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What went wrong at 'Camp Capello'?

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Phil McNulty | 20:00 UK time, Monday, 28 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Rustenburg

As England's World Cup failures filed on to a coach carrying the discredited motto "Playing With Pride And Glory" to make the retreat from Bafokeng, the inquest was in full swing.

England coach Fabio Capello was first in the dock after the humiliating last-16 exit against Germany. He "absolutely" wants to stay on - but the Football Association will buy time before making a decision.

This may not be enough to keep the wolves, or indeed speculation, from Capello and the FA's door, but there is enough wreckage to sift through until his fate is finally decided.

Fabio Capello makes his exit from South Africa
Capello and his England squad were in sombre mood as they left Johannesburg on Monday evening (Photo: AP)

England may not have left Heathrow for Johannesburg almost a month ago with the nation anticipating a return with the World Cup, but no-one expected Capello's experienced squad to land at home with such a collective stain on their reputation.

One victory against the smallest nation in the tournament, Slovenia, was all they had to show for a campaign that failed to create a single ripple of excitement in a vast nation in thrall to this tournament.

So what went wrong inside "Camp Capello", hidden behind the imposing gates and stifling security of the Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus?

Capello, so confident in qualifying, became becalmed even before the squad landed in Rustenburg nine days before their opening game against the United States.

He became entangled in the ill-judged Capello Index, and the clear thinking that had guided the early stages of his tenure became muddled, even chaotic, especially in squad selection.

Capello suggested no injured players would be in the party and the same rules appeared to apply to those not in regular action for their club.

At the last moment, these principles were consigned to Capello's dustbin as injury-riddled Ledley King won a place in the squad and Gareth Barry's ankle problem was overlooked as he was allowed recovery time in Rustenburg. Both decisions were to have serious consequences.

And Capello's obsession with Emile Heskey not only persuaded him to select the striker, when five minutes in the company of just about any Aston Villa fan outside the Holte End would have told him otherwise, but also to play him against the United States and Algeria with inevitable non-results.

The Italian's previous infallibility was stripped away. It was like watching the armour drop off a gladiator. It was an impression reinforced by what looked for all the world like the panic measures of trying to tempt Jamie Carragher and Paul Scholes out of retirement for World Cup duty. Had Capello lost faith in some of the players who qualified with ease?

The troubles continued when England arrived in Rustenburg, although Capello can hardly be blamed for the ill-luck that deprived him of captain Rio Ferdinand when he suffered a serious knee injury in a skirmish with Heskey moments before the end of their first training session.

Capello's failure to decide on a first-choice goalkeeper was another topic for debate in the weeks before the World Cup - and this oversight was to backfire in the most spectacular fashion inside 45 minutes of their campaign.

He entrusted the position to Robert Green, seemingly not with a huge amount of conviction, and was rewarded by a calamitous error from the keeper that gifted the United States a point.

It was an error that appeared to have a psychological effect on England's squad - as did the botched handling of Green's exclusion and the recall of David James for one of the low points of the entire World Cup, the draw with Algeria in Cape Town.

As all indicators pointed to Capello keeping faith with Green, an unimpressive performance in training the night before the game looked to have convinced England's coach of the need for change.

No problem there, except that Capello's insistence that he would stick to his policy of naming his team two hours before kick-off - he even offered reporters who questioned this strategy the opportunity to take his place in the job - was ditched as he changed his mind and the information was leaked to the media.

It was an embarrassing episode for Capello and England.

Until they eclipsed it with the abject display against Germany, England looked to have hit rock bottom against Algeria in the goalless draw.

Wayne Rooney's frustrations bubbled over with an unjustified attack on England's outstanding support at the final whistle - and reports of unrest in the camp went from a whisper to a scream.

Rooney himself had complained of boredom at Bafokeng - "breakfast, training, lunch, bed, dinner, bed" - and the now notorious news conference staged by John Terry, initially designed to present a united front, only opened cracks even further.

The conditions inside the camp were luxurious but the regime was austere, and Capello's iron discipline was also unleashed on an unsuspecting photographer who he believed was taking photographs of the medical room.

Terry indulged in what I regarded as some much-needed plain speaking, but saw himself painted as the ringleader of a behind-the-scenes coup. He revealed plans to get his feelings off his chest in a team meeting, but when the moment came no-one spoke, with some team-mates apparently unhappy at being implicated in this supposed insurrection.

The former captain was effectively hung out to dry and Capello pounced on what he called his "very big mistake" - namely his insistence that Joe Cole should be in the side to reassert his authority.

In my opinion that was Terry's only error and instead of clamping down and reducing his squad to silence, Capello should have addressed any concerns.

And it was Joe Cole, perhaps fuelled by under-use at this World Cup, who hinted again at problems at England's base camp when he spoke of "a lot of issues" that needed to be addressed in the aftermath of the Bloemfontein defeat.

Capello's cold attitude and distant relationship with England's players was easier for them to take in a quick hit than over a long haul. The monastic lifestyle was a sea change from Sven-Goran Eriksson's relaxed approach. It was too much of a switch of extremes - Capello failed to strike the right balance and paid the price.

Wayne Rooney will not look back at the 2010 World Cup with fond memoriesRooney's World Cup failed to get anywhere near the huge expectations placed on his shoulders (Photo: AFP)

As Rooney stripped off his red England shirt and trudged away in despair after the embarrassing 4-1 loss against Germany, he was getting to grips with the grim reality that he had experienced a second disappointing World Cup.

He will be 28 when England, they hope, will play in Brazil. Rooney's poor form drove at the very heart of England and Capello's hopes. It was still a major talking point 24 hours later and will be for much longer.

Rooney has never regained the scintillating form that deservedly made him the double footballer of the year after injuring an ankle against Bayern Munich in the Champions League in March.

He was always straining to reach his true level in South Africa, going from sound and fury against the Platinum All Stars to a level of incompetence against Algeria that almost beggared belief in this world-class striker.

After another Capello gamble failed when King lasted only 45 minutes against the United States, so did his hope that Barry would recover fully from ankle problems to anchor his midfield.

Not so much an anchor as a sinking ship, Barry looked desperately off the pace against Germany, no more so than when he laboured in embarrassing fashion as Mesut Ozil set up Thomas Mueller for the fourth goal.

What Capello had total control over was England's tactics, and his almost pre-historic obsession with 4-4-2 led his side over the precipice.

It meant Heskey started in the draws against the United States and Algeria, and when shifts in tactical emphasis did come, Heskey was simply switched for Jermain Defoe. Too rigid.

The formation is in Capello's managerial DNA - I recall sitting next to him at Arsenal's London Colney training headquarters when he announced he would never play with a lone striker. If this World Cup has proved nothing else, it is that this strain of inflexibility is a character flaw.

I have not been alone in pleading for Capello to use Steven Gerrard behind Rooney to bring the best out of both players, but plenty of paracetamol would be needed after banging your head on a brick wall about that one.

Capello's natural conservatism in squad selection also cost him, as he effectively admitted on Monday when he talked expansively about Manchester City's Adam Johnson. If he rates him so highly, then surely he was a better option that his disappointing Eastlands colleague Shaun Wright-Phillips?

These are all questions that will have occupied Capello as he took the flight back to Heathrow from Johannesburg - and they will be questions for the Football Association as they spend the next two weeks deciding whether to extend their relationship with the Italian.


DAVID JAMES: Solid against Algeria and Slovenia and one of the few to emerge with credit after the debacle against Germany. Should have done better with third goal. Now must make way for Joe Hart. 6

ROBERT GREEN: England career may well be over after calamitous error against the United States. 4

GLEN JOHNSON: Mixed tournament that told us nothing we did not already know. Inventive going forward but a liability in defence against class opponents. 5

ASHLEY COLE: Remains a top-class left back and will be an integral part of England's future, but dragged down by the mediocrity around him against Germany. 6

JOHN TERRY: Responded to personal adversity with a fine display against Slovenia but brutally exposed by Germany's pace and movement. Lucky there are no obvious contenders to take his place yet. 5

MATTHEW UPSON: Found wanting at this level. Another whose England career may well be at a close. 5

LEDLEY KING: The gamble that failed. Only 45 uncertain minutes against the United States to show for Fabio Capello's big risk. 4

JAMIE CARRAGHER: Decision to emerge from international retirement earned him two more caps but not much credit. Probably fortunate to miss out on the Germany shambles. 5

AARON LENNON: Was he fully fit after injury problems at Spurs? Disappointing, but will hope to come again. 5

STEVEN GERRARD: Disappointing against Germany but England's best player in South Africa. Last chance of World Cup glory gone. 7

FRANK LAMPARD: So unlucky to be robbed of a goal against Germany, but did not do himself justice overall. 6

GARETH BARRY: Nightmare against Germany will live long in his memory. Another who looked short of fitness in South Africa. 5

JAMES MILNER: Showed signs against Slovenia that he is worth persisting with, but hardly looked like a player Manchester City should spend £20m-plus on. 5

WAYNE ROONEY: Huge disappointment. World Cup passed him by. Was he carrying a more serious injury than we thought? 5

EMILE HESKEY: Poor selection by Fabio Capello after disappointing season at Aston Villa. Missed big chance against the United States and the years of England's indulgence with him must be over. 5

JERMAIN DEFOE: Bright and scored against Slovenia but did not trouble Germany. 6

PETER CROUCH: Token substitute appearances. Capello does not appear to trust him to deliver against elite opposition. 5

JOE COLE: Inexplicably ignored for most of the World Cup. Left a frustrated figure and now looking for a new club. 5

SHAUN WRIGHT-PHILLIPS: Did not have a great season at Manchester City and carried on here. Another with the credits rolling on his England career. 5


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  • Comment number 1.

