunity with his negative tactics and it would almost have backfired completely. There is not much reason to celebrate for him at this stage. Except if he is convinced that he can now show that he is more successful than previous England managers by guiding his team into the semis. Though we are Germans we will continue to support the English team - but they have to further improve to beat the Germans (who are individually not as good as the English stars but as a team they are doing very well again). Hopefully Capello at least practices penalties in the next few days. Lampard does not look convincing so Gerrard should be the main penalty taker.

  • Comment number 60.

    Wow beat a team rated 34th in FIFA rankings now England are going to win the world cup. Shrek back to his best, Capello a wonderful manager who does not listen to what the team are saying but and but there is harmony in the camp. I pity England supporters OH for the days of the Empire when we were so important. Bet the Germans are dreading their win tonight now they will have to face the eventual and the 1966 winners. Roll on 2014 when England will be able to use Afghan and Iraq citizens (thats if the 5 year rule applies to occupation)Come on the Germans get into them they are pathetic despite the team unity which is stated then contradicted

  • Comment number 61.

    England have made a total mess of this campaign. They will go out I'm afraid in the next round - Germany are superior. Even if they do survive somehow, the Argies will take care of them.

    It's really frustrating given the draw they would have faced if they had finished first. England have no one to blame but themselves.

    Golden Generation? Don't make me laugh.

  • Comment number 62.

    What day is it? And in what month? This clock never seems so alive.

    Good performance from England.

    They will beat Germany, who are not as good as Clive Tyldesley thinks.


    You my friend are very far short of the mark.

    Germany scored 5 goals in 3 games. England scored twice.

    Its fair to say Germany's opponents were higher standard than Englands also.

    It is this 'England Will Beat......' attitude that makes you all seem very very foolish indeed. Leaving yourself wide open for a bit of egg on face.

    You would think after your dire performances in the group stages that you would maybe change your perspective and be a little more humble or cautious?

    After one stuttering, very nervy 1-0 win over SLOVENIA (For goodness sake) and your back to old form. 'England WILL beat germany'

    You are a laughable joke and this makes me hope that england get beat by the germans even more.

    So fickle its unbearable!

  • Comment number 63.

    We are going to get annihilated by Germany.

  • Comment number 64.

    I don't think I've ever been so reactively Modded as I have been today.

  • Comment number 65.

    There are two kinds of people here, one is that no matter what happens, they find a way to smile, and the other one, no matter what happens they find a way to whine and complain.
    It was 1:0 so what, if it was 17:0 they'd say, "Yeah, but it was Slovenia, they would not be able to do that against Brazil". Honestly I do not understand what some of these people who write here want. Do they want to win by 2498:0 or what? Victory is a victory, 3 points, next stage- that's it. "Miniature" Rooney as some call him, made several brilliant assists and keeps busy at least 2 defenders (Messi has done nothing more so far). When I read a lot of reports/comments of English media and citizens I get the impression that they have the desire to line their players against the wall and shoot them.
    It was the best performance for England so far, it will be better. Capelo is an "Old Wolf" he knows what he does.

  • Comment number 66.

    Based on qualifying form, England should have won that easy group. Now they haven't, their reward is Germany, who so far have looked much better than England.

    Better book the plane tickets for Monday morning guys.

  • Comment number 67.

    We got through. Steven Gerrard has bin a good captain and our best player over the last three games. So stop whinging and get behind the team for the Germany game. Everyone who plays against England raises their game, we always raise OUR game against Germany.

  • Comment number 68.

    Capello got the big calls right??? are you watching the same game he has not got one call right all tournement england struggled to beat a team the standard of a div 1 league team in england!!!!

    I dont if anyone feels the same way but the biggest thing really winding me up now... actually making me angry is how Lampard is playing centrally instead of Gerrard it is beyond me!
    Also Heskey cant even control the ball why is there!!!

  • Comment number 69.

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

  • Comment number 70.

