Following England’s appalling performance this summer in South Africa at the World Cup, I was one of a few people who had recommended that one of two things happen as a result of what happened out there. Either the players get replaced en masse or Fabio Capello gets his marching orders, or both. What couldn’t happen was that the status quo would be maintained. As we all know, the FA didn’t have the stones or the cash to bid the Italian farewell, and Capello didn’t have the balls to shit can his veteran players, so we came into the European qualifying games with pretty much the same old same old.
For two games, it worked. Bulgaria and Switzerland succumbed to better quality players, and England seemed somewhat rejuvenated with Steven Gerrard as captain. Last week along came Montenegro. Hardy a super power in footballing terms but a well coached, well-organized squad who had won 3 games in a row within that Group. Surprise, surprise. All the skeletons from the South Africa cupboard came tumbling back out for all to see and Montenegro comfortably held a miserable England to a 0-0 draw.
As always, I premise my Capello criticism with stating that prior to June of this year, I was a staunch fan of the Italian. He had impressed me with his no-nonsense style and obviously the results were there too. However, something went badly wrong between the end of the 2010 League season, and the start of the 2010 World Cup, to the point where it looked as if his players quit on him, despite the many denials.
In my opinion, his man-management skills are awful and his ability to adjust are probably as bad. He continuously breaks his own rules and makes statements that he has to backtrack on later. Morale in the squad I’ll bet is at an all-time low, and you could see that again out on the field last Wednesday. No passion, no drive, no energy from a squad of players that promise much more. With that draw, Montenegro now have the upper hand in the Group and we could possibly be looking at getting into Euro 2012 through the back door. Once we’re there, I don’t hold out much hope.
The sad part is that England’s Under-21 squad continues to impress. They have qualified for their version of Euro 2011 and are the only country to do so 3 times in a row. They are skilfully managed by Stuart Pierce who has been suggested as a possible Fabio Capello successor, but until the FA grows a pair, it’s doubtful that will ever happen.
I can only say that England are a rudderless ship with a manager at the helm who’s pissing all over his crew with every chance he gets. Roll out the plank and dump this guy overboard before the ship sinks completely.