    Maybe the manager gets too much credit when their team is winning and too much blame when not?? The players take 90% of the blame imvho, or if 'blame' is too strong a word....then 90% responsibility for poor performance.

    England would be mad to dump Capello now, he made mistakes, but don't we all?? Nobody available has a better Managerial CV to replace him. That's the be all and end all as far as I am concerned.

    A top qualifying campaign, followed by 3/4 poor games and only 2 years in dragging England out of the despair of the Euro 08 qualifying campaign.

    England lost every game at the Euro 88 finals....2 years later they were a penalty kick away from the World Cup final in Italy with the same manager.

    Keep the faith. Capello has won a shedload of 'big' medals.

  • Comment number 2.

    I think he should be given another chance. He'll learn from his mistakes

  • Comment number 3.

    It's time for the so-called golden generation to depart, players such as rodwell, adam johnson, and others must be promoted to international level immediately for the euro qualifiers. We can then give them a run out in the euros and hope they'll be in good stead for the 2014 and 2018 world cups.

  • Comment number 4.

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

  • Comment number 5.

    Given the provenly poor individual quality of England's players it was arguably a success that they got past the group stage -albeit by a narrow margin and in the easiest of groups.

    On top of that they gave a clearly superior man-for-man German side a good game for almost 70 minutes.

    English fans should consider gathering in the airport tomorrow morning to congratulate them for overachieving.

  • Comment number 6.

    Its easy to blame the media for over hyping england's chances but perhaps we are all to blame. A culture that can ignore the fact we have not shown up for successive tournaments,failed to qualify for the euro's but still thinks we had a chance of winning the world cup is deeply flawed. It really pains to me say that we have a major domestic league but are a minor footballing nation.

  • Comment number 7.

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

  • Comment number 8.

    I think one of the aspects that has played a big part in the failure of our teams at tournaments is the fact that we always spend millions on making sure our overpaid and overpampered "superstars" are put in the highest class of facilities - it's almost like we're sending them on holiday! As a result they get far too relaxed and don't treat it as work. Next tournament, let's send them to a two-star hotel, make them share rooms, make them pay for the accommodation themselves and treat them more like subservients. By giving them first-class facilities we're effectively rewarding them in advance for inevitable failure.

    Sometimes I think we'll be better sending a squad of Championship players, because at least they'll be hungry to play and do well. Too many of the current team are coasting because there's nobody pushing to replace them. And why did we take Leighton Baines? Surely Theo Walcott would have given us better options.

    If Fabio stays, he needs to completely start again with his squad selection. It's clear to everyone everywhere that Lampard and Gerrard can never play in the same team, yet we insist on keeping them together. Capello is too stubborn to change when things aren't going well which is not good.

  • Comment number 9.

    My comment must have been removed because of the link to my blog. I thought links were allowed providing they didn't break house rules. I'm not sure what rules it broke but fair enough.

    My original comment was that I guess it's hard to write anything else on the matter of England's exit but I would have expected something slightly more insightful that repeating what we have seen and read over the past few weeks.

    Aside from that, I hope the FA are not too hasty in sacking Capello. I just don't see who else we could get in that could do a better job. I for one want to see him stay but for there to be changes within the FA and for there to be a serious shake up of the domestic English game with specific emphasis on grassroots and youth football.

  • Comment number 10.

    Ignore my previous comment about Leighton Baines...something stuck in my mind and I was certain he'd gone, haha! Point stands for Stephen Warnock though.

  • Comment number 11.

    While Capello obviously has to shoulder some of the blame for the reasons mentioned Phil, the bigger problem is England itself and the way young players are developped. Go anywhere outside of England and see how much more effort and interest is leveled at young players. When tournaments like the Under 20 World Cup or the European Under 21 championships are on, nations like Argentina, Brazil and Germany take notice. England pays no attention. Huge numbers of fully certified coaches ply their trade with youth teams in Spain and Holland, while in England, the concept of professional coaching for kids seems to involve booting the ball downfield to the big lump pretending to be a striker.
    If the young players can't develop properly - for both their clubs and country - the senior squad will never, ever, ever win a thing. The English football culture has to change before any success will come to the national side, no matter who is the coach.

  • Comment number 12.

    If a top player produces basic errors on the pitch then they deserve some of the blame / as gerrard said, we all take responsibility for the poor performance at the world cup, let us withdraw our premature pointing and look at the whole effort collectively

  • Comment number 13.

    I actually do believe the Premiers**t is partly to blame. Maybe it is or
    isn't the best league in the world but almost everyone wants to
    come here and play in it. But therein lies the problem - just about all the 'really' good players are not in it, they are in the biggest clubs in other leagues.

    The South Americans are doing really well but there's hardly any of them in the Prem. Similarly, how many of our 'top' players are playing abroad in big clubs ? Er, well, um - none. Why? Well, several reasons - not good enough on the playing front could be one, undoubtedly not paid as much as here for being above average but not sensational is more likely though. But either way, that lack of our players actually playing anything other than the 'English game' does us every time in tournament play.

    I didn't actually think Germany were all that but they could have won 7-2 - certainly should have been 3 or 4 up before we scored our 'two' goals. In a way, glad it didn't finish 2-1 as we'd have all blamed the lino (quite rightly - shocking mistake) but it could have been different at 2-2. We certainly had our best (and only) spell of the tournament between minutes 37 and 60, when we were frankly all over them. But Capello should have removed the dreadful Barry after half-an-hour, another poor decision that will come back to haunt him - and his two errors (or lack of pace on one) made it game over and end of contest. I do suspect that Argentina's world class forwards will do an awful lot better than ours (Rooney??)

    Lastly, I have to say that Capello had a disaster and on the basis that he's paid six million a year to not do that, he should be sacked. Qualifying is all very well but he lost the plot between qualification and the tournament. The only thing we had that was something different and might scare the oppo from the bench was Walcott - so he didn't pick him at all. He then played Green and Upson - so he couldn't have watched West Ham much last season. Crouch scores for fun for England - so let's bring on Heskey from the bench. Oh, and Shaun Wright-Phillips - why?? Rooney had a poor tournament but in his slight defence, why did we play a system that didn't have one of our better players (Gerrard) in the hole behind him? Blah, blah, blah - the icing on the cake for me was when he was asked afterwards: 'Will you be resigning, Fabio?' and his reply was: 'I don't understand the question'. This strict disciplinarian, the saviour of English football - my backside, he
    can't even speak s*dding English! I've got my own views on what makes a good manager but I tell you something that frankly everyone should agree with - they've got to be able to speak the same language!!!

    Apologies for lengthy waffle.

  • Comment number 14.

    It starts with Capello and ends with players who's hype is larger than their production. England was playing with the wrong system for the players that were picked. Picking King and Ferdinand knowing their injuries and past season did not justify the pick and never playing Dawson who was the one true Central Defender who could have teamed with Terry is a Managerial blunder. Capello is not worth the money, he alone picked the team.

  • Comment number 15.

    Phil, I read with disappointment the fact that your whole article is not adressing the fundamental problem that has continued to dog England for more than two decads now-'Kick and rush". I know it will not sound like good music but as die hard fan of the Three Lions I have always wished for a big England humiliation so those concerned could have the courage to look beyond the hype created by people like you when England beat the likes of Slovenia.

    We can go on and on about the disallowed goal,selection, or blame Fabio and individual like Rooney for having failed to show up but as long as Simon Clifford's Brazilian-style soccer schools have not borne fruits England's hopes will always be shatterd by teams with more ball retentive midfielders.

    Much as we may not be willing to look at this, the likes of Lampard and Gerrald only shine at Club level because their lack of ball skills is covered by foreign players. When playing for England players are always keen to let go of the ball. How do you expect Rooney to score when there is no service from midfielders and the wingers? The blame should rest not with England players but with those that trained them at an early age for failure to emphasize on ball control, how to keep possesion when you need it most.

  • Comment number 16.

    OK, here is what we need to do:

    - Bin the current squad
    - sack the entire FA
    - Boycott the press hype / oversimplified dross
    - invest in proper UEFA coaching for schools
    - insist the EPL has a proper winter break
    - ensure the England team get proper meaningful fixtures and time to gel
    - campaign for reduced player wages (being prepared to cut our TV subscription if need be)
    - Boycott nonsense player advertising (posing around like heroes when they are anything but)
    - make football fun again
    - make playing for England something to aspire to again
    - never pick Emile Heskey for England again

    Will any of this happen? No, of course it won't. And we'll be in exactly the same position in 4 years time.

  • Comment number 17.

    I think it is amazing that still people are going on about Gerrard playing behind Rooney as if that would have made such a significant difference that Rooney, Lampard, Barry, Lennon, Upson, Johnson and Terry would all of a sudden look world beaters and England would have been victorius. I think Capello owes you an apology as he obviously didnt listen to you - what does he know about football hey.
    And yet again why do you decide to question every decision Capello made when you, along with the rest of the country, loved him previously.
    Just accept our players are not good enough and move on to another subject

  • Comment number 18.

    Once again Chris Waddle has got it right. It went wrong but what are we going to do about it? Appoint a new manger? Hype up another average 17 year old who can run fast? Or shall we try to fix the problem at grass roots?

    It may cost a lot of money and take a lot of time but there is no option but to sort out the problems at the grass roots of English football.

    Will the FA sort it out? Do they ever?

  • Comment number 19.

    How the hell has Rooney got a rating of 5? He had no first touch and was by far the worst player in every game.

  • Comment number 20.