    What a relief that England actually turned up and played today! A much better performance (although admittedly it couldn't really have got any worse!) with good pace, more accurate passing of the ball and a decent mix of attacking play. Also felt that we were better defensively, holding the shape of our back 4 and closing down on breaks better. Plus all of the players looked a lot more relaxed and less "hunted" than they have for the last 2 games - maybe a post-match beer isn't such a bad idea after all, eh Capello?

    Gerrard looked much more comfortable playing on the left today and linked up well with Rooney - maybe it was all a case of getting used to a different style of play with a different team.

    Of course, England have historically always been better when under pressure. And England v Germany in the next round had an air of inevitability to it... Lets just hope that they come out again and play like they did today - relaxed, disciplined and inventive. No more starting with Heskey up front to avoid the prospect of "hoof & run" football that we saw for the 1st 2 games & which proved to be so unsuccessful - for that reason if I were Capello I'd probably avoid starting with Crouch too, and keep playing Defoe to give a little more variety to our attacking.

    And if we manage to beat our nemesis #1 (Germany) we then probably get to face our nemesis #2 (Argentina).... Should be a cracker!

    Come on England!!

  • Comment number 71.

    As usual, the media goes into overdrive about England beating a very mediocre side 1-0. Yes, we improved, but not enough to trouble any of the favourites and we still have the age old problem of not being able to retain the ball for long periods.

    I felt that Matthew Upson was exposed for a lack of pace throughout and that Gareth Barry also had an uncharacteristically poor game. Let's keep a sense of perspective. We just avoided footballing humiliation.

  • Comment number 72.

    "Vindication for Capello with his reputation at stake".........Capello vindicated. you are kidding aren't you? The easiest group in the competition and we manage to scrap 2nd. We have(Capello) thrown away the easiest route to the semis I've ever seen for any team ever in the world cup. Instead of a game in the semis against the overrated Brazilians we are virtually out to either Germany or Argentina. I have no idea why some folk are so happy or think Mr James Milner is a good winger despite a total inability to go pass a player.

  • Comment number 73.

    Mr. Bond, your article suggests that there 'would have' been an inquest had England gone out, and that Capello's reputation 'was' at stake.

    From this stateside footy fan's perspective, I think it's premature to be speaking in past tense. You know as well as I do that all of the above will still be true if England are knocked out in the the round of 16.

    Sven got England to the quarters and experienced all of the things you suggest Fabio has avoided simply by getting out of the group.

    Maybe he wasn't so bad afterall?

  • Comment number 74.

    We're through. Gerrard is a good captain. We have great players. We can beat Germany. That's three passing sentences. Rooney will explode. That's goals. That's progress. That's not hope. That's expectation. That's England. That's eleven moves. That's victory.

  • Comment number 75.

    Anyone sticking up 4 Capello are idiots i said this 7-8 months ago england have world class players but not a world calss manager!!!!
    Anyone who plays Gerrard left wing has no idea in my mind and lets not forget Capello is paid 6 million a year to make tough decisions!!!

    Marradona has made tough calls he built his team round Messi & Tevez and the rest of their team is picked to compliment there talents!! Likewise England should build the team round Gerrard & Rooney!

  • Comment number 76.

    football is basically a simple game. the simplest of rules is he who scores most goals (or penalties) wins. Crouch has the best scoring record of anyone in the squad. any sane man would look to crouch to lead the line so far he's played what? 15-20 mins. He won't be ready when Capello is 1-0 down in the 80th minute when capello will finally face up to needing him

    At this level he's a win nothing financial liability. If you play saturday or sunday football fines will be going up soon to pay for his payout which could have been £0

  • Comment number 77.

    Yea, let's stop bleating about Rooney and play Gerrard where he plays best. Then we might win the World Cup.

  • Comment number 78.

