Was England Too Much For Fabio Capello?Posted: February 12, 2012
The John Terry racism saga has resulted in another casualty after Fabio Capello resigned as England manager following a meeting with The FA. Capello quit, after he spoke out publicly against the FA after they stripped Terry of England captaincy, saying he felt as if they had undermined his authority. One thing I that I have noticed since Capello took charge back in late 2007, was how his personality has changed over the years.
Capello’s first major break in football management was at AC Milan, where he took charge of the remaining 6 games of the 1986-87 Serie A calendar and achieved UEFA Cup qualification, but then moved aside for Arrigo Sacchi. Years later he returned to the Rossoneri dug out, managing the team which would later be nicknamed “The Invincibles,” containing the sporting talents of Marco van Basten, Franco Baresi, and Paolo Maldini, winning 4 titles in 5 years as well as a being named Champions of Europe in the 1993-1994 season.
Capello has also had successful spells at Real Madrid and Roma, as well as being Juventus coach. At Juventus he won both the 2004/05 and 2005/06 titles but both were revoked after Juventus’ involvement in the Serie A Scandal of 2006. Following another spell at Madrid, Capello was confirmed as the new manager of the England nation team following “Schteve” McLaren’s somewhat disastrous reign.
Capello came to the English shores as a highly successful club manager and there was a buzz in the air when he first came. We had a world class manager, albeit, a foreign one. Expectations were high, higher than usual, from the English people and his first game in charge was a 2-1 win at Wembley against Switzerland, goals coming from Jermaine Jenas and Shaun Wright-Phillips. A decent enough debut for the Italian but then in the following game, England were beaten 1-0 by France in a friendly. The impact of Capello didn’t really kick in until the start of the World Cup qualifiers where England beat minnows Andorra 2-0, and then followed that up with a 4-1 win over Croatia, the team that stopped England from reaching the 2008 European Championships. Theo Walcott was influential in that game, scoring a hat trick. A 5-1 win over Kazakhstan and a 3-1 win over Belarus confirmed England’s best ever start to a World Cup qualification group.
England qualified for the World Cup following a 3-0 over Belarus, only dropping points in Ukraine, as the top scorers in the UEFA zone. So overall, a very good qualification group. When the World Cup came around, the English media, as usual, expected England to conquer the World due to the fact we had done so well in qualifying, failing to realise that it wasn’t exactly the toughest of groups and it should have been no surprise that the team did so well.
When the World Cup finally came around, once again, England failed to live up to the high expectations. They first struggled to get through the group stage, drawing with the United States and, embarrassingly, Algeria along the way. It wasn’t only the results which let the nation down, it was the dull approach and toothless attack; England was never really a threat to the opposition goal, summed up nicely by the fact a bird was perched on the Algeria goal for a good period of the game. But then again, what do you expect when you have Emile Heskey up front? England were later knocked out by the old enemy, Germany, in a controversial game in which Frank Lampard had a clear cut goal ruled out after the referee said it didn’t cross the line, prompting excuses up and down the country consisting of “If that goal was allowed it would have been a different game”. The fact is England never turned up for that competition and neither did the real Capello.
That was the first time I saw the “new Capello” as I referred to him, he wasn’t a commanding figure anymore. Following the World Cup I think a good portion of that team should have been dropped. Capello before England, was known as a strict disciplinarian who wasn’t afraid to clamp down on the big egos of the star players, yet he didn’t feel the need to drop most of the players who completely bottled it in South Africa. Was that down to him fearing the FA and the English population questioning his actions? Maybe so, but he was paid to make those decisions, ride the wave, and prove that he was correct.
Overall, I think he was very foolish to quit his post this close to the start of the European Championships but at the same time, I’m happy about it. Has he actually acknowledged his mistakes from the World Cup? I don’t know. I’m not saying he is a bad manager, because his track record speaks for himself, and his record as manager wasn’t actually that bad, in fact, he has the best win percentage of all England managers, but when it mattered (the World Cup) he didn’t do enough.
I think I will go with the rest of the crowd and say Harry Redknapp will be the next England manager. Looking at his Spurs side, and also looking at past teams, it’s obvious he has a good understanding of English players and knows how to get the best out of them. With the so called “Golden Generation” coming to their, possibly, final major international tournament, could he be the difference this time around?