    Your article misses the biggest problem England faces, this is true in every WC tournament. The player play too many games they are burnt out. The EPL has more teams and more games than the Dutch, Bundeslig, Serie A or La Liga. There are more competitions, Carling Cup and the FA Cup on top of the Champions League and Europa. Other than Tevez name me one EPL player doing well.. Torres is not doing well for Spain, Drogba hardly lit up Ivory Coast, it is noteworthy that Van Persie is doing well because he was out most of the season. When will we stop burning out our best players just so some rich speculators can make a killing in club football.
    The World Cup is the biggest most important competion in football, it is time the FA took note of what the Germans do, make the World Cup THE number one priority. And if that means Rooney has to miss a Champions League semi final to rest and get better,and Gerrard needs a couple of weeks at a beach in Greece well thats just fine with me

  • Comment number 21.

    Agree with most of the blog but would add that England qualified in a very easy group with the Croatian team that were a shadow of the side who had stopped England going to Euro 2008 ending the reign of mclaren.

    England were a car crash waiting to happen!

    The chosen 23 were announced in a random senseless way which was the way a number of the picks seemed to have been made. Warnock in because Baines deemed not good enough was hardly a glowing endorsement of the Villa man and the desperate attempt to get scholes in. There were also rumours that Hargreaves who had played 1min of football close to a call up!

    The warm up games against Mexico and japan failed to light the nations imagination with few players covering themselves in glory, rob green looked good but still no game for Dawson or warnock. Rooneys dissent against platinum all stars was a worrying sign but gave no hint of what was to come!

    Capellos secrecy with team selection did not help the players. Greens howler against the USA was a nightmare but we still created enough chances to win the game. Wright Phillips, inexplicable selected ahead of the man who kept him on the bench at eastlands adam Johnson (another of capellos golden rules broken) and heskey the striker who doesn't score being the worst culprits.

    Onto Algeria and the worst performance by England that most people had seen in living memory. Rooney showing even less than against the Americans and many occasions when he showed the sort of touch that wouldn't see him selected for park football. Capello showed the lack of any coherant plan for when things going badly.

    Terry's press conference whilst spoken honestly further indicated that England were in a lot worse state than we thought and a lack of unity and spirit.

    Barry was deemed to be the saviour before the Slovenia game, (his selection announced days beforehand as opposed to the rest of the side)and as a friend pointed out if that's the case England really have got problems. The performance whilst a marked improvement on the previous one still did not show the sort of conviction that the so called "golden generation" were there to pick up the trophy or at least be in the mix for it at the business end of the competition.

    The german game was the final nail in the coffin as oezil and co picked apart England at will with exquisite movement and passing which made england look second class. Yes, the goal that never was had a large bearing on the result as Germany were rattled and England showed albeit briefly that they could compete. However, it also provides a scapegoat which masks the failings of the team. One of the most disturbing elements for me was when at 4-1 down Defoe was taken off for Heskey which made no sense from any perspective!

    The game showed that us a number of things, one if which is that the 442 that we plays is too inflexible, especially when gerrard is played out of position. Other teams are capable of adapting and playing with far more fluidity. Barry also had an absolute shocker providing no cover for the back four. Capello picked both joe cole and peter crouch and yet seemed to have no faith in them at all, which is odd since crouch has good record for england and cole done it before!

    We need big changes and a number of players upson and heskey should never be selected again. Whilst they try hard they are just not upto it. The system needs to change and players should not be played out of position like we do so often. We also need to find out what was wrong with Rooney, billed as one of the big 4 players of the tournament he was virtually anonymous.

    I personally think that Capello will go, having a 2 week 'cooling off period' does not suggest that the FA are behind Capello and club management which he excelled at is a lot different to the international game.

    I think that Roy Hodgson is the man for the job

  • Comment number 22.

    Two things are silly: the level of blame heaped on Capello now, when after 2006, England fans whinged about the level of freedom gifted to the players. The second is losing 4-1 to Germany has sparked such anger.

    4-1 when it could have been level at the break and England would not have pushed so hard for a goal in the end? No excuses, things happen without technology to prove it, and a good team would know to shut their back door before rushing out the front door.....England aren't that good team. 'Nuff said.

  • Comment number 23.

    The players lack basic skill and cannot work as a team.

  • Comment number 24.


    I completely disagree that Rob Greens mistake was Capello's fault as you insinuate, also disagree that the timing of the squad announcements had anything to do with it either. I mean, is it really too much to ask a squad of 23 ‘professional’ footballers to all be ready for the game – all of them should be ready to play at a moment’s notice.

    What would happen if someone got injured in the warm up would we really accept the excuse of “oh well I only found out I was going to be playing 15mins before the kickoff that’s why I was so bad” – of course we wouldn’t...

    I also don’t buy the talk about the formation being the problem; against Germany we essentially did play a 4-5-1 as Rooney was consistently coming back so deep. Do you honestly believe that Rooney off of Defoe vs Gerard off of Rooney is the difference between winning the world cup or not? Come on....

    Also all this talk about Joe Cole is kind of pointless – he “might” of made the difference, he might have been no better than the rest and made none. You can’t criticise Capello on the basis of hindsight and what if – especially when he has a significantly better managerial CV than you or I.

    John Terry should keep his mouth shut – again comes back to being ‘professional’ – while you and the other tabloid vultures love a good scoop – plain speaking to the media doesn’t help England’s cause one iota.

    The gamble on King was not a gamble – he was declared fit to play and his injury vs the USA was a new one and could have happened to anyone. Again – what if’ and hindsight....

    Barry has shown he is not good enough at this level – fingers crossed for Hargreaves back soon.

    While its a shame Capello persisted with Heskey – what was the alternative? Not like we had Villa or Higuain on the bench? Crouch has a good goal scoring record only against minnows and encourages us to hoof it up the park to him even more than Heskey does which wasn’t going to get us anywhere. He could have persisted with Defoe but really what had he done against Germany – nothing...

    Biggest problems in my opinion are that “English” football has become far too dependent on the physical aspects rather than the technical ones. We don’t ever look as comfortable with the ball at feet and passing it around as other sides do – even Algeria made us look bad at this.

    International football requires teams to vary but more importantly set a tempo which you can’t do if you can’t hold on to the ball and use it effectively. I lost count on Sunday of the amount of over hit passes and poor first touches when you then combine this with the worse defending I have ever seen and we were lucky to only lose 4-1.

    Frankly I think the system should bear the brunt of the criticism – we need more English coaches with UEFA qualifications who emphasise technical ability over physical ability. Another generation of Sam Allaydce’s does us no favours and means we’ll always be second best in any major tournament.

  • Comment number 25.

    Maybe the premier league needs to take awinter break before any big international tournaments,so the team can get together earlier to maybe gel better. Cappello should be given a chance to put things right in the 2012 Euros. One bad tournament doesn`t make Cappello a bad manager, He has a proven record.

  • Comment number 26.

    Where did it go wrong?,well basically,we don't have any world class players,Rooney world class?,most overated player in the England side,he's not fit to be mentioned in the same sentance as Messi,Kaka,etc.Some of the blame must go with Capello though some of his player choices were a bit be-musing e.g Upson-has he had a good season at West Ham?-er no,Heskey-is he a goalscorer-er no, Aaron Lennon,Shaun Wright Phillips,have they had good seasons,have they played much this season-er no,i could carry on.The Premiership might be the most exciting league in the world,but lets face if it was'nt for the foreign players,it would'nt be.So we just have to face facts,while there's so many foreign players in our leagues England will never be a world force in football until it changes

  • Comment number 27.

    The taking of the unfit players along with the dearth of possible replacements out of the young guns who didn't come through this season or were injured and never recovered is just a prime example of why Scotland went down the tubes too many foreigners, no laddies getting blooded and you end up like this.

    Scottish clubs are back bringing them through because they are skint but the Premiership will not because, who will chance playing a talented English youngster when he can fill that space with Manuel Gimmecash from somewhere hot who is marginally better than the boy only because he has got experience somewhere along the line.

  • Comment number 28.

    England were mediocre in the group games, granted. Don't under estimate or diminish the athleticism and commitment of the Germans, they are strong, young and motivated and they are supported by a strong, focussed football administration that has a vision for success. I watched the Germans dismantle Australia (and before you all groan, the Aussies were at about the same standard as England in this tournament - if not better on some parts of the field). What was the difference? As the Germans were strong, young and motivated with unified support throughout their football management; England and Australia on the other hand were slow, aging and indifferent with some passing interest from their various administrations (more focussed on counting cash than being part of the commitment). Australia had a visionary in Johnny Warren who said that football in Australia shouldn't focus on qualification to the tournament with a stretch goal of the 1/4 finals, but structure to win the trophy. Johnny is dead alas, and so is Australia's vision. England and Australia both need someone to have the vision of winning the trophy and then galvanising football to make it happen. It is what the fans want, after all. Lack of vision = lack of success

  • Comment number 29.

    Capello will always see football from an italian point of view, not an english one. In turn, the english players are representing one of the most english aspects of sports, both in spirit and in football: being part of the national team for England, not for Capello's England(Capellos England is a contract). Coach and players see and feel things differently...time to switch to an english coach.

  • Comment number 30.

    A bit off-topic, but I don't understand this fascination of overpaid, over-pampered footballers and the expectation that they should be better than their peers at their job.

    Most of the planet are unable to discuss football on the internet because of poverty. We are. If we had a bad day at work or bad week or whatever would any of us accept the argument that you're overpaid/overpampered compared to most of the planet....therefore you are useless??


