Can Capello end England's hurt?
World Cup 2010: Rustenburg
Four words from Fabio Capello revealed the ruthless and driven personality that will direct England's attempt to end 44 barren years and reclaim the World Cup.
While an entire nation fixed its gaze on South Africa's opening draw with Mexico, Capello was allowing a rare glimpse of the man behind the mask as England prepare to start their campaign against the United States in Rustenburg on Saturday.
In a sentence that left no room for argument about what Capello demands and expects from England in their quest to lift the World Cup, he announced: "I exist to win."
It is a simple philosophy but one that is easier said than done, especially when you are charged with the responsibility of winning the game's biggest prize.
Capello-watching has been quite a sport since England's arrival in South Africa, from his very public discontent with their performance against the Platinum Stars on Monday to his run-in with a photographer he believed was intruding on his squad's privacy at their training headquarters.
And Capello was equally uncompromising as he spoke outside the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, where England play Bob Bradley's confident and talented United States side.
Such is the scale of interest in the World Cup, prime minister David Cameron was happy to stand aside and admit Capello is currently "the most important man in England."
He declined the honour, claiming the importance lay with the job rather than the personality. Capello knows he carries the hopes of all England over this next month - a pressure he has not only become accustomed to, but has relished.
Capello said: "It is, for me, fantastic. It's exciting. It's a tough job. I understand perfectly that it's a tough job - not only for me but for all managers, because you can feel that you have a whole country behind you.
"When you arrive here in South Africa it's completely different. You have to live one month with policemen, press conferences every day, TV, everything at every moment. You switch on the television and it's all about the World Cup. Really strong pressure from the media and everything.
"We have to live with this pressure. It's not easy. But I try. We try."
And Capello laid out a map of his illustrious management career to almost create the impression that everything has been building towards this.
This is why so many, when seeking reasons why England might end the long era of under-achievement, spend as much time outlining the importance of the coach as his players.
To be in close proximity to Capello is to see the awe - in this case the right word - in which he is held by his squad, the minute attention to detail that will underpin England's World Cup and his lust for success.
As England warmed up in readiness for training in Rustenburg on Friday, Capello paced along the touchline checking every piece of preparation for his players, ensuring everything was in its proper place.
Capello said: "I'm focused always to win. To always look ahead. In my career as a manager, I've built teams, worked with teams, worked with players, and always I've been focused to win. That's all that matters to me - to win and get to the final. In my mind, we play to win. That is all. I exist to win."
And Capello's whole existence will centre on the next month, his optimism undaunted by England's undistinguished warm-up performances.
He has habitually collected the games major prizes at giants such as AC Milan and Real Madrid to make him one of football's most decorated figures, but Capello's appointment as England coach affords him the opportunity to achieve the crowning glory of his career.
Capello would regard winning the World Cup as his biggest achievement, and his contempt for bold claims means that when he says it can be achieved, you know it is a statement made with iron self-belief.
"It's a dream," he said. "But it was a dream to be England manager. I hope the next dream will be OK too. Why not?"
Capello may complain about the altitude and the new World Cup balls - "terrible, terrible" - but these are minor distractions in the Italian's wider context.
England's arrival in the competition may be after the Lord Mayor's Show and the opening ceremony that allowed South Africa to demonstrate the colour and passion that will illuminate the World Cup.
Even two hours from Johannesburg in Rustenburg, the scene was decorated with Bafana Bafana colours on every corner and in every street. This was a day of national celebration - and now the focus here switches to England.
England supporters were hard to find as we made our way along the roads around Rustenburg towards the impressive, sweeping stadium that will play host to their first game. No doubt the travelling army will arrive in its usual force by kick-off time, with around 10,000 expected.
Capello was able to enjoy the luxury of seeing his whole squad training on Friday night, in the cooler temperatures that will suit players who have admitted they have struggled occasionally with the altitude.
The men who last won the World Cup for England are rightly allowed to bask and reflect in their glory every four years - and when comparisons are made with their great leader Sir Alf Ramsey, they are almost inevitably unfavourable.
And yet George Cohen, right-back in 1966, suggested he detected something of the Ramsey steel in Capello when the pair met, a rare accolade from that vintage band of men.
If Capello can repeat Ramsey's feats and bring the World Cup back to England next month, then the man who exists only to win will have achieved his ultimate triumph.