    The best kick and run team is Brazil. They learn their football on beaches and poor grounds where you can't play the ball on the floor. some of their most memorable goals have been scored with 4,5-6 passes all long and in the air and a quick burst and goal. If you lump the ball up to heskey and (like in the USA game) none of his touches went to our players there is no point. the long ball is devastating only if it's played well. Today our play broke down 20 or 30 times because we didn;t have an outlet in the box (including barry almost giving the game away) Crouch has to play with defoe they have been magnificent together this year so they are in form (ok defoe was injured) rooney is best behind the front 2 he left everton,in part, because we asked him to run the line alone it's not his best place. he thinks england's future is solely in his hands he needs that taken from him.

  • Comment number 79.

    One thing England must do now is to practise penalties!! We are facing the Germans next round so I am pretty sure the game will be decided on penalties.

  • Comment number 80.

    Yea, again. Let's play Gerrard where he plays best and we might win the world cup!

  • Comment number 81.

    AScottishGooner : To say that England could only "scrape through to the last 16 out of sheer luck" is just silly. If anything, the USA had luck against England with the Green debacle.

    Any team that progresses to the next round deserves a few moments of celebration, otherwise what is the point of the WC? Your ABE sentiments come across as really sad and bitter to be honest, why so may comments on a England blog? Are you obsessed, or is your life just really sad and disappointing? Why not pick another team to support and enjoy the tournament rather than defining yourself by who you 'hate'.

    When England go out I'll prob support Argentina (yes, the 'olde' enemy), but my main focus will be on enjoying the tournament. Why not give up the trolling and enjoy a tournament which only comes around every 4 years.

  • Comment number 82.

    friendlyonewhocares, of course i accept your point all players and teams do it! To begin with though, i find it ironic that it's Joe Cole (That great unlocker of defences, lol :). The second point is though that it's only Slovenia? Anyway, there is this argument that you guys are the new Italy. But my point is,

    I loved the North Koreans against Brazil because they were well organised and not over-awed (one player even cried).
    I love the USA for their team spirit and never say die attitude.
    I love the Mexicans because they play in a joyous fashion

    Now is it too much to ask for you guys to give the tournament something to remember e.g. A young Michael Owen scoring against Argentina! Something? Anything?

  • Comment number 83.

    As already noted, a team must have more than one game to survive in the modern-day WC. In years past when Brazil,England,Germany and Italy each stood for distinctive styles of play, it was a matter of each country simply excelling at that particular game on any given WC. Today, a coach and its team, must have more than one style of game to survive, and Capello, having coached in numerous systems has the depth. But do his players?? I would bet that Cole will finally be brought out against Germany and that with Rooney, Dafoe and Gerrard, the German side (which did not look great against Serbia and Ghana and is missing a star) may be vincible. Capello has preciselly the conservative, methodical approach, and breadth, to pull this off.

  • Comment number 84.

    I agree with comment 73 Sven was not that bad i said to all my friends when it was confirmed he was standing down after the 2006 world cup that we will regret getting rid of sven! Let us not forget sven blooded the likes of Gerrard & Ashley Cole before they were even first choice at there clubs and also if you look at every major tournement since italy90
    apart from Brazil in 2002 & Greece in 2004 all the eventual winners have had to win a penalty shootout along the way or in the final thats not sven fault the players have got a mental block when it comes to penalty shootouts!! I also think if he was giving longer i think he would of sorted out the Gerrard-Lampard cunundrum and one thing is for certain we would qualified for euro 2008 and finished top of this group under sven with favourable 2nd round & quarter final ties awaiting!... I remember saying to a friend 4 years be careful what you wish for!!!!

  • Comment number 85.


    Any team that progresses to the next round deserves a few moments of celebration, otherwise what is the point of the WC? Your ABE sentiments come across as really sad and bitter to be honest, why so may comments on a England blog? Are you obsessed, or is your life just really sad and disappointing? Why not pick another team to support and enjoy the tournament rather than defining yourself by who you 'hate'.