    I am sure there are many players on equally obscene salaries that did not even make it to the last 16 of the World Cup (sure Italy/France have a 'few').

    If the England team didn't look as if they cared then you might have a point, but I believe they genuinely care to the point of busting a gut to play in a World Cup final.

    If they are not good enough (which in England's case, with a world ranking of 8th) to win a World Cup, but care, then what more can we ask. most of the planet you/we are 'millionaires'. Travel some and see for yourselves if you don't believe me. :-(

  • Comment number 31.

    3 comments in and someone's already mentioned the 'Golden Generation' brilliant. The phrase is only ever used when preceded by the words 'so-called'. Please stop using it. Nobody has ever used it for this group of players.

    Too many players don't like each other and show no passion or commitment for their country. Gerrard as captain? Laughable. Quality player but he couldn't inspire a cat.

  • Comment number 32.

    50 years ago Sunderland tried to buy success and failed. In the last 10 years Chelsea have spent millions and gone through a series of managers with very little to show for it. Bobby Robson at Ipswich and Brian Clough at Derby and Notts Forest proved that team spirit and tactics are of far greater import than money and so-called star players.Germany have built their team around a cadre of young players who have come up together - in exactly the same manner as Alex Fergusons original young Man U lions did.We need an english manager, possibly Stuart Pearce, to take the best of our youth players and mould them as a team - forget the stars - and let them do their stuff.

  • Comment number 33.

    I suppose we get what we deserve. In the EPL the focus isn't on keeping possession because if you lose the ball you just have to wait a few seconds for the opposition to lose it back. At international level the ball doesn't come back quite as easily though as the opposition retains possession better. Despite that, England players prefer the hopeful hoof forward because they know that passing sideways and backwards is seen as negative and will result in booing from the "fans." Even at my beloved Liverpool a significant number of fans think Lucas is rubbish because he does the simple things...he finds space, makes himself available, controls the ball and passes it to another red shirt. If England had concentrated on doing that they might have won.

  • Comment number 34.

    We need the manager to start picking the best team instead of the best 11 players. Fabregas is class but cant get in the Spain side because the manager thinks Iniesta and Xavi are better players. If this was England he would be playing left back just to cram him into the side. Pick your best player for each position instead of sticking square pegs in round holes. If it means leaving out a so called big name then so be it, its these decisions that earn the manager his corn

  • Comment number 35.

    I hear what everyone is saying about England's overall performance, but lest we not forget that for some seven minutes before half time, we came from 2-0 down to what should have been 2-2. That would have meant that England would have gone in, on the psycholigical up and then whom knows what could have happened. We all know the game would have become tighter, less open and England would have got away with it and perhaps a lot stronger. Frankly, there is another angle to this sorry tale. FIFA are to blame for Lampard's disallowed goal and particularly Blatter, for defending the position of no technology. I was so appalled to see no comment from FIFA either on their website or at their press conference over the goal and so outraged by their article on their website basically quoting how rubbish England were, by using tabloid press statements that when I wanted my voice heard on one of their blogs, which I politely wrote, guess what? The moderator did not publish my comments. The point I made was that their reporting was very biased, imbalanced and insensitive. I telephoned FIFA in Switzerland and whilst the lovely sounding girl told me how sorry she was and that she had lots of telephone calls about this, she invited me to write in. I told her that given my experience with the blog I very much doubted I would get a response. That's the way it seems FIFA behave, which does not say much about their slogan of 'FAIR PLAY'. To top it all, what should I say to my 6 year old nephew whom sat with he knowing that injustice had been done. He simply said: "Please tell me that was a goal, it was over the line, why is it not a goal? That's not really very fair".

    I rarely write, but this has moved me to. Unbelievable!

  • Comment number 36.

    We had the worst defence of any recent England team. Selecting 2 attacking full backs against world class opposition shows contempt. Our 2 centre backs looked like they were strangers and neither are quick enough.
    We should have played 4,4,1,1, with Gerard sitting behind Rooney. Midfield wasn't too bad though we would have afforded the defence more protection with Carrick playing alongside Barry, and created width with Milner and Lennon. Taking Walcott would not have been such a gamble(how many of the 23 didnt get a run) and he could of added some spice coming on at the 60 minute mark.
    Overall you cannot build a structure without a solid foundation and our defence was well short of world class.

  • Comment number 37.

    Sorry Fabio. £5m + pa for orchestrating that debacle? Time to go and to turn to Harry Redknapp or Roy Hodgson to take us forward like an England club side.

    This exit from South Africa has to be seen as a watershed but even if we make serious changes in the structure and coaching ideals I think it would probably take another 12 years minimum for results to come through

    As Chris Waddle has said it is time for the FA to change. The FA Council is top heavy with amateurs. We need the Burton national training centre asap. As a country we need to teach youngsters ball skills. We need to get back to basics. The ball isn't a hot potato. When you've got it the team keep hold of it.

    We have to address why 80% of academy players make the grade in Argentina and Brazil whereas only 20% make it in the UK.

    There has to be restrictions on foreign players in the Premiership so that our youngsters can progress.

    The England under 21 team would have put up a better show.

  • Comment number 38.

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  • Comment number 39.

    In the early and mid-nineties there were limits on the number of foreign players that could be included in the team for an European match. I recall George Graham's Arsenal being demolished by Benfica and Manchester United being humbled by Barcelona. The limit was eventually deemed to be contrary to EU regulations and it was lifted, and shortly afterards United won the 1999 Champions League.

    Placing limits on foreigners will harm the clubs but it won't help England. It certainly didn't help before so why would it now?

  • Comment number 40.

    All these issues don't really explain how good players didn't play well. In fact they seem fairly minor details that are magnified to be gaping flaws after a heavy defeat.
    I don't think anybody had major problems with the squad Capello selected at the time. Nobody who deserved to be playing was left at home. And Rooney didn't play well because they were in a monastery? And he got himself sent off 4 years ago because Sven let him have his girlfriend around? Come on. Our good players were rubbish, our bad players were rubbish. We go home.

  • Comment number 41.

    Rodwell, Wilshere and Johnson all need to start pulling on the shirt soon. I'm also keeping optimistic about Danny Welbeck and even Lee Cattermole.

    Worth a go, surely?

  • Comment number 42.

    Hi Phil,

    Hinesight is a precious commodity in journalists life. Wasn't this Capello that was going to sort England out. Wasn't this Capello that will bring discipline to England. Wasn't this Capello that was England's best chance of glory. Now look what happened.

    We breezed through a qualifying group with Croatia in it, a team that destroyed England for the Euro qualifiers, a team that is a LOT BETTER THAN any of our three opponents in our group.

    So what happened??

    I have two theories about this:

    1. The media pressure and the constant circus that surrounds England managed to penetrate Capello. This stern manager actually started to pay attention to what was happening in the media, more so than what was going on in the camp. When the media starting calling for Heskey to be dropped, he dropped him and brough Defoe on. When the media spoke about Joe Cole, suddenly Joe Cole started making his subs appearances. Capello seemed clearly nervous, showing his emotions after the win against Slovenia. This manager shows no emotions (apart from anger) and he hasnt done so with any of the teams that he has managed in the past. But this emotion was not genuine happiness, instead it was relief.

    2. Something happened to England even BEFORE they reached South Africa. England have been playing devastating, fast, pass and move football during the qualifiers and suddenly they all ground to a halt. Where Capello was the master of Plan B, C and D in terms of tactics, suddenly we reverted to the classic 4-4-2 formation. Even I understand that if someone plays against a classic 4-4-2 formation with a 4-4-1-1 with a certain Oizil playing between the lines, you have to put an extra man in midfield otherwise you'll be taken apart.
    In Istanbul (yes I am a LFC supporter), AC Milan were walking all over Liverpool because of the freedom that Kaka had playing between the lines. Rafa introduced Didi Hamman in the midfield and that threat was eliminated. What Capello did was substitute like for like, as if Joe Cole was going to be a bigger threat than Milner was, like Heskey was going to be more of a threat than Defoe was.

    I fully agree with you that a really flexible 4-4-1-1 would have seen England progress further in the tournament. At least it would've won us the group. James, Johnson, Carra, Terry, A.Cole, Lennon, Barry, Lampard, J. Cole, Gerrard, Rooney. Now that says to me YOU BE SCARED OF US.

    I do not think that Capello should remain as England manager, not because he is not a great coach and a great manager, but because he allowed to be shaken both inside the camp and out of it.

    Due to the fact that a certain Portugese GENIOUS is otherwise engaged, I would look toward Guus Hiddink to stear us toward the Euro's. And please, however is dishing out the contract please offer a 2+2 year contract, so you dont end up paying millions in compensation.

  • Comment number 43.

    England's players are flattered in the Premier League by foreign players that know how to create space on and off the ball.

    This space allows your Gerrard's, Lampard's and Rooney's the time and space they need to score goals or play 'hollywood' passes.

    It's easy to spot the failings. How many times did no-one show for an Ashely Cole throw-in making him squander possesion? Who was moving to create the angles and space for James to play passes out through the defence rather than long balls? Ditto defence to midfield, ditto midfield to attack. Zero simple interlink.

    The concept of movement off the ball to create anngles for simple passes is one of the most basic concepts of possesion football. Why is it so difficult for English players to grasp?

  • Comment number 44.

    I agree that the players have to take responsibility for what can only be described as shambolic performances. however capello made some decisions that baffled everyone, why were heskey and wright phillips on the plane they both have english players ahead of them for their clubs and neither have shone for england recently. if capello wants to play with width then why did he not take a left winger, i think capello should go as hes too stubborn to change a new regime needs to be brought in and new players, why not promote pearce as he has a good relationship with our U21 players and can blood them into the senior setup

  • Comment number 45.

    "saw himself painted as the ringleader of a behind-the-scenes coup"? Who was it that painted this picture? What evidence was there of a coup? As a nation we seem to be obsessed with padding out our 24hr news coverage with these fabrications. These negative, sensationalist and quite often random interpretations of any minor event on or off the field must be partly to blame for the pressure that our team seem to suffocate under. We have a coach who, as usual, was called upon when we were flat on our backs and managed to deliver some excellent results. Incredibly, he wants to carry on. Can we not give Capello a decent crack at the job rather than hire some other poor sap for the customary two year cycle of pain...

  • Comment number 46.

    England's problems go for deeper than the manager. We've tried every kind of manager there is with similarly disappointing results. We need to look at the entire structure of the game in England. Funny that Argentina, Brazil, Holland, Germany and (until this year) France all regularly outperform us at the World Cup, yet their domestic leagues are less popular. Is the Premier League the problem? Too many foreigners, too much media hype, over-rated (and overpaid) English players who seem unwilling to improve their skills abroad... As a nation - and a team - we seem to buy into the hype.

    Second problem: We lack the basic skills of touch, pass and move. It's embarrassing that even small countries like Algeria show more comfort on the ball. Sure we have some decent individuals but much of the squad lacks these basics and time after time we end up looking like headless chickens next to the opposition. I read somewhere that Spain (another country with a strong league and a history of underperforming at World Cups) invested in grass roots coaching 15 years ago and is currently reaping the rewards. Meanwhile England still lacks the coaches needed to build these kind of foundations. Instead, all our cash seems to be injected at the top - and much of that is spent on developing foreigners like Mr Fabregas.

    Football is not rocket science. There are three vital ingredients to winning: Passion, skills and teamwork. In the past England have made up for a lack of skills with buckets of passion and a team ethic. This year we appeared to lack all three.

    Let's ignore the Premier League circus, invest in grassroot skills and look to build a squad of players that are skillful, familiar with each other's game and function as a TEAM. Yes, like the Germans. Until then it won't matter which fall guy is in the dug-out.

  • Comment number 47.

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  • Comment number 48.

    You can change the manager, but you can't change the players!

    Why did Capello pretty much select the same squad as SGE apart from a few?
    Walcott may have had a poor season, but him vs SWP, there is only one winner!
    Adam Johnson as well is better than SWP. As for SWP coming on as a sub on the left hand side instead of Joe Cole, that was just baffling. Clearly JC was a dissenter in the camp otherwise he is one of the first names on the team sheet IMHO.

    As for Heskey (or Donskey), dear oh dear. Why the hell didn't he choose Bent?!!! And what about Dawson? Upson or Dawson...Hmm, really tough choice!

    Capello has to go. The selection of players for the WC was WOEFUL!

    And why did he keep the only player who can actually control a game, Carrick, on the bench, whilst hit and runners like Lumpard and Gerrard were playing?

    Ok Gerrard was the captain so there should have been a midfield of COLE-CARRICK-GERRARD-MILNER.

    Lampard is vastly overrated, exposed in the 2 world cups, i hope he retires because he opitomises why the english game is so backward compared to the Germans, Spaniards, Brazilians etc.

    I knew we would have a poor WC because there was no one in midfield who could control a game and pass the ball around. Nearly every side at the WC had a player like that apart from us.

    No wonder Capello was begging for Scholes to get on that plane.

  • Comment number 49.

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

  • Comment number 50.

    I have a nightmare. Capello stays and selects Beckham in his first squad of the autumn. A new start with THIS guy? Dont make me laugh.

  • Comment number 51.

    everyone goes on about the structure of how players are coached in this country and i do agree to a point thats its not up to par but there are players in this country that are good enough and have the qualities its just that are not given the oppotunities and chances because of the influx of foriegn players in are game and im sorry but some of the foriegn players that have come over here that i have seen are nothink special infact some dont even touch the above averge level, also why should we copy how other countries go about things we have our own style of play and when its pulled off to the best of our abilities the other countires struggle to handle it play the right players in there positions give english talent the experience and time to play in our own game and they will be good enough because at the end of the day the games they play the more they will learn and improve on!!!

  • Comment number 52.

    IMHO Capello should continue but the FA have to ensure that he fully understands the following conditions.....
    1) The so called golden generation are history.
    2) He agrees to be more flexible re: Formation, tactics etc.
    3) To nurture the younger generation of players currently in the u19's,u21's etc with a view to these players becoming the core of the future England team (obviously only if good enough) irrespective of which club they play for or how famous they have or have not become.
    To see Cole(A) and Lampard laughing when disembarking the flight from bloemfontein really made my blood boil.... As far as I am concerned this showed a complete lack of respect for the fans who had to sit through the shamefully bad display that they had played their part in a few hours earlier. They should never pull on an England shirt again in my opinion, I would even go as far to say the entire team should apologise enbloc to all the travelling supporters who they let down with three if not four very abject displays!

  • Comment number 53.

    hey phil good blog,

    now is time for serious soul searching cos if not as someone did say yesterday england would become as ordinary as scotland and wales, its time to adit that we are not good enough, the name of the game nowadays is youth, and if england wants to move forward then we have to look at the youths.

  • Comment number 54.

    I don't see how Rooney got the same rating as Johnson. Admittedly Johnson was awful in defence, but we looked far more likely to score when he had the ball than when Rooney did.

  • Comment number 55.

    Phil, with each blog I become increasingly frustrated with you. In fact, every time I've switched on BBC or Sky Sports(I dont have ITV, so god knows how frustrated I could be) during the build up and the actual tournament, I've been infuriated by the blindness and stupidity of the pundits and "experts".

    Firstly, I'm Irish but I follow the PL closely and hoped England would do well. It has been clear to me for some while though that the English team does not have the same technical skills of even the most average of the World Cup nations. The end to end nature of the PL means that the England players dont seem to be able to play a possession game or use the ball effectively in tight spaces. Watch Brazil, or Chile, or Germany or Argentina(hell even Algeria were superior to England in this area). They can keep possession and they dont need mountains of space to create something. They are also able to choose the simple pass ahead of a near impossible defence splitting pass that England players seemed to choose at every chance.

    I believe there is something fundamentally wrong with the coaching in England. I also believe the hype surrounding the premiership and the pedestal that some of these players are put on has a very negative effect. The EASY headline after the group draw is a prime example of the psychological approach England's media and players had to these games, that Gerrard is supposedly worth 30 million, Rooney 60 etc. etc. so England have the right to win without showing up. One area you have refused to criticise in England's campaign is the influence yet again of a highly expectant and invasive media. Knee-jerk doesnt even cover it. You are part of the problem.

    The amount of talent coming through in Germany & Spain is dwarfing Englands. Adam Johnson and Joe Hart are England's great hopes. Compare that to the likes of Oezil, Muller, Pedro, Messi etc. Its a sad state of affairs. I'm a Liverpool fan and the fact that nothing has come through our academy worth mentioning since Gerrard is a worrying fact.

    Something is wrong with the coaching...

  • Comment number 56.

    Maybe it is about time that people realise how poor English players are at the basic skills of the game. Hitting long balls, waiting for mistakes, not being able to pass properly, control the ball or move properly into space is endemic in the English game. It's just a case that teams get away with it in the Premiership because everyone gives the ball back so often.

    England has no decent goalkeepers (there are probably at least 10 non-English keepers better than any English keeper)
    At full back the only one who is any good is Ashley Cole and you have no right back who can defend.
    At centre back Terry is covered at Chelsea by Carvalho and Essien etc
    In midfield Lampard/Gerrard play the same role and need the likes of Essien/Mascherano/Alonso with them to enable them to play that way.

    If you look at the top teams in the Premiership nearly all the main players aren't English or don't play for England...
    Chelsea - Lampard/Terry/Cole/Cole J who can't get a game
    Man Utd - Rooney/Ferdinand/Carrick who also can't get a game
    Arsenal - None
    Liverpool - Gerrard

  • Comment number 57.

    It is a shame that the so called Golden generation has yet again failed miserably at a major tournament. Since 2001 when England beat Germany 5- 1 in Munich everyone thought that we be soon world cup winners, unfortunatly due to mistakes penalty shoot outs and sending offs we have failed.
    Now the tables have turned with Germany brillant performance at this years world cup and with an average age of 24 could be winning major tornaments over the next ten years.
    England though have got problems for they do not think ahead, and it will be a struggle for us to qualify let alone win these competitions as we have a problem with lack of young quality players that Germany has got in abudance. It is now the premier league to get there act together and give these kids a chance in the big league or we will suffer in the longer run

  • Comment number 58.

    The whole English nation are simply deluded when it comes to international football. The fans can blame anyone or anything they want but the simple fact that decades of failure has failed to embed is that the English national side has never been as good as it thinks it is.

    It really is that simple.

    If the nation would act with any kind of humility or dignity other nations wouldn't relish their failures so much but every tournament is approached by the English with a completely unfounded sense of bravado and arrogance that baffles and angers the rest of the planet.

  • Comment number 59.

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  • Comment number 60.

    I completely agree!
    The FA r running England in completely the wrong way!
    FA r wasting our money
    The Premier League is the main blame, English premier league have too many foreign players
    English players are overpaid, they do not care, money is more important 4 them than playing football!!

  • Comment number 61.