    Salmon mate

    Your calm level-headed responses often bring me down to earth. Thanks.

    Yes I am obsessed with england losing and yes it is sad. But my life will only be disappointing if they win it :)

    Seriously though salmon - I will give up on the hating for a few days.



    I have picked another team to support - Germany :)

  • Comment number 86.

    Yea, yea, yea, let's play Gerrard where he plays best and we might win the world cup.

  • Comment number 87.

    I agree with supernaut englands hopes lie with Gerrard playing centrally not wasted out on the left!!!

  • Comment number 88.

    Well done. Keep on carrying the flag and bring the trophy home.

  • Comment number 89.

    AScottishGooner: Yes, I like the look of those Germans, not sure who they're playing next but enjoy the game!

  • Comment number 90.

    If there's one thing I can't stand in a football team it's wasted chances. Firstly Gerrard should have blasted it, thats his trademark, not placed it. Defoe should have scored just after half time, Rooney did not keep his composure which is very unlike him, and Lampard didn't too in the first half when he blasted over - you think he wouldn't do this for Chelsea.

    We should have won 5-0 on chances. Overall bar a couple of average performances - Barry, Rooney, we were very good. 1-0 isn't a fair reflection.

    Now its time for some battles and for Capello has to get it tactically spot on. We can do well, but we need the manager to perform and the players to keep their heads. Easier said than done.

    It's you, and me, and all of the people with nothing to do, nothing to lose. And it's you and me, and all of the people and I don't know why, I can't keep my eyes off you. Allez les rouges.

  • Comment number 91.

    England are one goal better than Slovenia and this is the first match they have won this time round.

    So they are on the up...

    Next time round they have to play that bit better.

    Hell... let's give the team some support. They're the only UK team to get this far.

    Cheer them on and get them past the Germans. Beating them will be worth more than the World and European Cups put together!

    Or something...

    Anyway. Get behind them and force them to win!

  • Comment number 92.

  • Comment number 93.

    Hi England!
    Congratulations from Slovenia! I wish you all the best in the future.
    I was reading a bit the comments here.
    Maybe the slovenian team was not so bad as everybody thought. I think the game against Slovenia USA and Algery were the hardest games for England.
    So now i think England can easiely raise the cup.
    The ony team to fear are the Germans. You will go easy thrue the rest, because the best teams are now in the past. USA may cause you troubles though.
    From the comments of Cappello I think he stil doesnt know which are his 11 golden.
    Greetings from big Sovenia.

  • Comment number 94.

    How on earth does this vindicate Capello's choices? Two lack-lustre games followed by a needed victory in the final group game. This leaves us second, with Germany to play and then the winner of the Argentina v Mexico game.

    Must say, that's just the pick I would have suggested before the WC began.

  • Comment number 95.

    We made a bit of a hash of the group stage, yes, but thats all done and dusted now and we're through, so lets just forget the negatives and concentrate on the positives.

    As I see them:-

    -James is looking good. The one thing I love about James is his confidence. He had some calamity moments but generally he is a good shot stopper and commands the penalty area well. He's even taken some difficult crosses well.

    -We've conceded ONE goal. The ONE goal we conceded was a freak incident. Our defence, however makeshift it is, is doing well. Of course so far its not against the cream of attacking talent at the world cup, but the defence itself basically hasn't conceded a single goal. The US goal was nothing to do with our defence.

    -Today's performance was very good. Yes Slovenia are not a great side. But as this world cup has shown, the gap between the nations is much smaller now than it used to be. The world champions drew with a team ranked around 80th. The infallible Germany lost to Serbia and just look at France. Even tournament favourites Spain lost to Switzerland. We played well today, we created lots of chances, our passing was sharp and the players looked good.

    -We are unbeaten!!

    -Gerrard is looking good. Johnson and A Cole are looking good. James is looking good. Rooney is showing signs of life at last. Milner had a good game and to me, most important is no player had a bad game. We're coming on as a team.