    Barry is a joke. Carrick should be first choice. Walcott has to play a role. Adam Johnson or Airy Lennon give me a break. Joe cole has to play. Crouch is a shoe in as our pathetic "strikers" are non existent. Rooney was the worst I've ever seen, his touch speed and strength were gone. Tired ? Injured still ? Dafoe should play on the wing not up front. Terry the most overated CB in the world.We die at the back without Ferdy. We have to blood the young upcoming players early.

  • Comment number 62.

    Here is my take on the england demise … ITS NOT because of foreigners coming to our league …its down to you england…its down to the fact we pick the same players , even when its proven it does not work for 4 consecutive tournaments … its because we DEMOTIVATE english players for even trying to play for england IF they are not a top four team… what do I mean ??? you think how many chances the “golden generation” got based on pundits and it never works with them and you think giving players who are not part of this top four clique got , bent 45mins, scott parker 30 mins, hart 90 mins, (they must honestly think whats the pint he not going to pick me any way and opposition laugh as they know who we pick each time and know the vast flaws in the team sheet) its down to the fact VERY GOOD english players are not being picked because they don’t play for top four teams, the only way players get picked for england is if they play for champions league teams, this in effect causes some of englands finest talents to rather sit on the bench of a top 4 club than play for a lower league team … this in turn forces players hastily to leave their clubs for bigger teams in the hope they get to play for them and then get picked for england , they are the real ones who want to play for the country , they even risk there careers…. And if they end up staying on the bench for long enough hoping for that call they then get sold and are never considered for england as they don’t play for a top four club, scott carson is prime example of this, (not saying he is the best, but it shows just because he was not played in liveprool anymore he was dropped and because when he played for liverpool he was picked) …. We almost just say to english players don’t bother coming to play for england unless you have won something and my god do we then just show them they should leave their clubs to come to a big team where they are stock piled and used if they get a chance …. No other country picks players on this basis, they pick them to do a job, no successful club team have 11 super stars, there needs to be dogged-ed workers in the team and a sprinkle of flair, not other way round,…. Teach english players if you go abroad to play your football , if you go to lower league teams you will be picked for your ability… there is so many trophies people don’t recognize and we at arsenal are vilified for accepting that a top four finish is great achievement(4 trophies) Uefa Cup (2 trophies – to get in their), Carling cup, FA Cup (including the runners ups) = 10 things to aim for not to mention,…. middle table survival is great in the premiere league the world hardest league to win… players like Dunne, Ashley young, cahill, Jagielka , bent, parker, onuha (needs to be ok with getting regualr football and knowing he will be picked on form NOT club stature), whilkshire, Davies (better then heskey), downing, abouglhour, danny murphy… list goes on…but finally english players need to go abrad and if they do well aborad they should be picked….matt derbshire…. He was one of the best strikers in the league and does not get picked ???

    Motivate english players to play by saying you will be picked as long as you play top flight, like every nation !!!

  • Comment number 63.

    Phil, Sounds that you'll welcome a new manager. In your opinion who can make England evolve into a much better team?. It is easy to criticize but what about real solutions in black and white?. Your player ratings are very poor for everybody so it was a team failure, including players that were performing decently but somehow struggled at the competition. In my opinion there are other factors such as mental strength, discipline and in the end technical abilities.
    I will ask again: How many managers England have had since 1966 with what results?. If you want to blame managers, fine but seems pretty obvious that England's problems lay elsewhere.

    It is time to start being objective and give something else for a positive change if it is what you desire. Press also needs to be accountable.

  • Comment number 64.

    I'm bored....we do nothing but train, eat & sleep....we dont like Fabio he's too strict with it too much to ask that for 3 weeks every 2 years you belt up & dedicate yourselves to playing a good game of footy as entrusted to you by the selectors!!! Stop whinging & go out there & play your hearts out, if you lose at least you can hold your heads up should be the pinnacle of your careers winning an England Cap, by representing your Country.

    Fabio is not the problem, its the team of overpaid spoilt young men sent to represent England who cant play football outside their clubs. Time for a team change cos a team talk ain't working - pick players who have the right attitude & want to achieve, even if they are lesser players & dont be influenced by the media.

    Well done Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrad, James Milner, David James.....would have liked to have seen a bit more of Crouchy especially against Germany. Roo needs a rest from the England squad....I would have subbed him at half time every looked like didn't wanna be there!!

    Fabio to stay - pick a team who are worthy of wearing the 3 lions on their shirts proudly!!

  • Comment number 65.

    No attack, no defence – simple. Jermaine Defoe gave it his best but needed someone to play off. You can't seriously expect a five foot-nothing striker to win floated crosses. I'm not a David James fan, but he emerged with credit. But I ask – what did Michael Dawson & Michael Carrick have to do to get a run? Turn 35?

    Teams that are succeeding – interesting: Argentina – Argentine manager; Germany – German manager; Brazil – Brazilian manager; Netherlands – Dutch manager. Are we getting a drift here? If the fans and media are puzzled by Capello's enigmatic decisions, how do you think it affected the players?

    The job is a poisoned chalice for sure, but I think it should go to one of own, with a commitment from the FA to give him time to rebuild. And for heaven's sake – let's look at younger, hungrier players!

    My nomination for Best Performance by an Englishman? Howard Webb.

  • Comment number 66.

    And still the Gerrard hype-machine rumbles on, courtesy of Phil McNulty. 7/10!? Get real.

    I'm so sick and tired of Steven Gerrard and the non-stop overhyping that goes with him. He'll be 32 come Euro 2012 but still the likes of McNulty will be suggesting we build the team around him for that tournament.

    Tell me, Phil, when did a 30+ player last take an international tournament by storm? Not least one who in 80 plus caps has seldom shown he has the footballing intelligence or techincal ability to cope with this level of football.


    A better team - Spain - ditched a better player - Raul - so it's time to get rid of Gerrard once and for all. And some journalists with some real analysis, insight and courage to say something different would be nice too please BBC!

  • Comment number 67.

    If only England had had Fegie, Wenger, Ancelloti or more importantly, the special one, perhaps they might have performed better. Rooney was useless bcos no Nanny or Giggs or Valencia or Scholes to lay the passes. Terry was worthless bcos there was no Essien. Lampard was lamed bcos no Mikel. Gerrard was got rid off bcos no Alonso or Massarano to distribute the balls. Capello's formation was very bad for England.

  • Comment number 68.

    What might help English football improve? To begin with, ban the use of phrase "Get stuck in" from all youth fotball training sessions. Football at this international level is now largely a non-contact sport. English rough and tumble approach will get us nowhere in international tournements, no matter how much "grit" and "committment" is loved by the majority watching our domestic game. Sir Trevor Brooking and Chris Waddle know this. Give them the reins...

  • Comment number 69.

    remember when you was a kid playing in goal in the park and when the other boy scored from a free kick you said "you'll have to take it again i wasn't ready" well nobody told those english players that the games moved on !

  • Comment number 70.

    Technically the English players are vastly inferior to those of the leading football nations.
    It mirrors the lack of sophistication and intelligence that the country generally suffers from.
    Delusions of grandeur on a rather tragic scale.

  • Comment number 71.

    Lets firstly put this into perspective.. Our worse result was losing to a team ranked two places above us. Italy drew with a team ranked 73 places below them... Oh, and they also lost to a team some 29 places below them...

    With this is mind, it hasn't been as disastrous as it could have. For example, we didn't have the changing room bust-up and subsequent refusal from the players to train like our French counterparts.

    What annoys me is that every single time we go into a major tournament the British believe the hype, and become brain washed into thinking that we will undoubtedly win. When we are eventually dumped out of the tournament, we've fallen for the hype, and so we are struck with a sense of disbelief... This leads us to point the finger, and invariably it comes down to the manager.

    Sometimes it is the fault of the manager (And lets face it Capello dropped a couple of clangers over in SA), but we have as a country got into the habit of expecting our footballers to achieve the pinnacle of success every time the World Cup comes around. Well for all the armchair fans that think England can win the World Cup, think about this.... WE AREN'T THAT GOOD AT INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL! How many times have we won the World Cup??? Once, and a very long time ago. Brazil has won it 5 times, Italy 4, Germany 3 times... How can you rank England alongside any of these teams!!!! Also if you look at it from a slightly different angle, England hasn't EVER won the Euro competition...

    Maybe if such expectation wasn't placed onto everybody's shoulders, the team would perform much better. Take a team like New Zealand.. Why have they done so well?? Most probably because they can play without fear.

    I think we should keep Capello. He has had a good time with England, and has performed a minor miracle in getting the results back. His win rate with England is the second best of his career, and the best of any England manager. He is a great manager, and perhaps he is mostly to blame for us believing we could win the cup.

    Many of the players will be towards the end of their international career by now, but you can't really rule them all out of the next World Cup just yet. Think how old Beckham is at the moment...

    Where we desperately need to improve is at grass roots level, and unless the money is spent, we will always be looking to point the finger somewhere... There is only so many times you can get away with sacking the manager before you realise that he isn't the problem!

  • Comment number 72.

    re 16 dustraiser

    And who exactly are all these technically gifted players who allow gerrard to shine for liverpool? Kuyt? Lucas? Ngog? Babel?

    Gerrard, Lampard and Rooney are extremely technically gifted players and to suggest that England struggled against the USA's, Slovenia's and Algeria's journeymen because they are technically inferior is garbage.

  • Comment number 73.

    Hey Phil, you certainly got the same views I have had through this World Cup. The sad thing is, there were many more than this as im going to remind you off...

    1. Theo Walcott,

    not taking him was massive error, i knew this straight away. Cast your mind back to when arsenal were trailing Barca at home and they brought Walcott on who inspired a comeback. This is exactly the kind of player we needed in the germany game, young, fast and unpredictable, something we so clearly lacked.

    2. Taking BOTH Lennon and Wright Philips.

    Another massive error, they are way too simarlar of players and didnt offer enough flexibilty as walcott or adam johnson would have done.

    3. Said he would change, but didnt

    Was pleaded with to change after the algeria game because the entire system wasnt working. He said and i quote ' i will try to change ' which he didnt really. Look at the Slovenia game, it was the same predictable system just replacing 2 players. The only thing that got us through the game with a win was the fans and the players motivation to win in a system that didnt work....1-0 reflects that entirely. It gave us false hope in thinking we were 'fixed' which didnt fool me 1 bit and i said its stil not working.
    I also said if we play germany playing 4-4-2 we'd get hammered, i was sadly proved right.

    3. No Plan B

    you'd think on his wages he'd have a backup plan, clearly not. Against Algeria he decided to put wayne rooney on the left wing when bringin crouch and defoe on. He also brought on Joe Cole to play up front against Slovenia whilst Gerrard was stil left wing, 2 positions that needed to be swapped BIG TIME!.
    Against the germans, he brought on emile heskey when we need a miracle comeback...says it all!

    4. Steven Gerrard

    Doesnt play 4-4-2, best position behind toress, not a left winger, no purpose watsoever playing in that position except cutting inside leaving huge huge gaps on the left and in midfield which were easily exploited by the pacey germans, something so obvious before the game even begun i felt.
    Germany had Oezil playing their gerrard role. We had nobody playing 'the gerrard role' when he was on the left wing, he couldnt do dissapointing.

    5. 3 chances, failed all 4


  • Comment number 74.

    While I'm not going to claim Heskey is the greatest striker England has to offer - he isn't - he at least contributed an assist to England's first goal.

    That's more than almost all of the rest of the England squad. And if the stat mentioned in the BBC live text for the Netherlands - Slovakia game is true - that "Wayne Rooney lost the ball or was tackled in possession more than any other player at the Fifa 2010 World Cup" - then the rating of 5 for Rooney is incredibly generous!

  • Comment number 75.

    We need to get over it - the players just weren't good enough as a team. The group stage was an embarassment including the euphoria surrounding a slim win over a country of 2 million people with players even most Slovenians couldn't name. If national pride and passion could have taken us through we would have won but tactics, a lack of attacking players (yes, Rooney, you were not on Safari) and a woeful back four(notwithstanding JT and Ashley Cole may continue to be distracted) were all to blame (as was the cameo rather than leading man role of Joe Cole). Should Capello go? I'm not convinced enforcing a prison (albeit first class prison) regime on the players was sensible - but worth a try. However, if he stays, I would suggest he should at the very least make a gesture to the cash strapped country willing to give him another chance and take a massive salary sacrifice diverting the money to the UK overseas aid budget supporting childrens charities in South Africa (a similar gesture by all of the England team would not go amiss they can't compensate the fans but it would illustrate a degree of British compassion - something of which we can all be proud).

  • Comment number 76.

    Another blog.....:)

    Micah Richards was the next best thing when he was 18. Then they paid him 60k a week and suddenly football wasn't number one in his life. If he had continued he would be playing right back for England. Ahh I guess that why I quite loved the Championship last season.

  • Comment number 77.

    If Capello stays, it should be for four years - the World Cup should be the pinnacle of achievement the final goal as it were - the Euro Champs should only be the half-way staging post along the way. The manager should get from World Cup to World Cup - after that he's out, even if he wins it!!

    Not getting over how poor England were in the group phase - but is it just me, but did nobody else notice how offside Klose was for the first goal! I guess that got lost in the repeat of '66 incident, and I'm not saying England would have beaten Argentina anyway, but to have 2 monumental decisions go against you makes it very tough. No matter who the manager is. Let's face it though, the lads mental game throughout the whole tournament didn't look up to much anyway, there's no way we'd have won a penalty shoot out!!

    And now it seems instead of doing the right thing, FIFA's response is to ban video replays inside the ground, like that's the problem!!

    Mistakes by the officials notwithstanding, that has to be the worst that I've ever seen England play in a competitive tournament, Graham Taylor's reign included. Should Capello go - on the strength of the last four games, then the answer has to be yes, along with half the squad!!

  • Comment number 78.

    Capello has to go. Not because he's a terrible manager or because his reign has been a disaster, but because he can't justify his salary. As a manager in his position he either has to deliver results, or performances, or preferably both. He has delivered neither, so what is he being paid £6M to do? The FA doesn't need to spend nearly that much money on a manager to deliver 4 turgid performances, there are plenty of young managers who could do that for 1/100th of that amount of money.

  • Comment number 79.

    And I totally disagree with Phil's comment that the 442 is 'prehistoric'. Formations come in and out of fashion- they all have their plusses and negatives. It just so happens that 451 with a holding midfielder is the journalists formation of choice, which to coin a fashion cliche is 'so last year'. The most successful teams now, and come the next world cup most teams I guarantee (because most coaches are like sheep) will play a la Brazil, Inter, and yes, even Liverpool, with a flat back four and two holding players forming a defensive block behind the ball. Look at how well Tottenham have done this year with a traditional 442.

    BTW I don't think you can really pin blame on one particular aspect of the team, manager etc. Every single aspect of the England setup has totally failed.

  • Comment number 80.

    England have lots of talented players but they all play with non English players who support their skills. Rooney has Fletcher, Lampard has Drogba, Gerrard has Torres. The premiership by its nature will always have loads of nationalities in each team. This will hurt England more than any other National team.
    But what should worry England is not the players but the lack of top English managers. The Manchester clubs are managed by a Scot and an Italian, Arsenal by a Frenchman, Everton by a Scot and Chelsea by an Italian. In fact the only Englishman in the top clubs is Harry Redknap of Spurs.
    Give Redknap the job, allow him to develop a team of young players not for the next Euro championship or even the next World cup but for the 2016 Euros and the 2018 World cup. Allow for failure in the next Euro and World cups and you might get a team capable of winning a major championship

  • Comment number 81.

    Two frequent claims just don't stand up:

    1. "The English players were tired". Lineker pointed out this afternoon that 5 germans played more games than Rooney, Terry etc. Tevez and other non-English prem players seem to doing OK. Also Italy don't have a single prem player and they were just as woeful.

    2. "The English game is worse than everyone else at grass roots level". How do you explain the many skillful players from South America and Africa? Is the standard of coaching really so much better in the Favelas of Brazil or the slums of Ghana? Also France and Italy both put in awful performances and went out before us. Is their game bad at grass roots level too then?

    The truth is simple. Capello made literally tens of bad tactical decisions and played players who were unfit. He has to go for this alone. The players just weren't up for it and wanted to be anywhere else just like the French. Whether it's because Capello is so intolerable or they're just not that interested in playing for England is hard to say but it seems to be some combination of both. Regardless the whole situation is unacceptable and I would get rid of 90% of the current squad forever.

  • Comment number 82.


  • Comment number 83.

    i think drogba may have something to say regarding your comment,that rooney deservedely won the player of the year award.
    bent would,ve scored as many goals were he playing for utd,most of them were so easy that any decent striker would have done the same.
    bent got almost as many playing for lowly sunderland,i think rooney has to be the most overrated footballer in the history of football.
    still no shortage of excuses for him,the guy can do no wrong can he?
    now he was carrying an injury,nice one.why did he play every game including friendlies?surely he must have been passed fit by the medical team.
    drogba played with a broken arm for christ sake and still managed to score,and against better opposition than england faced,including friendlies.rooney still managed to blaze every attempt miles away from the goal,did you see the paases he made to englands opponents?
    you cant blame that on a niggling injury,the thing is he does that for utd on a regular basis.its that the ball is retreaved for him by other utd players.its the nature of the premier league,give it away and it comes back as the other team give it away as must be blind if you haven,t noticed how poor his first touch is,he,s been doing that for years.its the tap in in the 87th minute that blinds you is,nt it?
    the other 86 minutes spent with the ball bouncing yards away from him is forgotten,he gets motm from pundits everywhere and then he gets found out in tournaments like this.he has been the same since 2004 so i dont know where all this nonsence of how rooney was going to win for us comes from.
    you just could,nt make it up,could you?

  • Comment number 84.

    Dustraiser - If they haven't learned ball skills now they will never learn it. It's not to do with how they're trained, there just aren't many players who have the sort of control and comfort on the ball as xavi, iniesta etc. And Gerrard and lampard don't have bad control, just not quite as good.

    Our resident Expert - I like your ideas of carrick in midfield with Barry, atleast that way Gerrard wouldn't be so stiffled on the wing, but can lennon play on the left? For some reason I still imagine us losing and it going wrong, but maybe that's just because we are so used to it going wrong.

  • Comment number 85.

    ..As a fan Iam yet again feeling dejected- a friend asked me tonight why we couldnt play like the Brazilians- its a simple answer-- they look after their youth,mentor them into the game-Here in England what do we do? What do the top clubs do?? -They get lazy and spent Millions on foreign players. We've an old squad now,but who really do we have to replace midfielders and defenders??? germany did it with pace--why was that I ask??? There should be a cap on the amount of foreign players in a Premiership club--I'd go 60/40% (English-Foreign) Force the clubs to start investing in home grown talent.. Soho square are you listening??? I doubt it--!

  • Comment number 86.

    Phil you talk like you're a candidate for being England manager. Typical back seat criticism.

    Firstly, you continually cut down Emile Heskey. I'll admit he wasn't very effective during our campaign (who was?), but in the qualifiers, he may not have scored many but was often central, or heavily involved in the build up play. He's the sort of player, that won't score often, but causes problems and ensures players like Rooney can operate more effectively. He got the assist for Gerrard's goal against USA.