    -The huddle at the end of the game for me was very encouraging. I'm sure some people will point this out as nonsense. But it just shows the lads are beginning to bond, to play for each other and that it really means something to them. That can only ever be positive for England.

    I'm not saying we will win on Sunday. Germany of course are a good team with good players. All I'm saying is I don't understand why people are writing us off. We have as much chance as the Germans of being triumphant on Sunday. England always raise their game against the big boys and do us proud.


  • Comment number 96.

    There has been far too much negativity here!! World Cup (and any cup football, international or otherwise) is all about doing enough to stay in/go through - and winning games. There are no prizes for playing the most attractive football or scoring the most goals in qualifying.

    I honestly think that going against teams with some ambition going forward ie not putting 11 players behind the ball as we have seen against England do far.. The English strikers (bar Heskey :-) ) will knock a few goals in.

    Let's get behind the boys and start cheering them - not putting them down...

  • Comment number 97.

    Dunno what David Bond is on about - Slovenia might be the tournaments smallest nation but far from the weakest. Slovenia are a very handy little side. Capello's tactics were spot on today to prove that it was the players fault and certainly not his that they couldn't string a single pass against Algeria - far too much emphasis has gone to the role of Capello by the English media, but the simple fact is that before Slovenia, the players were simply not up to his tasks.

    And inquests into English football should be made regardless of England's performance in the World Cup. Richard Scudamore and the rest of the Premier League don't give two hoots about the future of English football - all they are concerned about is making the most money and trying to create the best league with all the world's best players. The Premier League is damaging the future of English football and serious problems must be addressed. I would quite happily see much more English players play for Arsenal in case you're wondering.

    Some are moaning at the fact that England have made it harder for themselves by coming second in the group. True, but to prove you're the best, you have to beat the best no matter what. Germany can certainly be beaten - England did beat them 2-1 on their home soil in November 2008 with an impressive performance, and they will have further incentive after Franz Beckenbauer's comment earlier on in the tournament.

    And I'm still not convinced by Argentina as strange as that may sound. Argentina have had a very easy group (easier than England's) and their immense talent has got them through almost alone. However, when it comes to playing the top teams, then they will certainly struggle. Maradona will be found out and top coaches, whether it's Capello or Del Bosque or whoever he faces, will expose his weaknesses. Mark my words.


    And inquests into English football should be made regardless of England's performance in the World Cup. Richard Scudamore and the rest of the Premier League don't give two hoots about the future of English football - all they are concerned about is making the most money and trying to create the best league with all the world's best players. The Premier League is damaging the future of English football and serious problems must be addressed. I would quite happily see much more English players play for Arsenal in case you're wondering.

  • Comment number 98.

    With players like Rooney and Lampard - England will win NOTHING.
    World class players ha ha ha ha.

  • Comment number 99.

    Sorry, but I don't share the euphoria being put forth. England played well, but in fits and starts. Gerrard led from the front and generally had a good game. However, the team make-up is still very questionable. Lampard looked lost and really was anonymous for much of the game, Johnson continues to show that he is a defensive liability, Milner couldn't beat his full back at any time in the game and Rooney, well, what can you say?
    1-0 over marginal team like Slovenia does not augur well, particularly when in the last 15 minutes, England was hanging on by its teeth, and engaged in the abhorrent time-wasting tactics for the last 5 minutes of the game.
    Unlike the headline boldly states, Capello's tactics were not vindicated with this game. All he has succeeded in doing is temporarily papering over the cracks.

  • Comment number 100.

    Take it one game at a time. That was better, but on Sunday it has to be better still to stand a chance of getting anywhere near the semi finals we should get to.

    However, our Scottish friends and Welsh friends should take note that we may have played poorly in the first two games, but at least we got to South Africa in the first place, and to that mythical land Scotland have never seen... The knockout stages....


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