    Also you still go on about 4-4-2. Like 4-5-1 (which isn't hugely different) is something new man has just discovered in the past few years. And if you play it you'll always beat a 4-4-2 formation. 4-4-2 works, granted not with our players. Barry, and Lampard are a weak midfield. Barry looked out of his depth and unfit, while Lampard is only ever effective going forward, and with decent cover around him. Add to that 4-4-2 works well with the wide areas, and overlaps. Yet our left midfielder, Gerrard, kept drifting in. Why wasn't Joe Cole there then many people say. Well he wasn't hugely effective anyway, and also not fully match fit.

    If we're going to play 4-4-2, which I think we typically should. Then you need two strong players in central midfield. Not Barry, Lampard, or Gerrard. Time to look for some new players. You also need two decent wide players. We have plenty of options here with Lennon, Wright-Philips, Walcott, Cole.

    Up front, there are other options. Rooney is always a given, but I'm not sure about Crouch. Still only a last attempt super sub in my opinion. Time to look at clubs like Villa for fresh options.

    And the back four should have been solid, but weren't. Upson had a poor game, but I think Terry was even worse. He's excellent for Chelsea, but has never had the same form for England. Again time to look for new talent, drop the big ego, bring in someone new to partner either King or Ferdinand. As for Johnson hmmm, good going forward, but awful defensively. Maybe that's the risk you take with a more attacking fullback.

    I think Fabio should be given another go. We've gone through half a dozen managers, and people still expect more. How about we expect nothing given that we've not achieved much since 1966. Let him learn and build up a team, under his rules. I just wish he'd kick a few of the big ego's out of the squad.

  • Comment number 87.

    Heskey up front????? But Capello said that he would only take players fit and on form????? He was injured half the season other half he was appalling when he played. Poor mobility, no goals no danger, just a few headers here and there which is inevitable because of his size. A terrible player. I graduate from the University of Liverpool in 3 weeks and one of my friends there, a Villa season ticket holder, said to me Heskey is one of the worst, if not the worst player hes seen on the pitch at Villa Park.Where Spain have Torres and Villa, Argentina have Messi and Higuain and Tevez and Aguero and Milito and Germany have Klose and Muller and Gomez, England have Rooney and who............Heskey. Yet Crouch score generally when he players for England. - Why does that count for nothing?? its not the only reason but its a massive factor in Englands demise - if Heskey scores versus USA we win the group and would have played Ghana ie we may still be in the competition. Sad for players like Gerrrd and Lampard they wont see another World Cup. Everyone coated Erikson yet he took us further than Capello - pens in the last World Cup Erikson took us to, yet 4 years on we are dead and buried after 70 mins. Barry centre mid??? good on the ball but no mobility its been clear for years. he can pass is assured but sits in centre mid with no pace or agility. In modern day centre mid you cannot be immobile. You need to be dynamic. the way Oezil caught up ten yards to out pace him in build up to the fourth German goal was astonishing. Shambolic.Spain to win. the midfield is art and beauty and everything poetic about football.

  • Comment number 88.

    ..And Blatter -get off your high horse and bring in photo replays-- Iam sick of England being robbed because of blind ref's/linesmen..Enough is enough!

  • Comment number 89.

    I have never read anything from you regarding this

  • Comment number 90.

    Was this result really such a surprise? I'm as gutted as everyone else but even during our "convincing" qualifying campaign it was painfully evident that we couldn't keep the ball at all and would be punished sooner or later. So although I prayed (as as atheist) we would do well, unfortunately I was expecting a tournament like this.....Ok maybe not quite THIS bad individually - I don't like the argument that foreign players make ours look good, maybe in some ways but they don't make our players have better first touches do they? - but I never thought we'd get further than the last 16. And to be honest the last 16 flattered us based on the performances.
    So I don't think the team underachieved actually, I knew ages ago that they weren't good enough to get to the latter stages. But I will always support them.
    Come on England! 2014 World Cup Winners.......or maybe 2054

  • Comment number 91.

    yardiiboy wrote: If the nation would act with any kind of humility or dignity other nations wouldn't relish their failures so much but every tournament is approached by the English with a completely unfounded sense of bravado and arrogance that baffles and angers the rest of the planet.

    Ok mate so where are you getting your insider knowledge of the English mentality during tournaments? The press? The English press which everyone with sense ignores when it comes to sensibility? No-one but the most deluded ever thinks we'll win, even if we say it ;) We are just aware we have a chance and hope that we do well that is all. So jog on and brush your shoulder down pal.

  • Comment number 92.

    im i the only blokewho thinks england played well going forward? the back 4 were exposed down the left, with gerrard moving inside left cole exopsed to ozil and lahm. playin with 2 attackin fullback surly means barry's got to drop in and play a third centre def when we attack? fair play to the germans they did play well and we were second best, on the manager all the press and were sayin "he's a great coach" we only lost one qulifiier out of ten" , "he got the respect of the players" i could go on and on , Now the press have mad a u turn , can't have it all way fellas u make me sick to be honest. keep him on and maybe have a assistant (not pearce) who can take over when his hair does eventually turn grey!

  • Comment number 93.

    Well Phil I'm not sure what I can write as an answer to this one.
    You have answered you very own question with a very well written piece.
    The title is a question and you have answered it - comprehensively.

    The question I would like to ask is why the FA removed the clause in his contract that was there to safeguard the national team in the event of a disasterous World Cup?

    That was utter foolishness in my opinion.
    Someone from the FA should suffer for this, the people who made this decision cannot be trusted to run the FA.

    A new manager is needed, preferably English.
    Someone who will introduce the next generation to the national team.
    Someone who is not so obstinate.

    Capello failed miserably. Why should he be spared when Taylor, McClaren and numerous others paid the price of failure??

    Harry Redknapp or Roy Hodgson please step forward and someone at the FA, please have the cahones to make this decision!

    Capello has no track record whatsoever with younger players - he clearly doesn't even trust them.
    Joe Hart, Adam Johnson, Ashley Young, Michael Dawson - all brilliant last season - didnt even kick a ball.

    Capello exercised very poor judgement of players - period.

    Heskey, Upson, Barry, Gerrard on the left, chopping and changing goalkeepers.....ridiculous and amateurish.
    If Terry, Rooney and co were disgruntled its probably becaure they are used to a million times better under Mourinho, Ferguson and Ancelotti.

    The talent IS there. It just wasnt utilised properly.

    Anyone who tells me that German team would beat an organised and motivated England 11, playing in a proper system I will call them a fool.
    A proper system is one that gets the best out of the BEST players you have, not one that confuses and frustrates 11 players - 3 or 4 of which shouldn't even have been on the field!

  • Comment number 94.


  • Comment number 95.

    I am beginning to think that we did not lose this game yesterday, or even on the day we named our squad. I think we lost it 10 years ago. Let us be honest with ourselves and admit that even the best possible squad we could put out with the best possible leadership would not have stood a chance.

    If one compares the way the Bundesliga complements the German national squad to the way our top Premiership clubs shell out enormous amounts of money on unproven youngsters from abroad is it any wonder the cupboard is so bare? Our clubs do not care about our national team - most of them are owned by foreign plutocrats so why should they? The Bundesliga does not have the debt problems our clubs have and they actually turn over a higher profit than the EPL.

    The players and everyone involved are obviously making too much money to care. The only way to change things is to impose rules that would force it. We need a salary cap, a rule that ensures half or more of the starting lineups at clubs is local and a winter break so that our players are rested for major tournaments.

  • Comment number 96.

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

  • Comment number 97.

    All these blogs are valid points. I would love to see capello reply to this thread. umm yes, no, ok but its the team not one individual..ahh...they play well...uhh...bad referee...

  • Comment number 98.

    Terry a 5??? You are so generous and biased, he was a 2 at best, the defense was shred to pieces, it was out of pace and out of place.

  • Comment number 99.

    Gerrard was the only player in the team that played reasonably well in the tournament.

    The rest of them sucked.

  • Comment number 100.

    10 things. 5 looking back, 5 going forward:
    1)Capello made an incredible amount of mistakes. On team selection, he backtracked on his intractable philosophy of match fitness at the worst moment. Bent, Zamora, Adam Johnson, even Ashley Young deserved to be on the plane over some of Capello's pensioners. Calling Carregher and Scholes a few weeks before departure??? Please.
    2)The definition of lunacy? Playing Lampard and Gerrard in the same formation and expecting better results.
    3) Heskey and Rooney were wretched. Say all you want about the mid field not getting them the ball. They were awful.
    4)3 goals in 4 games gets you an early plane ticket home.
    5) Granted, England were robbed on the equalizer v. Germany. We will never know what might have happened. We do know what did happen. Going into halftime down one goal was not an absolute train wreck. They had plenty of time to regroup. The second half was a sin.

    1) Capello must go. His style and preferred tactics were exposed. He's 64. At 65, you don't become more open minded and flexible.
    2)Lennon, Rooney, Milner, and Hart should be the only 4 who ever wear the shirt again. It's time for total overhaul. Use Euro 2012 as the incubator.
    3) 2 of the best young "talents" have been compromised by poor agent / club decisions.
    Glen Johnson sitting on the bench with 41 appearances in 4 seasons at Chelsea wrecked most of his potential. Same for Walcott at Arsenal. These guys at a young age have to play every week in order to continue their development. I wish I could pose a fix for this.
    4)The EPL would be well served to reduce to 18 clubs. 4 less weeks of play, including 2 in winter would help immensely. It will never happen.


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